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Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders Preview and Game Day Thread

After playing in the Stanley Cup semifinal last year, the teams find themselves at the opposite sides of the standings this season

New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #65

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

Forwards

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

Defensemen

Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta

Mikhail Sergachev — Erik Cernak

Zach Bogosian — Cal Foote

Goaltender

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

New York Islanders projected lineup

Forwards

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

Defense

Zdeno Chara — Noah Dobson

Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock

Sebastien Aho — Andy Greene

Goalies

Ilya Sorokin

Semyon Varlamov