Paquette scores key goal in Lightning win
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Cedric Paquette replaced a top rookie in the Lightning lineup and played a key role in Tampa Bay’s win.
Paquette scored a tiebreaking goal late in the first period, and the Lightning snapped the New York Islanders’ five-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory on Saturday night.
“I’m still battling (for playing time),” said Paquette, who has played nine of his 11 NHL games this season. “My confidence is getting better in every game. A game-winner, I feel great.”
Paquette, inserted into the lineup in place of 2013 No. 3 pick Jonathan Drouin, put the Lightning ahead 3-2 from the slot with his fifth goal this season at 15:29.
“We put a lineup in tonight that we thought would give us the best chance to win,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “Somebody has to sit out.”
Drouin, a healthy scratch for the first time in his rookie season, has gone nine games without a goal since netting his first in the NHL on Oct. 24.
“Jo is going to be a great player for us,” Cooper said. “So is Cedric Paquette. You want to have depth, and we’ve got that right now. These things are going to happen. It’s a learning process for everybody.”
Paquette took a high stick to the head from New York’s Anders Lee midway the third, but remained in the game. The forward was a healthy scratch in the Lightning’s 2-1 loss to San Jose on Thursday.
Ryan Callahan, Valtteri Filppula, Tyler Johnson and Radko Gudas also scored for the Lightning, 7-1-1 in their last nine games. Jason Garrison had two assists, and Ben Bishop improved to 10-2-2 after making 25 saves.
The Islanders got goals from Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey. New York, looking to tie its longest winning streak since February 2008, allowed just six goals during their five-game run.
Callahan and Filppula also scored first-period goals.
“We weren’t as sharp as we would like to be defensively in the first period,” New York captain John Tavaras said. “They capitalized on their chances and got a lead. We generated some chances ourselves. We just couldn’t get that next one to kind of put them on their heels.”
Tampa Bay took a 4-2 lead when Tyler Johnson beat Chad Johnson from the right circle 1:39 into the second. Gudas stopped his 26-game goal drought with a late third-period goal.
Chad Johnson stopped 23 shots.
The Islanders also failed in an attempt to sweep their third straight set of back-to-back games this season. New York beat Florida 4-3 on Friday night in a shootout.
“Back-to-back nights, I thought we were all right,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “It wasn’t a bad game for us. It wasn’t a great game.”
NOTES: Islanders RW Cal Clutterbuck sat out due to an undisclosed injury. ... Lightning C Steven Stamkos set up Filppula’s power-play goal and has 11 assists and 21 points in 21 games against the Islanders. ... Stamkos didn’t have a shot on goal. ... Tavares had an assist, giving him 13 assists and 19 points in 18 games against Tampa Bay.