Lightning's March Malaise Continues, Lose To Islanders 5-2

Lightning Goalie Dwayne Roloson gets his first crack at his former team as the Bolts host the New York Islanders at the St. Pete Times Forum at 7:30 p.m.

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Tampa Bay Lightning March Malaise Continues, Lose To New York Islanders 5-2

TAMPA, FL - If the Tampa Bay Lightning are in fact a playoff team, they failed to show it Tuesday night. Coming off an arduous road trip that saw the Bolts drop 3 out of 4, the Lightning continued to play with the malaise that has plagued them the entire month of March and were completely outplayed by the woeful New York Islands, losing 5-2 in front of the home crowd at the St. Pete Times Forum.

The Bolts looked tired, slow, and flat, and it showed on the scoreboard. The offense showed no signs of breaking out, continuing a streak in which the Bolts have scored 2 goals or less in 8 of their last 11, despite being handed eight penalties in the game. Nate Thompson and Dominic Moore scored for the Lightning, Moore's goal coming on the powerplay late in the third period when the game was 3-1.

The Lightning were again miserable in the third period, allowing two shorthanded goals to New York, one on a break away to Frans Neilsen while the game was still in reach and another empty net goal to Michael Grabner as time ran out. The Bolts now lead the NHL with a whopping 15 shorthanded goals allowed, including a very troubling four shorthanded goals in three consecutive games. Josh Bailey scored a powerplay goal for the Islanders, while Matt Martin and Kyle Okposo both netted their fifth goals for New York in a two goal second period.

Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson, facing his former team for the first time since being traded to the Lightning on New Years Day did not perform well, giving up four goals and making only 23 saves as the Lightning again outshot its opponent but failed to put enough pucks in the net. Islanders goalie Al Montoya made 36 saves on 38 shots including many difficult stops in a frantic third period.

The Lightning, who have only won twice in March, will fall further out of contention for the top spot in the Southeastern Division as the Washington Capitals beat Philadelphia 5-4 Tuesday, extending their lead to 7 games in the division. Tampa Bay is still sitting in 5th place but only 2 points ahead of 6th seed Montreal. Up next for the Bolts is a back to back home and home match-up with the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday and Saturday.

Tampa Bay has nine games remaining, and has a long laundry list of problems that need to get sorted out, and quickly, if they want to avoid a very short postseason.

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Lightning Look To Rebound As Islanders Come To Forum

TAMPA, FL - With just 10 games left in the Tampa Bay Lightning regular season, the team is hoping to snap out of the recent funk that it's found itself in. March has been tough on the Bolts, as they have gone 2-4-4 in 10 games this month. Scuffling your way into the playoffs with question marks about your ability to hold a lead, score goals and goaltending is not exactly the way the Bolts would have wanted to make their first postseason appearance in three years. Tonight, the Lightning get another shot to right the ship and get back to the winning ways that propelled them into playoff contention as the New York Islanders skate into the St. Petersburg Times Forum at 7:30.

The Islanders will get their first crack at Dwayne Roloson, acquired by the Lightning from New York in a trade on New Years Day that sent defenseman prospect Ty Wishard to the Islanders. The Roloson trade has no doubt been a success for the Lightning as he stabalized a shaky goaltending situation and has gone 14-9-4 with four shutouts, 2.55 goals against and a .910 save percentage as a member of the Lightning.

Roloson will have his hands full again as despite being one of the leagues worst teams, at 68 points, the Islanders pack some firepower. Both LW Matt Moulson and RW Michael Grabner are in the midst of 30-goal seasons, and young star John Tavares, taken first overall in the 2009 entry draft has 26 goals.

The Bolts will continue to skate without Steve Downie or Ryan Malone who are both working their way back from injuries, and Simon Gagne's status is questionable following treatment on his neck last week.

The Lightning are currently five points behind Washington for the lead in the Southeastern Division and only three points behind Pittsburgh for the fourth seed in the Eastern conference. Moving up into the fourth seed would ensure home ice for at least the first round of the playoffs.

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