Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders Preview and Game Day Thread
Time to bounce back and win a game
Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders: GAME #79
Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: UBS Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, MSGSN, ESPN+, HULU
Opponent's Site: Lighthouse Hockey
Let's forget about yesterday's affair and focus on the fact that Steven Stamkos is about to play in his 1,000th career game. Just a few short seasons ago that number probably didn't seem possible, let alone him doing it in a Tampa Bay Lightning uniform (remember Stammergeddon? Ah, those were fun times).
Yet, here is is, quietly producing at age 32 with 80 points (33 goals, 47 assists) in 77 games. For his career he's at 1,052 points, which is good for 75th all-time in NHL history (Pat Verbeek and Eric Staal are next on his list with 1062 points).
Pretty, pretty impressive.
There would be no better way for him to celebrate than with a couple of goals and a win. The Bolts "battled" last night against the Rangers, to use Coach Cooper's word, but tired a bit at the end with Ross Colton (penalties) and Anthony Cirelli (undisclosed injury) out for most of the third period.
There was no update on Cirelli's status after the game. If he's out, expect Michael Eyssimont to draw back into the line-up. Or, Coach Cooper could elect to roll with an 11/7 line-up and work either Zach Bogosian or Haydn Fleury into the defensive rotation.
Hopefully, we'll see a better start tonight at Belmont Park as the Lightning take on the New York Islanders in the final of their 16 back-to-back's this season. After conceding the game's first three goals, the Lightning battled back to make it 4-3 at one point, but couldn't find the equalizer against Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers. A couple of late third-period goals turned it into an easy cover for New York and all but eliminated the Lightning's hope to flip flop spots in the Atlantic with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
So, with home ice for the first round no longer an option, the Lightning need to focus on making sure their bad habits don't carry over and become a trend. We've talked about this in the past, it's okay and normal to have a bad game. Mistakes happen, it's hockey. Finding ways to limit those mistakes and put them behind you has been a defining characteristic for the Lightning during their recent run of success.
As for the Islanders, they are looking to improve upon the 5-0 loss to the Bolts last Saturday. Following that game, they then lost 2-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes and since have had three days to stew on their two-game losing streak as they look to hold on to their spot in the Wild Card race.
Entering the game they are in the second Wild Card spot with 87 points. Florida has leapfrogged them due to having 34 regulation time wins to the Islanders 33. Pittsburgh is lingering right behind the duo with 86 points. New York has four games left (three of them at home) to secure a spot in the playoffs.
Mathew Barzal remains out with an injury and is unlikely to return before the end of the season. Alexander Romanov, who left the last game against the Lightning after getting tangled up with Corey Perry, is listed as day-to-day.
It should be another tough, playoff-like game for the Lightning tonight. Hopefully, they can limit the needless penalties and turnovers and celebrate their captain with a win.
Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines
Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel - Nick Paul - Ross Colton
Alex Killorn - Michael Eyssimont/Anthony Cirelli - Pat Maroon
Tanner Jeannot - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Nick Perbix
Mikhail Sergachev - Darren Raddysh
Ian Cole - Erik Cernak
New York Islanders Potential Lines
Anders Lee - Bo Horvat - Simon Holmstrom
Pierre Engvall - Brock Nelson - Kyle Palmieri
Zach Parise - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Hudson Fasching
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech - Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho - Scott Mayfield
Samuel Bolduc - Noah Dobson