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Islanders rally, defeat Lightning on Tavares' late goal

by Corey Long /

TAMPA -- John Tavares scored a power-play goal with 3:36 remaining in the third period to give the New York Islanders a 3-2 come-from-behind win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

New York goalie Thomas Greiss made 29 saves, and the Islanders (12-8-4) rallied from a 2-0 deficit to earn the road win. Josh Bailey scored a power-play goal early in the second period to start the rally, and Cal Clutterbuck tied it later in the second.

"I thought the third period again was one of our best periods," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We didn't give them much, and when your power play executes like that, it gives you a chance to win, and that's what we've been missing. You see what it does for your game."

New York was 2-for-3 with the man-advantage.

Alex Killorn and Anton Stralman scored for Tampa Bay (11-11-3), which has lost two in a row following a three-game winning streak.

"I think I talked a lot about our month of November and we played pretty well," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Look at the game we played [Saturday] and to wake up tomorrow and see that we have zero points ... it's easy to be frustrated with that."

Tavares scored his 11th goal with Lightning forward Erik Condra in the penalty box for hooking. After Tavares and Frans Nielsen each put a shot on goal from close range, Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop tried to dive to cover the loose puck, but Tavares poked it under the goalie's pads and into the net.

"A lot of things haven't been bouncing our way, but we've been really working for everything we've been getting," Tavares said. "We're getting timely goals and certainly we seem to be getting better as the game goes on."

The Lightning took a 1-0 lead at 16:20 of the first period on Killorn's fourth goal. Stralman took a slap shot from the point that Greiss saved, but the puck popped into the air and Killorn batted it into the net.

Stralman made it 2-0 at 1:39 of the second period when he scored a goal from the slot off a beautiful behind-the-back pass from Steven Stamkos in front of the net. Stralman easily scored into the open side of the net.

But the Lightning were 0-for-4 on the power play, and Stamkos, who described Tampa Bay's man-advantage as "terrible," said the special-teams units must improve quickly.

"Can't ask for a much better 5-on-5 game than what we played tonight," Stamkos said. "Good teams score big goals, in power-play situations especially, and we gave them that opportunity. The lack of execution on the power play is frustrating. How many more wins would we have this season if the power play can score a goal? It's tough."

The Lightning have 13 goals on 77 power-play opportunities (16.9 percent) after converting on 52 of 282 chances (18.4 percent) last season.

The Islanders cut the deficit in half when Bailey scored at 3:51 of the second with Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov in the penalty box for high sticking. Bailey sent a hard wrist shot past Bishop to complete a give-and-go sequence with Brock Nelson. It was Bailey's fifth goal.

Clutterbuck tied the game at 16:51 of the second when he poked a loose puck past Bishop after Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn misplayed the puck.

"Two points, we'll take it," Clutterbuck said. "I thought we were working hard the first few periods. And you want to win games, and we did that. They are a good team offensively, but I think our defensive game has been solid all year. We've been a little stagnant in the offensive zone, but defending hasn't been our issue."

Greiss kept the Islanders in striking range with a couple of big saves. He stopped Stamkos on a penalty shot at 10:26 of the second period and made a save on Valtteri Filppula on a breakaway later in the period.

"Definitely I got a couple of bounces here and there, sometimes the puck just hits you," Greiss said. "Penalty shots have been around for a long time with the shootouts, you're used to it by now, (so you) just do your thing and try to play your game."

Bishop made 19 saves for the Lightning, who begin a three-game road trip Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

"I thought we responded well off that [4-2 loss at the Washington Capitals on Friday] 5-on-5; it's special teams that hurt us tonight," Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said. "It's not on effort; it's wins and losses now. We've put ourselves in this situation and now we have to get out of it."

The Islanders begin a three-game homestand Monday against the Colorado Avalanche.

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