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game recap

Lightning outlast Islanders, regain first in Atlantic

Johnson breaks tie in third period; Tampa Bay loses Stralman with injury

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

Lightning net two in nine seconds

NYI@TBL: Lightning net two in nine ticks to gain lead

3/25/16: Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov score nine seconds apart from each other for the Lightning in the 1st period

  • 00:41 •

 

TAMPA -- Tyler Johnson scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning moved back into first place in the Atlantic Division with a 7-4 win against the New York Islanders at Amalie Arena on Friday.

Johnson broke a 4-4 tie by beating Thomas Greiss at 10:09 for his 13th goal of the season, and defenseman Jason Garrison scored 23 seconds later for a 6-4 lead. Victor Hedman hit the empty net with 1:25 remaining.

Tampa Bay (43-26-5) and the Florida Panthers each have 91 points with eight games remaining; the Lightning own the tiebreaker because they have 40 regulation/overtime victories to 34 for the Panthers. The teams play Saturday at Amalie Arena.

Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Steven Stamkos and Andrej Sustr also scored for Tampa Bay, and Ben Bishop made 27 saves.

Video: NYI@TBL: Stamkos jams home rebound for 35th goal

The Lightning lost defenseman Anton Stralman in the first period with a non-displaced fracture of his left fibula after he got tangled up with Islanders forward Anders Lee in front of the Tampa Bay net. Stralman's foot appeared to get caught under him, and his leg bent awkwardly. He had to be helped off the ice and did not return.

"Nobody's going to replace him," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "He is one of the top defenseman in this league, and he's an extremely important part on our team not only on the ice but off the ice.

Cooper said that Stralman is out indefinitely but will not need surgery and could return, depending on how far the Lightning advance through the playoffs.

"His season is not over," Cooper said. "The way we play defense as a group we should be OK."

Video: NYI@TBL: Sustr gives Lightning lead on slap shot

Brock Nelson, Shane Prince, Johnny Boychuk and Nikolay Kulemin scored, and Greiss made 35 saves for the Islanders (39-25-9), who have lost five of their past six games but hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. New York plays at the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

"We have to turn the page real quick," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "We've got a lot of hockey coming up and it starts [Saturday]. Every game matters and it's important that we bounce back.

"You're not gonna win many games in this league giving up seven goals. Obviously we got some big goals and battled back a few times, but the back-to-back goals are what hurt us."

Johnson put the Lightning ahead 5-4 when he put home a rebound after Greiss stopped shots by Jonathan Marchessault and Ondrej Palat. He was sprawled out of position after making the first two saves and couldn't recover on Johnson's tap-in.

Video: NYI@TBL: Garrison scores 23 seconds after Johnson

Garrison was left open in the left circle and beat Greiss to the short side to give the Lightning a two-goal lead. The defenseman also had his 100th career assist in the game.

"It's obviously nice to contribute offensively when you can," Garrison said. "Hopefully there will be a few more to come."

Sustr gave the Lightning a 4-3 lead at 6:03 of the third period on a shot that got past Matt Martin's attempted block and went under Greiss' glove. But Kulemin tied the game 19 seconds later with a shot that beat Bishop on the stick side. Travis Hamonic made an outlet pass to Frans Nielsen that started a 2-on-1 break.

"It's good to see Kulemin get on the board," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "He has been getting some chances but hasn't scored. It is good to see us come back right off the bat there and answer. But we've still got some guys that have to do a little better job playing away from the puck."

Video: NYI@TBL: Johnson jams home rebound for go-ahead goal

New York rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the second period with goals by Prince at 5:25 and Boychuk at 16:18. Boychuk made it 3-3 when his shot from the right point deflected off Sustr's stick and went past Bishop.

The Islanders took a 1-0 lead at 8:54 of the first period on Nelson's 25th goal of the season. Ryan Strome had the puck behind the net and found Nelson in the slot for a wrist shot that beat Bishop.

Tampa Bay recovered by scoring the next three goals, including two in nine seconds.

Kucherov tied the game at 1-1 at 13:42 on a redirection of a shot by Alex Killorn that caught Greiss out of position. Namestnikov gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead at 13:51 with an unassisted goal.

Video: NYI@TBL: Kucherov tips home feed from Killorn

"It's a bad feeling to give up seven goals this time of year," Nielsen said. "Good thing there's a new [game] Saturday. We have to be ready. We needed to clean up things on defense. It was a tight game and you want to win it, but you want to be smart at the same time. It's not good enough."

Stamkos made it 3-1 at 5:02 in the second period by scoring his 35th goal of the season.

Despite the win, Stamkos wasn't happy with allowing the Islanders to answer quickly on two occasions after the Lightning scored.

"Two times tonight we score and the next shift they come back and score," Stamkos said. "That's unacceptable. In a group like ours who prides themselves in playing the right way defensively, we have to be aware of situations and moments in a game that can turn the tide. I mean, that could have easily went the other way. We obviously had a response with the two goals in the one shift there, but [we] can't make a habit of that."

Video: Lightning control 3rd period in win over Islanders

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