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Mike Smith made 30 saves to record his ninth career shutout as the Lightning blanked the Isles 4-0 on Saturday night.
The Isles are winless in Saturday road games in 2009, with one final chance coming on Dec. 26 at Madison Square Garden. They are 1-15-5 over the last two years in Saturday road games. On to the trick:
1. It was clear early that this wasn't going to be the Isles' night. Ryan Malone dug the puck out of the pads of Dwayne Roloson just 1:35 into play to give Tampa an early lead. It was his 15th goal in 20 career games against the Isles.
Steve Downie and Jeff Halpern scored power play goals for Tampa, and Viktor Hedman converted a beautiful pass from Vinny Lecavalier for his first NHL goal. Malone, Downie, and Halpern each extended their point streak to three games as Tampa broke a four-game losing streak (0-3-1).
2. The Isles had a goal disallowed for a hand pass, and couldn't legally beat Smith. Special teams let the Isles down. The Bolts scored twice on three power plays, while the Isles failed on six power plays (including 1:21 of a five-on-three).
3. The Isles played twice in Tampa in 2009 and didn't score a single goal. Mike McKenna, who is now playing for the Lowell Devils, blanked the Isles in February for the only shutout of his NHL career.
...a few more...
4. This is the second time this season that the Isles have been shutout; they were blanked in Buffalo last month. The Isles have been shutout seven times since Scott Gordon became their head coach, with all seven occurring on the road.
5. It's the first time in 14 games (dating back to the shutout in Buffalo) that the Isles did not lead at any point.
6. The Isles finish their three-game road trip at 1-2-0. They are now 12 games into a stretch of 14 games where they play only twice at home. The Isles are 5-5-2 in that stretch, including 4-4-2 on the road.
7. The Isles drop to 11-11-7 on the season. It's the 10th time this season that the Isles have been at .500. The Isles have alternated wins and losses for the past two weeks; they have won consecutive games only once this season—when they won four straight to raise their record from 1-4-5 to 5-4-5.
8. Andrej Mezaros, Martin St. Louis, and Vinny Lecavalier each had two assists for the Lightning. St. Louis played in his 336th consecutive gmae— thelongest active streak for an Eastern Conference player, and sixth longest current streak overall. Lecavalier now has 38 points in 39 career games against the Isles.
9. The top pick in the each of the last two NHL drafts were both held without points. Steven Stamkos is tied for the most goals in the NHL since Feb. 17, while John Tavares continues to lead all rookies in both goals and points.
10. The Lightning lead the series 1-0-0; three meetings remain, with the next scheduled for Dec. 21 on Long Island. The series will conclude with a pair of games nine days apart in early February. The Isles have now faced every Eastern Conference team at least once this season.
Up next: The Isles travel to Philadelphia for the first time this season on Tuesday. It's the first of two nationally-televised Islander games this season, both of which will be in Philadelphia.
The Flyers have had the Isles' number for some time. The Isles have lost seven straight at the Wachovia Center (0-6-1), and haven't beaten the Flyers in their last 11 meetings (0-8-3), dating back to a 4-3 Islander win at the Coliseum on Feb. 12, 2008.
The game will be telecast on Versus (unless you have DirecTV, which has still not settled their dispute with the NHL's cable network); Chris King will have a REAL radio broadcast (not a simulcast) on WMJC 94.3FM.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick