The New York Islanders are one round closer to reaching the Stanely Cup Final for the first time since the 1980s. They will have to go through the Tampa Bay Lightning to do so, with the series beginning tonight in Edmonton.
The Islanders arrived in the Edmonton bubble Sunday night and have a quick turnaround, while Tampa Bay will be well-rested after a lengthy break since their Second Round series ended on Aug. 31. The Labor Day game will mark the third time the two teams have squared off in the postseason.
Head coach Barry Trotz didn’t reveal anything about the Islanders lineup ahead of tonight’s game. He did indicate that everyone was available to the Islanders against Tampa Bay.
A reporter’s attempt to ask about the Islanders starter did not produce an answer. Thomas Greiss was the starter on Saturday when the Islanders shutout Philadelphia in Game 7 to advance to the conference finals.
Michael Dal Colle also cracked the Islanders lineup against Philadelphia in place of Leo Komarov.
“To me, I was looking for a little different energy,” Trotz said about the lineup change in the previous game. “Some new blood. It’s demanding. The playoffs are demanding and guys marked up. When you say every team has guys that are banged up, marked up, but they can still play. AT this time of year you’re either hurt or injured and unable to play. A lot of guys are hurt, but they’re ready to play.”
Tampa Bay will be without Steven Stamkos for this series, but they have plenty of high-quality players to fill the void. Brayden Point holds the team lead in scoring with 18 points ( six goals, 12 assists) and Nikita Kucherov has 16 points (four goals, 12 assists).
“They work extremely hard and they hound pucks,” Casey Cizikas said about Tampa Bay. “That’s kind of what they’ve done all playoffs and they’ve been successful doing it. We just have to match that intensity. We have the same mentality and we have the same group that does that.”
Islanders Lines (Projected)
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Derick Brassard — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Leo Komarov
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews — Scott Mayfield
Nick Leddy — Andy Greene
Lightning Lines (Projected)
Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — Tyler Johnson
Barclay Goodrow — Yanni Gourde — Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon — Mitchell Stephens — Cedric Paquette
Victor Hedman — Zach Bogosian
Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev — Kevin Shattenkirk
Andrei Vasilevskiey is 1-1-0 against the Islanders this season. He holds a 2.54 goals-against average and a .884 save percentage. … Tampa Bay is making its fourth appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in the last six years. It is the sixth conference finals appearance in franchise history. … Tampa is 2-3 all-time in the Eastern Conference Finals. … Josh Bailey’s 15 assists in the postseason are the second-most by an Islander since Bob Bourne had 20 in 1983. … Anthony Beauvillier’s eight goals in the playoffs are the most by an Islander since 1993 when Steve Thomas had nine. … The Islanders killed all 13 of Philadelphia’s power plays in the Second Round. It was the first time since 1979 against Chicago that New York did not allow a power-play goal in a series.
How to Watch
The game will air locally and nationally on NBC. On the radio dial, the game will air on 98.7 FM ESPN New York, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.
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