Cedric Paquette’s fifth of the season at 15:29 of the first period stood to be the game-winner as the Lightning defeated the Islanders 5-2 on Saturday night.
Pacquette was in the lineup for rookie Jonathan Drouin, who was a healthy scratch for the first time in his young career.
“We have a deep forward group and we put a lineup in tonight we thought was going to give us the best chance to win,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said per Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Bay Tribune. “Jo is an unreal player, he’s going to be a great player for us… these other guys have played pro hockey, Jo hasn’t.
“You have to slowly put guys in, put them in positions to succeed but there is meritocracy in that.”
Ryan Callahan, Valtteri Filppula, Tyler Johnson and Radko Gudas had the other goals for the Lightning, who avoided losing three straight.
Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey scored for the Islanders, who had their five-game win streak snapped.