Preview: New York Islanders Host Tampa Bay Lightning


The New York Islanders will look to avenge a loss handed to them by the Tampa Bay Lightning, when the two teams face off for the second time in four days. The Lightning took the first game of the home and home with a 5-2 victory over an Islander team that was looking for their sixth straight win.

The Islanders had their five game winning streak snapped by the Lightning Saturday night and did not look good in the process. The Lightning scored four unanswered goals and the Islanders played flat after the 1st period. The Islanders did not get a good performance from goaltender Chad Johnson who allowed 5 goals on 28 shots. This most likely means we will be seeing goaltender Jaroslav Halak in net for the Islanders . Halak has excelled lately, winning his last three games, two of which have been shutouts. The Islanders will also be getting Cal Clutterbuck back after he missed Saturday’s game with a lower body injury. He will most likely take the spot of Cory Conacher in the Islanders’ line-up. Hopefully the powerplay, which went 0-4 in Saturday’s game, will improve with Jack Capuano adding Johnny Boychuk and to the unit replacing Lubomir Visnovsky. This is a move many fans have been waiting for all season as Boychuk thrived on the power play to start the year.

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The main story line of this game will be the return of former Islander goalie, and current Lightning goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov spent three years as the Islanders’ starting goalie and was solid in his tenure with the team. Nabokov led the Islanders to the team’s first playoff berth in seven years in the 2012-2013 campaign and should certainly receive a warm ovation from the fans. Nabokov would like to play against his former team according to his quotes the past couple of days and it seems like his wish will be granted with Ben Bishop getting the start last night in a 5-1 victory against the Rangers. The Lightning are led by star Steven Stamkos who is leading the team in points this year. They are currently in 2nd place in the Atlantic Division and have played well despite the absence of big defenseman Victor Hedman. Hedman’s loss has been easier for the Bolts to handle since they have gotten good play from newly signed Anton Stralman who signed a five-year deal with the team after spending his past three-years with the Rangers as well as Jason Garrison.

The Islanders will certainly need to come out strong against a Lightning team that is hitting on all cylinders. The battle of two second place teams should be a good one.