The New York Islanders came into the St Pete Times Forum on Thursday night and earned a controversial 3-2 OT win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game winner was scored by Matt Moulson at 1:56 of overtime, a goal that was initially overturned by the video review booth.
The on ice officials initially signaled it no goal, as goaltender Dan Ellis appeared to knock the puck out of midair before it went over the entire red line in the goal. So it would require conclusive evidence to change the call, which apparently the officials at the NHL office in Toronto were able to find as they signaled the goal good, ending the game in favor of the visitors. It was Moulson fourth on the year, from Nielsen and Mottau.
After the game, Ellis talked about the goal, “It was tough call and that he had not seen an angle that showed it a clear goal.”
The replay on the jumbo tron did not show a clear cut angle showing it was a goal.
The Tampa Bay Lightning (4-1-1) had plenty of chances in this game to get two points. However they came out of the game looking very sluggish not moving their skates, the Isles came out and took it the Bolts in the first period.
New York grabbed an early lead, as Michael Grabner knocked in a rebound of Nino Niederreiter shot at 2:15 to give the Isles a quick 1-0 lead. For Grabner it was his second goal of the year assisted from Niederreiter and Doug Weight.
The Islanders continued to out work the Lightning in the first period as they outshot them 11-10, however the Bolts seized some momentum late in the period as forward Sean Bergenheim took a Teddy Purcell pass for a breakaway in which he scored to tie the game. Bergenheim scored his second of the season from Purcell and Hedman, who started the play with a blocked shot in the defensive zone, at 18:05.
Tampa continued the momentum into the second period as Martin St Louis took a nice pass from Steven Stamkos which allowed St Louis to get behind the defenseman and flipped a little forehand in the net for second goal of the season, goal was assisted from Stamkos and Mike Lundin at 4:44 to give the Lightning the 2-1 lead.
Then the referees seemed to take control of the game, as they called a couple of questionable penalties on the Bolts, as Ryan Malone was called for roughing on a play in which he responded to a couple of punches thrown by former Lightning player Zenon Konopka. During the power play Stamkos was called for a cross checking penalty to give the Isles a five-on-three power play.
They were able to capitalize on the penalty as P.A. Parenteau scored from the right faceoff circle on a fanned shot from James Wisniewski. The puck found Parenteau’s stick which he was able to put the puck passed Ellis. It was Parenteau second goal of the year on the power play from Wisniewski and John Tavares at 10:00.
The turning point of the game happened when the Bolts were unable to score on their own five-on-three power play, as Jon Sim and Trevor Gillies were called for penalties at 13:48 of the second period to give the Bolts a full two minute five-on-three. The Bolts could capitalize however, as the power play was stagnant and not very effective.
The Bolts came out in the third and dominated play as they outshot the Isles 12-4 in the period but unable to get the game winner. It just took the team too long to get their forecheck started; once they did they really took the play to New York. St Louis and Stamkos both had great chances to score in the third period.
After the game, head coach Guy Boucher wanted to hear nothing about the reviewed goal.
“There is nothing I can do about the goal,” he said. “It was out of my control.”
He was more frustrated with what he felt like was the team’s lack of energy at the start. “My team did not battle, we were not the first on the pucks and that is unacceptable. I will talk to a few individuals before the next game.”
This team is tough to stop when they work hard, but tonight the Islanders worked harder than the Lightning, even though they had every opportunity to win the game. The team next flies to Atlanta for a game against the Thrashers.