TAMPA, Fla. – Frans Nielsen scored the only shootout goal and assisted on a second-period score by Thomas Vanek in a 2-1 victory for the New York Islanders against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
Nielsen snapped a wrist shot between the pads of Ben Bishop moments after Valtteri Filppula rang a shot off the post to the right of Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin at the other end. The Islanders had a seven-game road winning streak snapped Tuesday at Florida.
Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis beat Poulin from the right circle to open the scoring on a power play 5:45 into the game, capitalizing on a penalty-killing unit ranked last in the league.
The Islanders threatened to tie it while playing short-handed with six minutes left in the second period. Casey Cizikas broke in on Bishop, but Teddy Purcell interfered from behind.
Vanek pulled New York even on a power play at 18:22 of the second, taking a pass in the low slot from Nielsen and lifting it over a fallen Bishop.
Defenceman Victor Hedman, playing in his 300th NHL game, nearly restored Tampa Bay’s advantage with a backhander that hit the left post midway through the third period.
Both goalies finished with 29 saves.
NOTES: St. Louis has scored points in six consecutive games (four goals and three assists). His next point will pull him even with Hall of Famer Larry Robinson at No. 87 on the NHL career list with 958. . Tampa Bay C Steven Stamkos participated in a full morning skate for the first time since breaking his right shinbone Nov. 11 at Boston. . Lightning D Sami Salo returned after missing two games with a lower-body injury. . Islanders D Radek Martinek played after missing 22 games with back spasms. . New York D Travis Hamonic was sent back home for an evaluation on an upper-body injury.