After losing Game 6 by the score of 3-2 in overtime, the Lightning and Islanders are in Tampa Bay for Game 7. This will be Tampa’s first elimination game in over two postseasons. They have won their last six series without having to face elimination in Game 7 or sooner. While this is an incredible achievement, it’s also a little scary because we haven’t had to see this team comeback from a Game 6 loss. How will they react? And without Nikita Kucherov, is there enough up front?
To answer my own question, it shouldn’t be forgotten that this team won 36 out of 56 games this season without Kuch, and ran a 52% shot share and 57% goal differential at home at 5v5. Their defensive numbers were great, and including the power play and penalty kill, they had 60% of the goals in all their games.
The Islanders were a great home team too, arguably better than the Lightning, but they were a bad road team and aren’t at home anymore. They don’t have their crowd shaming the refs into making bad calls and pushing the players on, we do. That’s the benefit of home ice.
Victor Hedman on facing a playoff elimination game for the first time since 2019 when the #Bolts and Isles play Game 7 on Friday: "We’re going to go out there and battle and have our best game of the year.” #TBLvsNYI— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) June 24, 2021
So it doesn’t sound like Nikita Kucherov has been ruled out for Game 7, his status is something they’ll look at as day goes on. Jon Cooper said they’re “not sure” yet if he’ll play and should know more tonight. It’s a more encouraging sign than a no update. #tblightning— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) June 25, 2021
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
So, the lines on the ice. After Kucherov’s injury, Jon Cooper tried several players in his spot. But after Point’s goal assisted by Cirelli, he kept that trio with Palat together for the rest of the game. The lines below are mostly how the rest of the lineup shook out, with Gourde spending most of his time with Stamkos and Killorn, and Johnson up on the third line.
The next man up is Mathieu Joseph onto the fourth line, and he has Gemel Smith behind him. It’s assumed that both will take warm ups whether or not Kucherov can go or not. Obviously, if Kucherov is in, the lines revert back to what they were to start Game 6.
On defense, Erik Cernak took part in the full morning skate and could find his way back into the lineup over Schenn. If he’s good to go, that’ll push David Savard down next to Sergachev again. We’ll probably still see Schenn warm up, just in case.
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Anthony Cirelli
Alex Killorn - Yanni Gourde - Steven Stamkos
Barclay Goodrow - Tyler Johnson - Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon - Ross Colton - Mathieu Joseph
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak*
Mikhail Sergachev - David Savard
Andrei Vasilevskiy - starter
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
Semyon Varlamov - presumed starter