Already member? Login first!

Comments / New

Lightning at Islanders Preview: Bolts’ plan for busting out of slump is nothing new

Oct 22, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA;New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) passes the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) defends during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Game #59 – Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders
Time: 2:00 PM EST
Location: UBS Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, MSGSN, ESPN+, Hulu

Opponent’s Site: Lighthouse Hockey


“Turn the page and move on.” That’s how Coach Cooper put it to the media following the Lighting’s 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. You’re probably not shocked to learn that he’s used that phrase before following a loss. In fact he’s probably used it after every playoff loss during his tenure.

Not dwelling on losses along with his other common belief of “don’t get too high after wins or too low after losses,” have been the pillars of his philosophy when dealing with the rough stretches the Lightning have been through. It might be a basic belief system, but it is also practical. There is nothing they can do about the six points they dropped in their three-game losing streak. Going back in time and changing the outcome isn’t going to happen, so they are best off putting it in their rearview mirror and focusing on what they can control – the three-game road trip that kicks off tonight against the Islanders.

“Now it’s time for us to get on the road, be together here, and grind out some points. It’s the only thing we can do because games are ticking away. Teams are either catching us or passing us, we’ve got to start doing the same,” is how he finished off the press meeting. The Red Wings passed them on Thursday with their overtime win and the Bolts now sit in the second Wild Card spot. There is a little cushion in points between them and the teams on the outside looking in (like the Islanders) but with their upcoming break, that margin could disappear in a hurry.

The number one key to getting things back under control has got to be a focus on defense. During the stretch where they went 11-4 to get back into a playoff spot they posted a 2.62 GA/60. Overall throughout the season that number is 3.39. The winning can be tied back to them playing better defense, it’s that simple:

Stat (all situations)Winning StretchOverall Season
Goals Allowed/602.623.39
Expected Goals Allowed/602.653.08
Scoring Chances Allowed/6026.2227.18
High-Danger Chances Allowed/6010.9611.51
High-Danger Save Percentage81.82%80.88%
Save Percentage90.63%88.54%
Stats provided by Natural Stat Trick

As Coach Cooper has also mentioned in the past, allowing three to four goals a game isn’t a sustainable path to success in the NHL. Some of the changes we saw in the practices leading up to the game, like putting Anthony Cirelli on the top line and moving Brandon Hagel to the second line seem to have been made with the intention of having the top lines give up fewer chances overall.

Of course, those changes didn’t last as they Bolts were behind early. However, Hagel on a line with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov for roughly 10 minutes only allowed 2 scoring chances against, so that was a good thing. As a whole, the team only allowed 16 scoring chances total at 5v5, but Washington was able to score on four of them.

Hopefully, they can get things going against a team that has been struggling with offense all season long. The Islanders are 22nd in the league at 2.89 goals per game. They’ve been a bit sporadic in their scoring of late. They hung six goals on the Lightning a couple of weeks ago and scored five against the Rangers and Penguins in back-to-back games. They’ve also managed only one goal against Seattle and were shut out by St. Louis. Four losses in five games have pushed them back in the playoff race, although a win tonight would leave them just three points behind the Lightning with two games in hand.

Points are getting precious as this point and the Bolts are at the point where they can’t afford to keep squandering them. The road may have been a struggle for them so far this year, but this trip offers them a chance at course-correcting everything. Hopefully they take it.

Stats Match-up

Game #59Tampa Bay LightningNew York Islanders
Overall Record30-23-523-19-14
Home Record18-8-313-7-9
Road Record12-15-210-12-5
Goals For196164
Goals Against198187
Power Play29.7%22.7%
Penalty Kill80.5%71.5%
Last 10 Games5-5-03-4-3


Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

Steven Stamkos – Anthony Cirelli – Nikita Kucherov

Brandon Hagel – Brayden Point – Mitchell Chaffee

Mikey Eyssimont – Nick Paul – Conor Sheary

Cole Koepke – Luke Glendening – Tyler Motte

Victor Hedman – Darren Raddysh
Haydn Fleury (?) – Erik Cernak (?)
Emil Lilleberg – Nick Perbix

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Jonas Johansson

Lines are based on how they started their last game. Fleury left that game with an injury and Erik Cernak was scratched with an illness. We will update if they have a morning skate.

New York Islanders Projected Lines

Anders Lee – Bo Horvat – Mathew Barzal

Pierre Engvall – Brock Nelson – Kyle Palmieri

Simon Holmstrom – J.G. Pageau – Oliver Wahlstrom

Matt Martin – Kyle MacLean – Kyle Clutterbuck

Alexander Romanov – Noah Dobson

Adam Pelech – Ryan Purlock

Mike Reilly – Scott Mayfield


Ilya Sorokin

Semyon Varlamov

The Playoff Race

Atlantic DivisionGames PlayedRecordPointsGames Remaining
Boston Bruins5834-12-128024
Florida Panthers5737-16-47825
Toronto Maple Leafs5632-16-87226
Wild CardGames PlayedRecordPointsGames Remaining
Detroit Red Wings5630-20-66626
Washington Capitals5526-21-86027
Top 3 teams in the Atlantic make the playoffs, top two wild card teams also make the playoffs
If you enjoyed this article please consider supporting RawCharge by subscribing here, or purchasing our merchandise here.

Support RawCharge by using our Affiliate Link when Shopping Hockey Apparel !