Isles Hang In There, Top Lightning In OT
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UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Nothing in the first period suggested the New York Islanders were poised for their first real comeback of the season.
They trailed by a goal, were outshot 16-3, and were facing a surging Tampa Bay Lightning team that was looking to tie a season best with a fifth straight win.
But the downtrodden Islanders showed some life in the second. P.A. Parenteau scored the tying goal in the final seconds of the frame and John Tavares netted the winner 3:23 into overtime to give New York an unexpected 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.
“We’ve given up enough leads and enough opportunities to close out games. It was nice for us to step up,” Tavares said.
Tavares got to a loose puck near the left post and swept a shot past goalie Dan Ellis to give the Islanders their first win of the season when they didn’t score first (1-15-3). It also marked the first time New York won when trailing after the first period (1-13-3) or any period at all.
Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves to give New York points in three straight games (2-0-1).
“The last three games have been something to build on,” said Tavares, who scored his first goal in 10 games. “We’ve just got to make sure we keep focused on that. We can’t get complacent at all. We know how tough it’s been for us the last month and a half. We have to move forward and get something going.”
The Islanders, 3-17-4 in their past 24 games, tied it at 1 with 17 seconds left in the second period on Parenteau’s sixth goal.
Tavares won a race to the puck behind the Lightning net and sent a quick pass into the right circle to Parenteau, who sent a shot under Ellis’ leg for his second goal in three games. New York (7-18-6) still has the fewest points in the NHL, but can pass New Jersey on Thursday if they beat the Devils on the road.
“Enjoy tonight while we can, but we’ve got to be ready for New Jersey,” Roloson said.
The Islanders have two wins over the Lightning this season — the other an overtime victory at Tampa Bay on Oct. 21, which stretched New York’s lone winning streak of the season to three games. Tampa Bay won 4-2 on Long Island in the only other meeting on Nov. 17.
Ryan Malone staked the Lightning to a 1-0 lead in the first period. Ellis was solid in making 26 saves in his second straight start since Mike Smith sustained a knee injury that is expected to keep him out for about two weeks.
Ellis had a relatively easy first period when the Lightning dominated in shots, but then kept his team even in the third when New York had several prime scoring chances — including two 2-on-1 breaks during one shift.
“We played well the whole game,” Islanders forward Josh Bailey said. “When I looked up and saw the shots, I was surprised to see they were outshooting us that bad. We were getting good pressure, we just weren’t getting pucks to the net.”
During a power play, Malone cleaned up a loose puck in front of Roloson after his initial shot hit New York defenseman Travis Hamonic in the skate in the crease. The puck bounced back to Malone in the slot, and he scored into an open net with 8:32 left in the first.
The Lightning’s top-ranked power play had five other chances to produce, but failed.
“We knew going in it was going to be a tight game,” Malone said. “We definitely should’ve taken advantage of all those power plays in the first and second. Getting at least two would’ve been nice.
“They played a little better as the game went on. If we could’ve gotten another goal on a power play, maybe a two-goal lead would’ve changed things a little bit.”
Roloson got the nod for just the fourth time in 12 games. He stood in for ailing Rick DiPietro, who was placed on the injured list on Wednesday because of swelling in his surgically repaired left knee. Roloson (3-12-1) hadn’t won since back-to-back victories on Oct. 16-18.
“It’s always nice to get a lot of shots, but at the same time, it’s more important that we get the win,” Roloson said. “We just want to keep on going and taking steps in the right direction.”
New York kept high-flying forward Steven Stamkos in check, holding him off the score sheet. Stamkos, second in the NHL with 26 goals, had scored five times in five games before Wednesday.
Tampa Bay trails Southeast Division-leading Washington by one point.
“I don’t think we really played that great all game,” Stamkos said. “We have a goal before Christmas, and that’s to be first in our division. We got a point and we’re playing well as of late. We’ve just got to forget about this one.”
NOTES: Malone scored his first NHL goal against current Islanders general manager Garth Snow on Oct. 29, 2003, while with Pittsburgh. … Bailey was recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL, where he had 17 points in 11 games. It was his first game with New York since Nov. 21.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)