The Day-After Digest is a new series that will appear regularly after every Lightning game as part game recap, analysis and scouting report.
The Lightning mounted a furious comeback attempt, scoring three goals in less than six minutes, but ultimately found, not surprisingly, that their four-goal hole early in the third period proved insurmountable. Tampa Bay was outshot 44-26 for the game by New York, which frustrated the Lightning attack throughout much of the first two periods. As Tampa Bay began to press and the team's structure unraveled, the Islanders were able to generate multiple breakaways and odd-man rushes, of which all of New York's goals were the result of.
"We were opening up the game," coach Guy Boucher explained afterward. "We were trying to get the goal, getting impatient."
Martin St. Louis, Benoit Pouliot and Steven Stamkos, scored for the Lightning. It was St. Louis' third goal of the season while Pouliot and Stamkos, the reigning Rocket Richard trophy winner, both notched their first.
Anders Lindback, who made 40 saves in his second start with the team, might want the last two goals he gave up back but it's hard to find fault with his performance on a night where many of the shots he faced were quality scoring chances.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie, who was scratched along with Brendan Mikkelson and Dana Tyrell in Saturday night's season opener in Tampa, made his season debut in place of Marc-Andre Bergeron as Boucher opted for a full complement of forwards instead of dressing seven defensemen. Labrie and B.J. Crombeen both started the game alongside Vincent Lecavalier, who played his 1,000th game. After the initial puck drop, both Labrie and Crombeen dropped their gloves and engaged fellow toughs Joe Finley and Matt Martin, respectively, in simultaneous fights.
"We wanted to bring some emotion to start," Boucher said. "We didn't want to look horrible like we did last year."
Whatever energy the team received from the tactic, it didn't seem to matter much as the Lightning suffered from a familiar case of inconsistency as the game wore on.