Lee scores 2 goals, Islanders beat Lightning 5-3
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — New York Islanders coach Doug Weight had a simple message after a big lead was slipping away: Stay calm.
Anders Lee scored twice and the Islanders held on after nearly blowing a four-goal lead, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 Saturday night.
“He was just telling us what we needed to hear,” New York right wing Josh Bailey said of Weight’s message on the bench midway through the third. “He was just getting his point across. We just needed to calm down a little bit, realize we’re in a good position. We’ve still got the lead in the third period on the road against the top team in the league.”
John Tavares had a goal and two assists, and Andrew Ladd and Brock Nelson also scored for the Islanders (11-6-2), who ended Tampa Bay’s five-game winning streak and handed the Lightning just their third regulation loss (15-3-2). Bailey had three assists and Thomas Griess stopped 36 shots to improve to 4-0-1 in his last five starts.
“They executed exactly how we wanted to play,” Weight said
Yanni Gourde had two goals and Ondrej Palat had the other for the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy had 27 saves.
Lee scored during a two-goal first and added a power-play goal at 1:05 of the third as the Islanders went ahead 4-0.
After Gourde and Palat scored 13 seconds apart to cut their deficit in half at 3:26 of the final period, Gourde pulled the Lightning to 4-3 with 3:36 left.
“We fought back but it too late,” Palat said.
Tavares sealed the Islanders’ third straight win with an empty-netter with 22 seconds to go.
Tavares assisted on Ladd’s goal 51 seconds in, and set up Lee’s goal that made it 2-0 at 10:25 of the first with a nifty backhand pass through the slot into the left circle.
Lee’s goal came shortly after Vasilevskiy turned aside a breakaway shot and rebound attempt by Nelson.
Nelson put the Islanders up 3-0 midway through the second after coming out of the right corner and eluding defenseman Jake Dotchin.
“We didn’t start well,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Copper said. “We were off.”
Tampa Bay stars Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov were both held without a point for just the third time this season.
NOTES: New York has scored five or more goals in three consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 30-Feb. 4, 1996, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... The Islanders are 9-0-0 when scoring at least 5 goals this season. ... Islanders RW Cal Clutterbuck (illness) didn’t play. ... Tampa Bay swept the three-game season series in 2016-17, outscoring the Islanders 14-2. ... It’s just the fourth time the Lightning trailed after the first period (1-1-2) this season. ... Tavares has 19 assists and 29 points in 27 games against the Lightning. ... Tampa Bay entered outscoring opponents 54-28 during the first two periods.
Islanders: At Carolina on Sunday night.
Lightning: Host Chicago on Wednesday night to complete a three-game homestand.