NHL Tuesday NBC Sports Network Preview: New York Islanders at the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tampa Bay looks to even this series at 1-1 at home in their Amelie Arena before things move to Nassau Coliseum for Games 3 and 4.
New York won the opening game of this semifinals series with a 2-1 victory on the road in Game 1 on Sunday. After a scoreless first period, Matthew Barzal opened the scoring at the 12:32 minute mark of the second period. Barzal has scored four goals in his last five games. Ryan Pulock extended the lead to 2-0 at 5:36 of the third period. Brayden Point got the Lightning on the board with 54 seconds left in the game with a power-play goal and a six-on-four advantage with goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy pulled. Tampa Bay failed to score a second goal to force overtime.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced in the victory. Since taking over in the net for Ilya Sorokin in the second game of their second-round series with Boston, Varlamov has a .939 save percentage in his last six straight starts. He has a 5-3 record with a 2.43 goals-against-average and a .930 save percentage this postseason.
Jean-Gabriel Page leads the Islanders with ten assists and 13 points in the playoffs. Josh Bailey is second on the team with 12 points coming from five goals and seven assists. Kyle Palmieri leads with seven goals.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced on Sunday. He has an 8-4 record in the playoffs with a 2.23 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage.
Nikita Kucherov leads Tampa Bay with 14 assists and 19 points in the playoffs. Point’s nine goals are tops for the team in the postseason. Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos have both added 13 points.
The Lighting only had two power-play opportunities in Game 1. They entered the series with 15 power-play goals in 36 opportunities with the man advantage for a 41.7% conversion rate. They averaged 3.3 power plays per game in their first two playoff series.
New York was the least penalized team in the regular season, with 153 penalties committed. Their 7:00 minutes of penalty minutes per game and 3:13 shorthanded minutes per game in the playoffs are the lowest averages of the remaining four teams.
The Islanders lost to the Lightning in last year’s Eastern Conference finals in a six-game series in the Toronto bubble. Head coach Barry Trotz has 17 players back from that battle. They beat Pittsburgh in six games in the opening round of the playoffs this year before defeating the Bruins in six games last round. New York has won eight of their last ten games.
Jon Cooper’s team defeated Florida in six games in the opening round of the playoffs in their endeavor to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Tampa Bay beat Carolina in five games last round. The Lightning had won five of six games before the setback on Sunday.
BetAnySports lists Tampa Bay as a -190 money line favorite with the total set at 5.