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Bolts at Isles preview: Let’s get this 5-game trip off the right foot

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Just. Win.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Lightning at Islanders: Game 16

Time: 7 pm Eastern Time

Location: Barclays Center

Broadcast/Streaming: SUN, MSG+

Opponent SBNation Site: Lighthouse Hockey

Well well well. Look who it is. It’s the Islanders. Again. Third time in two weeks, to be exact. This is the final meeting between the two teams — for whatever reason, the NHL schedule makers decided to lump the games between these two teams in the month of November.

But this is how rivalries begin. Two teams developing a nastiness toward the other, which builds and grows because they don’t stop seeing each other. And two weeks is exactly how long Jonathan Drouin has been out since that Nov. 1 meeting when Calvin de Haan knocked him out. Drouin has been listed day to day ever since without really a clear timetable for return. But now, there’s an outlook. Head coach Jon Cooper said after Saturday’s game that Drouin could return on this road trip.

The Lightning have been playing up and down lately, but they’ve scored against the Islanders. How much have they scored exactly? By a combined score of 10-2 in the first two meetings.

The Islanders are down in the dumps. Head coach Jack Capuano remains firmly planted in the hot seat. It’s so hot that we don’t know why the Isles haven’t gotten rid of him already. This month, they’ve won just one game, against a team they should’ve won against (Canucks). They do have three shootout losses in this time span, so a point’s a point right? Yet when we look at the standings at the time of this writing, the Islanders are four points out of the second wild card spot that’s held by... your Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Islanders have also been playing with a depleted defense corps that took another hit. The latest player to go down is Dennis Seidenberg, the team’s leading defenseman, who was injured Saturday. All reports point to a broken jaw. This is the third regular to go down after Travis Hamonic and Ryan Pulock, who have a broken thumb and foot, respectively.

The Lightning have their own issues on the blueline as Anton Stralman is considered day to day.

If the Lightning are to get off to a winning start on this five-game trip — and the next 12 of 17 games on the road — they’ve got to take the advantage over a depleted Islanders team that’s having their own troubles with winning.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point

Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Ryan Callahan

Brian Boyle - Cedric Paquette - J.T. Brown

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Slater Koekkoek - Braydon Coburn

Goaltenders

Ben Bishop or Andrei Vasilevskiy

New York Islanders

Forward Lines

Josh Bailey - John Tavares - Cal Clutterbuck

Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Jason Chimera

Anthony Beauvillier - Ryan Strome - Shane Prince

Andrew Ladd - Casey Cizikas - Nikolay Kulemin

Defense Pairings

Nick Leddy - Adam Pelech

Thomas Hickey - Johnny Boychuk

Calvin deHaan - Dennis Seidenberg

Goaltenders

Jaroslav Halak

Thomas Greiss

Line information will be updated in the Game Day Thread.