It was the sort of game for the Islanders that needed energy. Catching the talented Lightning on the back end of consecutive games, with the emotional return of three former Rangers to Madison Square Garden a night earlier and the return of Evgeni Nabokov to Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders needed to turn up the intensity.
That was especially true after a dud of a first period in which the Isles failed on a 67-second five-on-three, trailed by a goal and headed into the second period needing to kill all but a few seconds of a Tampa Bay power play.
So here came the Isles' energy in the form of Cal Clutterbuck. He stripped Anton Stralman of the puck, headed down the right side and buried a wrist shot over Nabokov's shoulder, a shorthanded goal 39 seconds into the second that was akin to someone plugging the Isles into a socket.
They scored twice more in the second on their way to a 5-2 win over Nabokov and the Lightning Tuesday night, an identical final score as Saturday's loss in Tampa, where the Isles were playing the second game of a back-to-back and got a bit sloppy.
"We did the smart things," said Casey Cizikas, Clutterbuck's linemate who scored with 11:05 to play to restore a three-goal lead. "We got pucks behind their 'D', made them turn and skate every time. That was the biggest difference."
That and the Isles' adaptability. Even after Clutterbuck tied it, Jack Capuano didn't like what he was getting from his top three forward lines, so he threw them into a blender.
What came out produced two goals in 59 seconds in the latter half of the second, first from Mikhail Grabovski off a terrific pass from Frans Nielsen -- Kyle Okposo joined that duo for a new line and he dug the puck out to start the play.
Ryan Strome converted less than a minute later, playing with regular linemate Anders Lee and new linemate Josh Bailey, who screened Nabokov well on the goal that made it 3-1.
"We weren't generating anything," Capuano said. "I felt we had to do something. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Tonight it worked."
The Islanders also played much of the first two periods without Johnny Boychuk, who appeared to suffer an injury to his left leg. He returned from the locker room for the third period but finished with just 15:46 of ice time, five minutes below his average.
But playing with five defensemen is something the Isles have done on a couple of occasions already.
"You have to give credit to our forwards," Calvin de Haan said. "They were strong at both blue lines. We didn't really have any letdown moments when Johnny was out."
And no letdown in a game that the top teams press to their advantage. Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves and was sharp, but this was a game that belonged to the Isles' energy guys.
"Casey's line was fantastic," Capuano said of the only unit he didn't break up.
"When you do the right things, you get rewarded," de Haan said. "That fourth line played great tonight. You need that secondary scoring and we got it all the way up and down the lineup."