Time: 2:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: UBS Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN+, TNT, SN360
Opponent SBNation Site: Lighthouse Hockey
At the beginning of March, the sequence of two long road trips with a lone game in Tampa in the middle of it, was anticipated as the toughest stretch of the season. Given the previous Lightning’s record on the road, we still were slightly optimistic, but in reality it turned out even worse than we expected. The Lightning lost six out of ten games, dropping to the wild card position at one point. Tonight, the Lightning are finally ending their road trip with the game against the New York Islanders.
In an attempt to reload their offensive weapons, Jon Cooper reorganized their forward group, reuniting Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov on the top line in the previous game. They were pretty dangerous together, creating four high dangerous chances yesterday in Detroit, but still lacked some finishing touch. The Lightning, however, scored twice on power play, which also had been underperforming during this stretch.
Meanwhile, the Lightning announced that Ryan McDonagh will miss a couple of weeks due to an upper-body injury he suffered after blocking a shot during the game against the Boston Bruins. Good news for the Lightning — the playoffs are still one month away, so McDonagh should be ready before the first round. In the meantime, his absence will lay some responsibility on Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak, who will eat some of his minutes.
Just like the Lightning, the Isles are playing their second game in two days tonight. Yesterday they suffered a big loss against the Boston Bruins 6-3, who also defeated the Lightning earlier this week. The Isles’ season, however, is slowly nearing to its end — they’re hopelessly at the bottom of the standings with almost zero chance to make playoffs. Not a good sight for a team, which made to the Stanley Cup semifinal two years in a row.
The Bolts are leading the season series against the Isles 1-0 so far. In their only game back in November, the Lightning defeated them 4-1 at Amalie Arena. The third game against the Islanders will also be the final game of the regular season for both teams.
Tampa Bay Lightning projected lineup
Steven Stamkos — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat — Anthony Cirelli — Alex Killorn
Brandon Hagel — Nicholas Paul — Ross Colton
Pat Maroon — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Corey Perry
Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta
Mikhail Sergachev — Erik Cernak
Zach Bogosian — Cal Foote
New York Islanders projected lineup
Anders Lee — Brock Nelson — Anthony Beauvillier
Zach Parise — Mathew Barzal — Oliver Wahlstrom
Josh Bailey — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Kyle Palmieri
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Ross Johnston
Zdeno Chara — Noah Dobson
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Sebastien Aho — Andy Greene