Barzal and Horvat lead Islanders past Lightning 6-2

NEW YORK (AP) — Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat each had a goal and an assist and the New York Islanders surged past the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 on Thursday night.

Noah Dobson, Kyle Palmieri, Ryan Pulock and Casey Cizikas also scored for the Islanders, who won their second in a row since coming out of the All-Star break. Ilya Sorokin finished with 16 saves and recorded his 16th win of the season.

“Anytime the game was getting a little too fast or they were pressing, we found a way to slow it down and control the game,” Barzal said. “Our forecheck led to offense. We picked off a lot of pucks and things were just going in tonight.”

Nikita Kucherov and Brandon Hagel scored for Tampa Bay, but the Lightning lost their second consecutive game. Jonas Johansson made 18 saves.

The Islanders scored three times in each of the first two periods and limited the Lightning to only 10 shots through the first 40 minutes.

“We looked slow, we looked out of shape, we looked like we took 10 days off,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said in reference to the long All-Star break Tampa Bay had. “I’m in complete agreement with the break, I’m just not sure we handled it great.”

Barzal gave New York a 2-1 lead when he skillfully controlled a loose puck off an offensive zone faceoff, then roofed a backhander past Johansson at 14:07 of the first period.

The Islanders extended their lead to two goals after Palmieri buried a pretty pass from Mike Reilly at 18:34.

“That line was really good tonight,” Islanders coach Patrick Roy said of his second line consisting of Brock Nelson, Pierre Engvall and Palmieri. “I could say this for everybody, but I thought that line give us some momentum, scored a big goal. … I thought that was good team effort, a really good team effort.”

Hagel deposited a rebound and pulled the Lightning to within one goal early in the second period.

But the Islanders responded with force, scoring three more times in the middle frame to take a commanding 6-2 lead.

Pulock blasted a slap shot and collected his third of the season at 7:10.

Horvat connected on a slap shot of his own at 8:18 that Johannson could have saved if not for a screen from Islanders captain Anders Lee.

“We limited their time and space,” Horvat said. “We didn’t give them enough time to make plays. They have such high skill on the front end, I thought we did a good job containing them and closing on them quick.”

Cizikas, in his first game back since being activated from injured reserve, capped the second-period scoring. The gritty forward slid a puck between the legs of Johansson at 15:22.

“It’s never fun being out. It’s never fun watching the guys compete and not being a part of it,” Cizikas said after missing the previous 10 games. “A lot has changed since the last time I have played. I was just trying to get my legs under me, play smart, play hard and be in the right spots.”

Dobson registered his seventh goal to open the scoring at 4:07 of the first period. The defenseman was looking for Oliver Wahlstrom on the back post, but the puck deflected off Lightning defenseman Eric Cernak’s skate and into Tampa Bay’s net.

Kucherov tied it at 1 with his team-leading 33rd goal at 6:42 of the first period.

SIDELINED SERGACHEV

Cooper said before the game that D Mikhail Sergachev had surgery in New York on Thursday to stabilize fractures to both the tibia and fibula in his left leg. He will miss “significant time,” Cooper said, after his leg bent at an awkward angle after an exchange of hits with Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere on Wednesday.

UP NEXT:

Lightning: Visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

Islanders: Host the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

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