Islanders win sixth straight

Isles welcomed back Chris Simon
February 21, 2008 7:27:57 PM PST
Miroslav Satan snapped a scoreless tie in the third period and Rick DiPietro stopped 32 shots for the New York Islanders, who welcomed back suspended forward Chris Simon and won their sixth straight with a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.DiPietro was perfect in snapping the Lightning's 10-game road run of earning at least one point (7-0-3). Tampa Bay is last in the Eastern Conference with 57 points and expects to be a seller leading up to Tuesday's trade deadline.

Ever since the Islanders broke a seven-game skid on Feb. 12 with a win against Philadelphia, they have been unstoppable. New York is enjoying its best stretch since another six-game winning streak from Dec. 21-31, 2003, and has climbed back into the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

DiPietro posted his third shutout of the season, first in 40 games, and 14th in the NHL. He has allowed 12 goals in the winning streak.

Karri Ramo made 27 saves in the loss.

Simon returned from a record 30-game suspension levied by the NHL against him in December for his skate stomp on the back of the leg of Pittsburgh's Jarkko Ruutu.

Simon took his first shift 2½ minutes into the opening period, alongside rookies Blake Comeau and Frans Nielsen on the Islanders' fourth line, and heard a few cheers and louder boos when he hit the ice and touched the puck.

Ramo and DiPietro were locked in a duel until Satan took a pass in the slot from Sean Bergenheim and snapped a drive past sliding defenseman Filip Kuba and into the net 5:37 into the third.

Lightning coach John Tortorella gave Ramo the nod one night after Johan Holmqvist couldn't protect a 3-1 lead late in regulation at Buffalo. Sabres forward Thomas Vanek scored twice in the final 2:30 to tie it and then finished his hat trick with the winning goal in overtime.

The Islanders returned home after a stirring comeback victory in a shootout at Washington on Wednesday.

The Lightning had two power-play chances in the first period and another in the second, but couldn't get a shot past DiPietro, who made 18 saves before the third. He appeared to stop Dan Boyle's snap shot with his mask late in the middle frame.

Ramo, in his second start in eight games, was busier through 40 minutes. He turned aside all 21 Islanders shots.

DiPietro dropped to his back with 5 minutes remaining in the game to cover a loose puck after Vincent Lecavalier's shot rang off the left post.