Lightning at Islanders
After starting his 14th season with a two-point effort, Vincent Lecavalier will reach a major milestone just two days later. The first overall pick in the 1998 NHL draft, Lecavalier will play in his 1,000th career game on Monday when his Tampa Bay Lightning visit the New York Islanders. Lecavalier had a goal and an assist and was 18-for-24 in the faceoff circle in Tampa Bay’s 6-3 opening-night victory over the Washington Capitals on Saturday. The 32-year-old captain has 844 career points.
Defenseman Travis Hamonic had the only goal for New York in its 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. The Islanders managed only 10 shots in the first two periods and John Tavares had one overall. Tavares is likely to turn that around as he comes off a season in which he had 31 goals and 81 points.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, SunSports (Tampa), MSG-Plus (New York).
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (1-0-0): Martin St. Louis recorded pair of goals and an assist against Washington. More importantly, both tallies came on the power play as the Lightning converted three of their seven chances. Tampa Bay ranked 25th with the man advantage last season after finishing sixth in 2010-11. Defenseman Eric Brewer registered two goals in the opener, including a power-play tally to seal it in the third period. Last season’s American Hockey League MVP Cory Conacher also had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut. Goaltender Anders Lindback made 16 of his 27 saves in the first period and could receive another start.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (0-1-0): If the Islanders are to make a run at the playoffs, they will have to improve on offense. They finished 28th in the league in scoring last season. Tavares and Matt Moulson, who contributed a team-best 36 goals, are back but third-leading scorer PA Parenteau is gone. The Islanders hope to get more from Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo, who combined for 77 points a season ago, and free-agent acquisition Brad Boyes. Offensive defenseman Mark Streit had four straight double-figure goal seasons before netting just seven in 2011-12. Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves in the opener.
1. Brewer has already doubled his goal output from last season. His only other two-goal game was with Edmonton in 2004.
2. Three players that the Islanders picked up on waivers in the last week were in the lineup against New Jersey.
3. The Islanders have won six of the last nine meetings, but Tampa Bay won two of the last three games in 2011-12.