Islanders hold on for 4-3 win despite Lightning rally


The second game of the year started off a little differently than most early starts for the Islanders in recent years. These day games usually saw the Islanders sleep walking and getting outworked by their opponents.
Maybe Matt Martin and Joe Finley both knew that the team needed an alarm clock to get the team and the crowd into it. (Photo Credit: Flickr/capwell)
Whatever the reasoning was for dropping the gloves, it worked. The team was inspired. The crowd was loud.
Lost in the fisticuffs to begin the game, Jack Capuano took his spot behind the bench despite undergoing surgery to remove kidney stones just days prior.
The new slimmed Capuano could have helped inspire an energized Islanders' squad.
The Islanders came out swinging and their energy resulted in a much better effort than Saturday's opener vs. New Jersey.  
After a crazy start which saw numerous players in each penalty box, the game settled down about mid way through the first period. The Islanders kept their legs moving. 
A dead lock through one period, the game changed dramatically in the 2nd period.
Almost symbolically, Michael Grabner got the offense going creating separation from the defense with a beautiful goal 6:50 into the second period chalking the first tally of the game.
Not long after, Matt Martin joined the fray with a beautiful assist from John Tavares making it 2-0.
That would have been enough for the fans to give them a standing ovation into the locker room before the intermission. But the Islanders were not done. 
A little over a minute later, Kyle Okposo connected with the back of the net on a snap shot making it 3-0.
The energy the Islanders have brought to this game had paid off.
Cue the third period.
Fans of the Islanders are far too familiar with the uncertainity of any lead during this final period. Fans sighed with relief after watching David Ullstrom connect with a goal only 1:31 into the final period of the game making it 4-0.
Perhaps, they would cruise to an easy win.
All fans of the Islanders know best that no lead is safe until the clock has no time.
What looked to be an innocent goal by Martin St. Louis had Jack Capuano and the Islanders pulling at their collar.
4-1 turned to 4-2 after Pouliot put a puck home after a scrum in front of the net. Tampa Bay has tilted the ice in their favor with plenty of time left in the game.
Mentally fans have been here before. The sinking feeling was familiar.
Making matters worse, Steven Stamkos tallied a goal to make it 4-3. Two goals in 34 seconds had the fans and players alike staring at the clock. 12 minutes is awfully long to grip a once huge lead.
All of the momentum was with the Lightning.
This storm has happened before. The third period collapses of recent history hung like a black cloud over the team and fans. Tampa Bay smelled the tie after sleep walking through most of this game.
It is during this time that the Islanders' skates seem be weighted down while the now rejuvenated Tampa Bay team whizzed by them. The once energized team seemed to be running on empty. 
The young legs of the New York Islanders looked tired.
The result seemed predetermined. If this was 2011-12, this game was ticketed to be an overtime loss.
But what actually happened may be a sign of things to come. The Islanders held on for the 4-3 win.
Perhaps, the young group has made it known that the tide has changed. Even when it looked bleak for the team, the Isles survived to grind out an impressive win to grab a very valuable two points against a talented foe.
The New York Islanders will be back in action on Thursday 1/24 when they travel to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs. It will be the first of what will be a five game road trip.
-This game marked the 1,000th for Lightning great, Vincent Lecavalier. Classy move by the Islanders to honor it on the jumbotron which earned a true hockey great a round of applause from the Long Island faithful.
-Islanders led Lightning in takeaways (10 - 4)
Attendance for the game: 15,322
-Islanders outshot the Lightning 43-26
-Nabokov made 23 saves on 26 shots.
-Lindback made 40 saves on 44 shots.
- 3 stars of the game: 
3. Martin St. Louis ( 1 G, 1 A)
2. Matt Martin (1 G)
1. John Tavares (2 A)
Pack your bags: Isles' road trip will include: Toronto, Boston, Winnipeg, Pittsburgh and New Jersey



Shane Blackburn's picture

Great to see them hold-on to that one, scary that they almost thew it away but very promising to see they held out when last year we know it would've been over. It's also nice to see a goal from all 4 lines Okposo (1) Grabner (2) Ullstrom (3) and Martin (4). I also loved that we out-shot them by a pretty large margin!

Rob McGowan's picture

The scoring from all four lines is probably the best thing to highlight. Also that their PK was strong against such a highly offensive team. Grabner's move was sick too. At least two of the Lightning's goals appeared to be unlucky bounces as well, so I'm not overly concerned about the late collapse. I really liked the way Ullstrom looked too in such a small amount of ice time.

Steve Giangaspro's picture

I think Ullstrom is showing so much promise early this year and I am excited for what the future holds with this kid. If we can get a decent addition of scoring from Martin, we will be in good shape. Kyle Okposo is already off o a better start too. This road trip will be an early and challenging test for a young team. I would take 3 out 5 if possible. Coming back home 4-3 would be welcomed.