Time: 8:00 PM Eastern Time
Location: Nassau Coliseum
Broadcast/Streaming: USA, CBC, TVAS, SN
Opponent SBNation Site: Lighthouse Hockey
Tonight the Tampa Bay Lightning will play their second game of the series against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. So far this postseason, the Bolts are 6-1 on the road, including four straight wins in away games. The last road loss happened during Game 5 of the first-round series against the Florida Panthers.
On Thursday, the Lightning took a 2-1 series lead over the Isles after beating them in a very close game. The Islanders tightened up their game after losing Game 2 – they were better offensively, outchancing the Lightning with more than double margin and finishing the game with a 62.08 xGF% at 5v5 per Natural Stat Trick. The Lightning however were pretty careful at their own end, not allowing any other big mistakes other than Eric Cernak’s unfortunate play before the only Islanders’ goal, when the puck just slipped through Vasilevskiy’s pads into the net.
As we’ve already seen many times on this stage, not a single big win is given without a selfless effort by the winning side – the Lightning blocked impressive 21 shots on that night, including some big blocks during the final five minutes of the game. Andrei Vasilevskiy also had another strong game, casually saving about two goals above expected on Thursday night.
Meanwhile Brayden Point’s goal streak continued. The Lightning forward extended his streak to six consecutive games with a goal after scoring against the Isles on Thursday. His goal streak is just one game way from longest in NHL history since 1991. Brayden Point has also a chance to become the first player since Jari Kurri in 1987 and 1998, to lead the playoffs in goals in back-to back season. Last year Point led the league with 14 postseason goals, this year he’s leading with 11 goals in 14 games, including three game-winning goals, which is tied for the best this postseason with Max Pacioretty and Ryan Pulock. This kind of performance earned for Point a spot amongst early favourites for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
The Lightning are lucky enough to stay healthy at this late stage of the postseason and are expected to use the same roster for tonight’s game. On the other side the Isles are weighing the potential return of Oliver Wahlstrom, who missed part of the playoffs due to his injury, but was available since the start of the series against Tampa Bay. Despite losing two straight games, Barry Trotz said that his team played solid games and he is satisfied with Travis Zajac, who replaced Wahlstrom on third line. The Islanders however need to freshen up their offense, which scored just three goals in two last games and Wahlstrom might be an option.
After tonight’s game, both teams will return to Amalie Arena to play Game 5 on Monday.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos
Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon - Tyler Johnson - Ross Colton
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - David Savard
New York Islanders Lines
Leo Komarov - Mat Barzal - Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier - Brock Nelson - Josh Bailey
Kyle Palmieri - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Travis Zajac
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech - Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy - Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene - Noah Dobson