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Tampa Bay Lightning At New York Islanders: Stamkos And The Lightning Pose Tough Test

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Tampa Bay Lightning
@ New York Islanders

Wednesday, Dec 22, 2010, 7:00 PM EST
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

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(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to match their longest winning streak of the season when they visit the lowly New York Islanders tonight at the Nassau Coliseum.

The Lightning have won four straight, leaving them one victory shy of a five- game winning streak from Nov. 17-24. Tampa Bay went just 2-3-2 in the seven games between the two winning stretches.

Tampa Bay recently completed a perfect three-game homestand with Monday's rout of the Carolina Hurricanes. Martin St. Louis scored a goal and dished out two assists to help lead the Lightning to the 5-1 triumph at St. Pete Times Forum.

Dominic Moore and Brett Clark both had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who, with 42 points, are two points behind idle Washington for first place in the Southeast Division. Atlanta is also one point ahead of the Lightning for second place.

Sean Bergenheim and Steven Stamkos also lit the lamp on Monday, while Dan Ellis made 21 saves for Tampa Bay.

Stamkos has five goals over the last five games and his tally in Monday's win was the 100th goal of his career.

"It's obviously nice to have that accomplishment," Stamkos said. "It wasn't really anything that was brought up or that I came into the game thinking about."

The third-year star has 26 goals on the year, leaving him one shy of Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby for the league lead.

Tampa forward Ryan Malone suffered an upper-body injury in the win over Carolina, but is expected to play tonight. Malone is third on the Bolts in both goals (9) and points (26) this season.

Tonight marks the first of three straight on the road for the Lightning, who are 9-8-2 as the guest.

The Islanders are still last in the NHL with just 18 points on the season and New York enters tonight having lost seven of eight (1-6-1) and 21 of its last 23 games (2-17-4).

New York snapped a six-game slide with a win last Thursday against Anaheim, but the Islanders followed with Saturday's shootout loss to Tampa Bay. Radim Vrbata scored the first goal of the game and also lit the lamp in the second round of the shootout to help lift the Coyotes to the 4-3 decision.

Jesse Joensuu and Michael Grabner each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders, who failed to win back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game win streak from October 16-21. Rob Schremp also scored in defeat.

With starter Rick DiPietro out with a left knee injury, New York recalled goaltender Nathan Lawson on an emergency basis from Bridgeport of the AHL. Lawson stopped 32-of-35 shots in his NHL debut.

"I felt really good about it," Lawson said. "The D did an unreal job of blocking shots. It made my job quite easy. It was a good first game."

DiPietro is not expected to suit up for this evening's game either, but Dwayne Roloson could get the start tonight. The veteran netminder is 4-6-0 with a tie and a 2.70 GAA in 11 career games against the Lightning, but Roloson is 0-11-1 in his last 12 starts this season.

Islanders forward Matt Martin will sit out tonight to serve the first part of a two-game suspension. Martin was suspended by the league for his blind-side check to the head of Phoenix forward Vernon Fiddler during Saturday's game.

The Isles, who are just 4-7-3 as the host this year, are capping a three-game homestand tonight.

The Lightning and Isles have split a pair of games so far this year, with each team winning a test on the road. Tampa Bay has won five of eight overall in the series, but has dropped five of its last seven on Long Island.