New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview and Game Day Thread
Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #77
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, MSGSN, HULU, ESPN+
With six games to go in the regular season, the Tampa Bay Lightning still have some unresolved things to do in the NHL. First of all, the Bolts still need to secure their spot in the upcoming postseason, which frankly now seems like a formality with the Lightning having almost 100 percent odds of making playoffs by many betting sites. The Lightning will have a chance to clinch their playoff berth tonight against a highly-motivated New York Islanders team, who are still battling for the postseason as well. The Lightning are also in the race for a second place in the Atlantic Division, but that would require a big amount of luck besides a necessity of not losing points in the remaining games.
Heading into tonight's game against the Isles, the Lightning have a two-game winning streak, outscoring their opponents 9-1 in their last two games and allowing just three goals since their 7-2 debacle against the Ottawa Senators last week. That's a very promising sign ahead of the playoffs, given the issues the Lightning had at their blue line the whole season. It also seems like the Lightning coaching staff almost decided on how their defensive pairings will look like at the start of the postseason: Darren Raddysh, who made his season debut just at the beginning of March, became the team's sixth defenceman, missing just one game out of the Lightning's last ten games. In 11 games with the Bolts, he's averaging 15:02 per game, which is more than Zach Bogosian and Haydn Fleury this season – his main opponents for a lineup spot. Against the Carolina Hurricanes he played his career-high TOI in the NHL, finishing the game with 20:55 on the clock after 24 shifts.
The Islanders, who are coming to Amalie Arena tonight, also have a two-game winning streak, defeating the Washington Capitals and the New Jersey Devils in their two last games. The next two days will be very challenging for the Islanders as after facing the Bolts tonight, they're playing against the Canes on Sunday. The Isles are currently in the first wild card spot, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins by three points (although they have a game in hand) and the Florida Panthers by four points.
The Islanders' biggest acquisition at the trade deadline Bo Horvat couldn't get his scoring touch back from Vancouver, scoring just six goals and 12 points in 24 games with the new team. On the other side Pierre Engvall has been a great addition, scoring five goals in 12 games with the Isles, including two goals in their two most recent games. The Islanders also have been without Mathew Barzal since the late February, who could potentially miss the start of the playoffs if the Isles are going to make it.
This is the second meeting between two teams this season. In the first game (also at Amalie Arena), the Bolts defeated the Islanders them 5-3. Overall in latest seasons, the Islanders don't have a good record against the Lightning at their home ice with the last win at Amalie Arena dated back to December 2019. Both teams will meet again next Thursday, when the Lightning will visit New York.
Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines
Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel - Nick Paul - Ross Colton
Pat Maroon - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Tanner Jeannot - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Nick Perbix
Mikhail Sergachev - Darren Raddysh
Ian Cole - Erik Cernak
New York Islanders Potential Lines
Zach Parise - Bo Horvat - Hudson Fasching
Pierre Engval - Brock Nelson - Kyle Palmieri
Anders Lee - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Simon Holmstrom
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech - Scott Mayfield
Alexander Romanov - Ryan Pulock
Samuel Bolduc - Noah Dobson