Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Ryan Malone (12) celebrates with teammates, including center Steven Stamkos (91), defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron (47) and right wing Martin St. Louis (26) after scoring a goal past New York Islanders goalie Al Montoya (35) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Lightning End Skid with 4-1 Victory Over The Islanders

Matheiu Garon gets the start in net for Tampa Bay as the Lightning look to avoid a sixth consecutive loss.

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Tampa Bay Lightning End Five-Game Skid With 4-1 Win Over Islanders

The Tampa Bay Lightning (2-3-2) looked like a completely different team compared to their previous five games, as they defeated the Islanders 4-1 in a much needed victory on Thursday night.

Steven Stamkos had a  goal and an assist and Mathieu Garon saved 16 of the 17 shots he faced in the win over the New York Islanders. Garon did not have to be relied on too much to make big plays or stand on his head because he had much more defensive support than the Lightning have given their goaltenders in previous games.

In the Lightning’s last five games, the talk has been surrounding poor defensive play and an undisciplined amount of penalties. None of that was on display tonight. On the defensive front, Eric Brewer, (who was said to have an upper body injury) showed no signs of ailment with his four hits and four blocked shots against the Islanders.

Tampa Bay only had two penalties the entire game and did not allow a power play goal. They did however, get a power-play goal themselves, on a wrist shot by Ryan Malone in the first period that was assisted by Vincent Lecavalier and Marc Andre Bergeron. Bergeron now has two goals and six assists and is on a five-game scoring streak.

Defensive zone coverage was much better in this game and it was obvious in the early goings of the game that Guy Boucher had been stressing better defensive play. The Lightning did not allow the Islanders to register a shot on goal until more than eight minutes through the first period.

While showing some much needed improvements on defense, the Lightning also showed a much improved offensive game as well, out shooting the Islanders 30-17, giving New York little room to maneuver throughout the game. This was probably the best positional game the Lightning have played so far this season.

The Lightning could have easily led by more than one goal in the first period, as they got a flurry of chances on Islander goalie Al Montoya, including Adam Hall’s breakaway mid way through the first period where Hall fought off Islander defensemen, Mark Streit, to register two back-to-back shots on the Islanders goaltender. Lecavalier’s one-timer late in the first period was also denied by Montoya. Victor Hedman had chance in final minutes of the first period, but he hit the right post to keep it a one goal game.

The Lightning’s improved defensive play continued in the second period, and they showed a lot more hustle getting to the puck than they have in previous games. It also helped that the Islanders did not register a shot on goal until 12:43 of the second period.

Lecavalier got the puck in the second period, waited for the defense to give him an open shooting lane, and put the puck past Montoya to extend the Lightning’s lead to 2-0 with 4:46 left in the second period.

Stamkos then netted his third goal of the season, 5:25 into the third period after a setup by Teddy Purcell. It was just enough of a cushion for the Lightning, especially because Michael Grabner answered that goal at 7:55, beating Garon short side.

Brett Clark sealed the win by scoring a goal with 3:01 left in the third period.

Notes: This is only the second time the Lightning have scored first this season, and the first time the Lightning had the lead after the first period.

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Lightning-Islanders: Tampa Bay Ends Skid with 4-1 Victory

It was a long time coming, but the Tampa Bay Lightning have finally tasted the sweet nectar of victory.

The Bolts snapped a five game winless streak, crushing the New York Islanders 4-1 in front of another packed house at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Tampa Bay outshot the fishermen 30-17 and were a perfect 2-for-2 on their penalty kills after surrendering five power play goals to the Panthers on Monday Night.

Mathieu Garon was solid, allowing just one goal.

Vincent Lecavalier had a goal and an assist while Ryan Malone, Steven Stamkos and Brett Clark each added tallies.

Tampa Bay hopes to keep the momentum rolling on Saturday night when they host the Buffalo Sabres.

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Tampa Bay Leads 2-0 Over Islanders After Two Periods

The Lightning’s defense looks completely different compared to the last five games. Defensive zone coverage has improved and the Lightning are playing well in front of Mathieu Garon. Tampa Bay did not allow the Islanders to register a shot on goal until 12:43 of the second.

Garon didn’t have to do much in the second period, or the entire game thus far for that matter. He has only faced 10 shots through two periods.

Vincent Lecavalier lit up the lamp at 15:14 of the second period, beating Garon high to extend the Lightning’s lead to 2-0.

No penalties were called in the second period, although there should have been a few, including when Lightning forward Tom Pyatt had a breakaway midway through the second period and was taken out by an Islander player. There should have been a penalty shot or at least a two minute minor.

The Islanders had only four shots in the second period and the Lightning had nine.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Lead 1-0 Over Islanders After First Period

The Tampa Bay Lightning came out of the gates flying and showcased a much improved offensive game in the first period, putting a lot of early pressure on Islanders goalie, Al Montoya.

Tampa Bay’s defense also showed some more hustle to the puck than they have in previous games.

The Lightning had two power play chances in the first period. Tampa Bay’s first power play only lasted 55 seconds because Brett Connolly was then called off for holding, although he was hooked by an Islanders player. The Lightning did have some luck on their second power play chance, as Ryan Malone’s wrist shot saw its way past Montoya, giving the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 16:32 of the first period.

In the final minutes of the first period, Vincent Lecavalier tried to put the Lightning up by two goals, but his one-timer was denied by Montoya, who has had to make some big saves in the early goings of this game.

The Lightning are outshooting the Islanders 14-6 after one period played.

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