HOW IT HAPPENED
Nicholas Paul had a goal and assist, including a buzzer-beater at the end of the 2nd period, to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-3 win over the New York Islanders at Amalie Arena on Saturday night. Brayden Point opened the scoring, and Brandon Hagel also added a goal and an assist in the win. Tampa Bay backup goaltender Brian Elliott made 33 saves in the win. Matt Martin, Anthony Beuvullier, and Ryan Pulock had the goals for the Islanders (2-3-0), who have lost two straight. Ilya Sorokin had 21 saves.
The Isles outshot Tampa Bay 36-26 and outhit them 48-29. "It was a very good effort," Head Coach Lane Lambert said. "I thought we competed hard, but we made some mistakes."
NOTES: Three games away from 1,000 in his career, Josh Bailey , pointless in four games, was a healthy scratch. Nikita Soshnikov took his spot among the forwards. On defense, Sebastian Aho was activated from IR and Robin Salo was sent (on paper) to Bridgeport.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Ryan Pulock found the net. Down 4-2 in the third period, Pulock gloved down a clearing attempt at the blue line, and after the puck wouldn't settle down for a pass to Mathew Barzal, he elected to unload a wrist shot from the slot that beat Brian Elliott to pull the Isles within a goal.
While the Islanders' defenseman filled up the score sheet during the first three games, Pulock was yet to score his first goal. In recent seasons, Pulock, especially when paired with Adam Pelech has become a shutdown defender, but arguably at the expense of his offensive prowess. In 2017-18, Puclok's 10 goals led all rookie defensemen, and his 32 points were tied for the third-most. He has the potential to score more than he has in recent seasons, and the Isles will need it.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Whenever the Islanders responded, the Lightning had an answer. Twice they scored to cut a two-goal deficit to one, but each time they could not find the equalizer and allowed Tampa Bay to extend their lead. The worst moment happened as time was winding down in the second period.
With control of the puck, Soshnikov turned it over after being checked hard by Cole Koepke near center ice. Tampa Bay entered the zone, and Paul took a pass from Ross Colton and beat Sorokin with just one-tenth of a second left in the period.
STATS OF THE GAME
Per Eric Hornick in The Skinny, the Isles killed all three Tampa Bay power plays and have killed 18 of 18 this season; Detroit (13-13) and St. Louis (4-4) are the other NHL teams not to allow a power play goal. It was the first time this season that Tampa Bay failed to score a power play goal .
The Isles' identity line combined for 24 hits; it was the first time that Cal Clutterbuck (10), Matt Martin (7), and Casey Cizikas (7) each had at least seven hits in the same game. "We just made some big mistakes at some bad times," said Clutterbuck. "When you're a team that wins consistently, you don't make those mistakes... We'll correct it."
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
Isles legend and MSG Networks color analyst Butch Goring turned 73 on Saturday. Before the game, his broadcast partner Brendan Burke snapped a discreet photo of the TV crew on a monitor before the start of the game and wished 'Butchie' a Happy Birthday.
The Islanders wrap-up their weekend back-to-back tonight as they visit he Florida Panthers.
Face-off is 5:00 PM.