TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Sami Salo joked that as the shootout went on and on, one thing went through his mind: "You've got to tie up your skates. I might get a chance."
The 15-year NHL defenseman made the most of a rare shootout opportunity, scoring in the 13th round to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
"It just happened to go in," said Salo of his first successful shootout goal, coming in his third ever attempt. "It was obviously good for us. It's a good feeling."
The shootout was tied at 4 through 12 rounds before Salo put a backhander past Evgeni Nabokov. Ben Bishop preserved the win by making a glove save on Johan Sundstrom.
Ryan Callahan had two goals for the Lightning, who trail Montreal by two points for second place in the Atlantic Division. Tampa Bay, 6-0-4 in its last 10 games, has two games in hand on the Canadiens.
"First and foremost, we got two points," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "So, that's what we need out of the game. We're going to have to do better than that. Give the Islanders some credit, they played really hard. Definitely, there were positives in the game, but as a whole, we're a better 5-on-5 team than we showed tonight."
The Islanders, out of the playoff race, got goals from Ryan Strome and Matt Donovan. Right wing Kyle Okposo, who has a team-best 27 goals and 69 points, was a late scratch due to a lower body injury.
"We are trying to play hard at this point of the season, and we're trying to get better each and every day," Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic said. "I thought we played a pretty good game."
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