Islanders use fast start to defeat NHL-leading Lightning

Islanders use fast start to defeat NHL-leading Lightning

NEW YORK — The New York Islanders scored three goals in the opening 4:43 and Thomas Greiss made 38 saves in a 5-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Barclays Center on Sunday.

Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas each had a goal and an assist, and Matt Martin had two assists for New York (25-15-4), which took an early 3-0 lead on goals by Brock Nelson, Clutterbuck and Devon Toews.

The Islanders, who lost 2-1 to the New York Rangers here Saturday, are 6-0-0 in the second of back-to-back games.


[WATCH: All Lightning vs. Islanders highlights]


“Yesterday, we left the rink with a bitter taste in our mouths,” Cizikas said. “Today, we did a good job of rebounding and staying the course. Even when they had pressure, we had big saves from [Greiss] at key times and we continued to push forward. To beat a time like that of their caliber, it definitely speaks to the character in this room.”

Video: TBL@NYI: Cizikas nets Martin’s feed to extend lead

Ryan McDonagh scored and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves for Tampa Bay (35-9-2), which lost defenseman Victor Hedman to an upper-body injury early in the second period. The Lightning, whose three-game winning streak ended, went 0-for-3 on the power play.

“It’s a tough league to spot a team a 3-0 lead in the first five minutes,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “They’re a good defensive team. It was a tough first for us. I mean, the first five minutes set the tone for us.”

Nelson gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 1:21 of the first period. Jordan Eberle sent a pass from behind the net to Nelson in the slot, and he beat Vasilevskiy with a wrist shot for his 16th goal of the season.

Video: TBL@NYI: Nelson wires home Eberle’s feed for PPG

Clutterbuck and Toews scored 16 seconds apart to make it 3-0. Clutterbuck tapped Martin’s feed past Vasilevskiy at 4:27 for his first goal since Nov. 15 (24 games). Toews, a rookie defenseman, scored his third goal in 10 NHL games at 4:43 on a one-timer from the left point.

“I feel really comfortable,” Toews said. “[Scott Mayfield] is a good partner for me. We can all play with each other at any given time in the game, and I think we’re all confident back there in what we can do and our abilities. We’re just playing hard.”

Video: TBL@NYI: Clutterbuck, Toews score 16 seconds apart

Cizikas made it 4-0 at 11:03 of the second period when he took a cross-ice pass from Martin and beat Vasilevskiy with a wrist shot from the edge of the left circle for his 11th goal of the season.

“They just bring a different element that there’s not a lot of teams that have that element,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said of the line of Cizikas, Martin and Clutterbuck, which combined for six points. “Everybody’s gone to the speed and skill; they have elements of that, but they also have a little physical element to them.

“They’re just a good line. They play a big role on our team. I’m not scared to play them against the leading scorer in the National Hockey League or top point-getters. That’s got to feel good for them too.”

The Lightning broke through at 18:12 of the second when McDonagh’s wrist shot from the left circle squeaked between Greiss’ pads to make it 4-1.

Video: TBL@NYI: McDonagh goes five-hole on Greiss

Josh Bailey scored an empty-net goal at 19:08 of the third period for the 5-1 final.

Hedman was injured when he collided with an official. He went to the locker room at 2:19 of the second period. Cooper said Hedman did not go through concussion protocol and is hopeful he’ll be OK.


They said it

“There’s really no excuse. We’ve been going over it and working on things in meetings and talking about it amongst ourselves, and maybe we needed to feel what it’s like to get kicked in the teeth and not come back. Hopefully it’s a lesson learned here and we can realize the way we played the last half of that game for sure was a little bit hungrier for sure, more assertive, and in units of five. That’s what we need to do right from the start.” — Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh


“We have four solid lines. On any given night, I think any line can propel us to a win. We came to play today. I think everybody came to play today. We just want to continue to get better, continue to work at it. The more we can produce offensively, the better. But we know our role and we know that we’re out there to provide energy, try to shut down other teams from scoring. Some nights we come out on top of the scoring battle as well.” — Islanders forward Matt Martin


Need to know

The Lightning scratched defenseman Dan Girardi and forward Ryan Callahan on the second half of a back-to-back. They won 5-3 at the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. … Bailey has a three-game point streak. The Islanders are 23-2-1 when they score at least three goals.


What’s next

Lightning: At the Dallas Stars on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, SUN, NHL.TV)

Islanders: Host the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday (Barclays Center; 7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Video: Isles use fast start to defeat Lightning, 5-1

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