Lightning overpower Islanders
TAMPA, Fla. — They came in as the top two scoring teams in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning looked more like it Tuesday night.
The Lightning pulled away from the New York Islanders, scoring three goals in three minutes late in the second period on the way to a 6-2 victory at Amalie Arena.
Tampa Bay (19-6-2) saw a 2-0 lead disappear on a quick pair of Islanders goals in the second period, but answered in a big way.
Yanni Gourde scored twice in 94 seconds — first a power-play goal with 3:38 left in the second, then an even-strength goal with 2:04 left — for a 4-2 lead, and Vladislav Namestnikov added another goal four seconds into the next power play with 1:14 left in the period.
“Obviously, you want to be around the net. This is where you score goals,” Gourde said. “I’m going to continue doing that. I think that’s where most goals are scored.”
New York (16-9-2) rallied back from a 2-0 deficit with two goals in less than two minutes. Rookie Mathew Barzal scored on his seventh goal of the season on the power play with 12:53 left, and had the assist on Jordan Eberle’s 11th goal of the season with 11:02 remaining to tie the game.
“The only positive you can take from the game is that they’re one of the best if not the best team in the league, and in the second period, it was completely flipflopped,” Eberle said. “We know how we can play. We just need to do it for a full 60 minutes.”
Tampa Bay jumped out to a 2-0 lead in a dominant first period, outshooting the Islanders 11-2. Brayden Point scored 34 seconds into the game for his 10th goal, and defenseman Andrej Sustr scored with 2:13 left in the first on his second goal of the season.
Chris Kunitz added a goal in the third period off a steal and breakaway for his fourth goal of the season, with 14 minutes remaining.
“We had a really good first, took our foot off the gas, but they’re a really good team,” Kunitz said. “They’re going to capitalize on turnovers and chances.
Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss gave up six goals on 32 shots, while Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy (29 saves) picked up his NHL-high 18th win.
Two weeks ago, the Islanders had handed the Lightning a 5-3 loss in the same building, but John Tavares said his team was much more careful with the puck in that game.
“I felt like we managed the puck extremely poorly, turned it over a lot,” Tavares said. “They’re obviously a very good hockey team. They make plays, have some great shooters and they put pressure on you. We made it too easy for them.”
Gourde recorded his seventh and eighth goals of the season and has four goals in two games against the Islanders, compared to four in 26 games against everyone else. The Lightning, who have the league’s top power play, have power-play goals in seven straight games, going 4-for-8 in the last three.
New York, which had picked up a shootout win at Florida on Monday night, missed a chance for their second back-to-back sweep in seven chances this season. The Lightning dominated early and expected a strong second period from the Islanders, who dominated for 15 minutes but saw things slip away in the final minutes of the period.
“Thankfully, Yanni Gourde came to the rescue at the end of the second, gave us a big lift, and we took it home from there,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “He’s always going against the Islanders. He plays with lots of energy and I thought that line was really good tonight, with (Cory) Conacher and (Alex) Killorn. They were hunting pucks, they were hounding, and they were rewarded.”
Tampa Bay passed the Islanders for the league in goals with 100, one ahead of New York.
NOTES: Lightning D Braydon Coburn missed a second straight game with a lower-body injury, with RW J.T. Brown and D Jamie McBain as healthy scratches. ... The Islanders had D Dennis Seidenberg and D Thomas Hickey as healthy scratches. ... The Lightning continue a four-game homestand on Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche. ... The Islanders continue a four-game road trip Thursday at the Pittsburgh Penguins.