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No rest for the victor; Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders preview

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The flip side of back-to-back games sees the Lightning taking the bus to Uniondale for a rematch with a rested Islanders team.

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Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Where:  Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
When: 7 PM EST | Tickets: Check availability
Media:  Sun Sports, MSG+ (cable) | 970 AM WFLA (radio) | Twitter Live Stream
Opponent Coverage: Lighthouse Hockey, NYI Point Blank

While you would think back-to-back games in the greater New York metropolitan area is going to be a lot easier than back-to-back games after a late plane flight and an even-later night check-in at a new team hotel (not to mention possible delays such as weather or, God forbid, customs)... The truth remains, however, that back-to-back games are being played. Bumps were taken, minor ailments were agitated, and a lot of gas was spent during the previous game too.

Tonight's Tampa Bay Lightning game comes with those conditions that a less traveled team plays its second game in a row. The opponent, the New York Islanders, happens to be well rested. How well? They haven't suited up for a contest since Saturday night's loss in Tampa. The Islanders loss came on the flip-side of their own back-to-back series (against the Panthers first and then the Lightning).  This is a chance at revenge via circumstances.

And it serves as Evgeni Nabokov's opportunity to make a showing against his former team. He's been tabbed as the starter between the pipes tonight for the Lightning. Nabby's numbers are not all that phenomenal in limited starts (he's appeared n 4 games and his GAA is 3.22 while his save percentage is .874) but there is one thing working in his favor as the starting goalie - the facing-former-team drive that often enables netminders to excel.  Will it prop up Nabokov? We'll find out when the puck drops tonight in Uniondale. It does inspire jest and happiness among Islanders fans that Nabby is starting for Tampa.

Head coach Jon Cooper also implied other lineup changes might take place tonight. Do not be surprised if you see Nikita Kucherov out of the lineup; not because he should be pulled, but because he is walking-wounded after blocking a puck during last night's victory at MSG.

One person you will not see in the lineup for Tampa Bay is Brett Connolly.  He's nearing a return but he won't be penciled in tonight. Perhaps at Air Canada Center on Thursday?

The Bolts faced the Islanders backup goalie on Saturday in Chad Johnson. They get the rested team tonight and the #1 goaltender in Jaroslav Halak.  Halak's got a 7-4-0 record, a .913 save percentage and a 2.59 GAA on top of it.

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