The New York Islanders (21-17-12) return home to UBS Arena tonight to host the Tampa Bay Lightning (27-19-5). Here’s what you need to know before puck drop.
Islanders Looking To Buy:
The NHL trade deadline is fast approaching, and many are wondering which approach the Islanders will take toward it. According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, Lou Lamoriello is looking to buy.
Cizikas Activated Off LTIR:
After a 10-game absence, Casey Cizikas has been activated off of long-term injured reserve and is expected to be back between Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin in Islanders the lineup tonight.
Last Time Out:
The Islanders couldn’t afford to start their post-All-Star break on schedule on the wrong foot. In Toronto on Monday against the Maple Leafs, all seemed to be going well until former Islanders captain John Tavares tied the game with a power play goal late in the third period. But fittingly, a former Leaf won it for New York.
While their spot in the standings may not reflect it, the Tampa Bay Lightning are come as good as advertised as they did when the Islanders met them in two straight conference finals a few years ago.
Tampa holds the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with 59 points, five ahead of the Islanders. Much of that has to do with Andrei Vasilevskiy missing a large portion of the season due to injury.
With the Lightning playing in the second half of a back-to-back, the Islanders will avoid Vasilevskiy in this matchup. Instead, they’ll take on Jonas Johansson. In 21 starts this year, Johansson has a record of 10-6-5 with a 3.34 GAA and a .894 save percentage.
The Lighting fell 3-1 to the Rangers in their game last night, but that wasn’t their most consequential loss. In his first game back from a seven-week absence, defenseman Mikhail Sergachev had to be stretchered off the ice with a gruesome lower-body injury.
Still, the Bolts have plenty of the old faces that strike fear across the rest of the league.
Nikita Kucherov is the NHL’s leading point scorer, with 86 points in 50 games.
Tampa Bay has the league’s top-rated power play unit (29.8%) and the 11th-ranked penalty kill (81.3%)
How To Watch:
Puck drop between the Islanders and Lightning from UBS Arena is scheduled for just past 8 p.m. EST. The game is available to watch on ESPN or streamed on ESPN Plus for out-of-market viewers. 88.7 FM WRHU will produce the radio feed of the game, which can also be heard on 1050 AM ESPN or 103.9 FM WRCN.