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New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning preview: We get to play hockey again!

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It’s been a very long break.

New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning

New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning: ROUND 3, GAME 1

Time: 8:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Rogers Place

Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN, SN, SUN, FS-O, TVAS

Opponent SBNation Site: Lighthouse Hockey

Preview:

By the time the dust fully settles from Round 2 and the conference finals begin, the Tampa Bay Lightning will have gone a full week between hockey games. They were the lone Round 2 series to not go the full seven games, and so had the benefit of an extended break to rest, heal, and travel to Edmonton for the remainder of the playoffs.

Their next opponent will be the New York Islanders, a team that is just as defensively stifling as the Columbus Blue Jackets with a lot more offensive flair. No, it’s not ideal that the Lightning have to play two defensive juggernauts in one playoff run, but if they want to be the best, they have to beat the best.

It also means they have to be at their best — the Lightning may have escaped their last series in only five games, but they were hit hard with injuries. Ryan McDonagh returned in time for Game 5, but they lost Nikita Kucherov for most of that game. Although Kucherov will play tonight, there’s still no update on the injury to Steven Stamkos but he will not be available for the Lightning for the entire series.

The Lightning did get one extra day to adjust to the time difference and their new bubble than the Islanders, but rust could be an issue as the Islanders have been battling hard in games. As Jon Cooper said earlier this week, it’s hard to simulate game action in practice, and the Lightning will need to prove that their break was beneficial and not detrimental to their game.

We’ll see what version of the Lightning that shows up at puck drop tonight, but if they’ve learned anything from their past two series’, they’ll need to stay out of the penalty box and strike when they have the opportunity to. Here’s hoping for a Game 1 victory.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson

Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman

Carter Verhaeghe - Cedric Paquette - Patrick Maroon

Mitchell Stephens, Alexander Volkov, Mathieu Joseph

Injured: Steven Stamkos

Defense Pairs

Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk

Luke Schenn, Braydon Coburn

Injured: Jan Rutta

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

New York Islanders

Forwards

Anders Lee - Mathew Barzal - Jordan Eberle

Anthony Beauvillier - Brock Nelson - Josh Bailey

Derick Brassard - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Leo Komarov

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Michael Dal Colle

Defense Pairs

Adam Pelech - Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews - Scott Mayfield

Nick Leddy - Andy Greene

Goaltenders

Semyon Varlamov

Thomas Greiss