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Lightning at Islanders preview: A few questions with an Isles fan/writer

The never-ending road trip finally ends tonight.

New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Lightning at Islanders: Game 10

Time: 7 pm Eastern Time

Location: Barclays Center

Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN

Opponent SBNation Site: Lighthouse Hockey

Can things get any uglier than they are right now for the Bolts? We’ll find out tonight. But consider the following:

  • In this three-game losing streak, they’ve scored three goals while giving up 12.
  • During this stretch, Jason Garrison and Andrej Sustr are a team-worst -6.
  • They’re also 1/11 on the power play, and their face-off wins have been at or under 50%. Both areas have been consistent issues with this team.
  • Outside of three first-period goals against Toronto on Oct. 25 on the Lightning have not scored any other first-period goals. Saying they’re starting slow is an understatement right now.
  • Sunday’s loss against the Rangers was the worst regular-season loss since Oct. 19, 2013, when they dropped a 5-0 decision against the Bruins.
  • Anton Stralman said there was “no defensive awareness” that led to all the odd-man rushes against the Rangers. He always said “everybody's kind of on their own page.” Ouch.

The Islanders, on the other hand, are coming off a 5-1 victory over the Maple Leafs. Get ready to get really familiar with the Islanders because the two teams play each today, next week and the week after that.

This is the first matchup between the two teams since the Lightning eliminated the Islanders in their second-round playoff series in May. It was a series where if you’re a Bolts fan, you see it as the team doing whatever it took to win; if you’re rooting for the other team, you saw a team that was always on the verge of winning games but could never finish it. (The Bolts stole two overtime games in Brooklyn.)

"Long time to think about that one, how it went and the way it ended for us,” Brock Nelson said. “I think everybody remembers and hopefully it fuels everybody in here."

Comparison Chart

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point

Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Drouin

Cedric Paquette - Brian Boyle - Ryan Callahan

Defence Pairings

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn - Nikita Nesterov


Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

New York Islanders

Forward Lines

Anthony Beauvillier - John Tavares - Josh Bailey

Anders Lee - Ryan Strome - Jason Chimera

Andrew Ladd - Brock Nelson - Shane Prince

Nikolay Kulemin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Defence Pairings

Nick Leddy - Travis Hamonic

Thomas Hickey - Johnny Boychuk

Calvin deHaan - Dennis Seidenberg


Thomas Greiss

Jaroslav Halak

Line information will be updated in the Game Day Thread.

A few questions with...

Our friends over at Eyes on Isles were kind enough to answer a few of our questions about the Lightning’s opponent tonight. We chatted with EOI writer Jennifer to get her thoughts on Andrew Ladd, the team’s goalie situation and why Jack Capuano is still the head coach. Enjoy!

Raw Charge: There were a lot of changes to the Islanders over the offseason. Landing a big free agent, some longtime players leaving, and now a few kids making their case to stay... of all these changes, why is Jack Capuano still the head coach of the New York Islanders?

Jennifer: Your guess is as good as mine where Jack Capuano is concerned. The biggest question when the notion of letting him go comes up is who replaces him. Big names have come and gone through Capuano's tenure and Snow has never given any indication that Jack's job could be in danger. The only answer I really have is Capuano is Snow's “yes” man and the team has either overachieved to pad his record as a coach or done just enough to justify keeping him around.

Raw Charge: Speaking of Snow, how confident are you in his abilities in building team into a championship contender? Are he and Capuano the right pairing?

Jennifer: If you'd asked me last season if I thought Snow was right for the job, I'd have said yes. My feelings about him have always been positive because of the way he's rebuilt this team through youth and the draft. After Don Maloney and Mike Milbury made them cleaned out, it's been a relief to see players get an opportunity to play and succeed in Islanders colors. Snow practically stole Boychuk and Leddy, and there's a depth now that's been missing for decades.

The problem now is Snow's blindness when it comes to his coaching staff and his inability to fill need. Last season, the Islanders were a couple pieces away. This season, it feels like starting over.

Raw Charge: I know it's still early in the season, but is Andrew Ladd a dud? Or is it a case of still needing to learn the new system and all that?

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Jennifer: I have to believe he's not a dud because he's supposed to be Kyle Okposo's replacement on John Tavares' right side. They had no camp to work together and get to know each other, whereas Tavares and Okposo skated with each other for years. When the Islanders traded for Thomas Vanek it took almost two months for chemistry to form there. The unfortunate part about this is the Islanders need quicker results, which doesn't give Ladd any sort of comfort zone and it's showing on the ice right now.

Raw Charge: The big talk regarding the Islanders currently is the goalie situation. We saw Thomas Greiss start the last game after it was reported that the Islanders are shopping Halak to alleviate the issue of carrying three goalies. Do you expect Greiss to start — should he against the Lightning tonight?

Jennifer: Jaroslav Halak is the Islanders starting goaltender. It's been a point of contention since last season because Thomas Greiss has come in and just been better. While I know he's not, JF Berube is almost an afterthought because there's so little possibility he will start above the top two goalies unless there's an injury.

One has to surmise that Snow isn't confident in his goaltenders' (mostly Halak) ability to stay healthy. There also has to be the consideration that if Snow could have moved Halak, he would have already. Last season's injury and Halak's salary made it unreasonable in the summer and continues to make it unlikely now. That said, I expect Halak to start because he's the multimillion-dollar starting goalie and if there's the slightest chance of moving him, he has to play and play well. Should he start against the Lightning? No. Greiss has just been better more consistently and he should get the first shot at the Lightning after last season's postseason.

Raw Charge: Oh yeah, speaking of that... will the Islanders come out with a little more spunk tonight with the way the playoffs last year ended at the hands of the Lightning?

Jennifer: You'd think that would be a perfect kind of motivation for the Islanders to come out firing on all cylinders, but this is a Capuano-coached team and that's always been something he's struggled with.