They’ve been waiting a while
The Tampa Bay Lightning last played on August 31st. They’ve been waiting for six days. While that certainly gives them time to rest up and heal. It also creates rust. We’ve seen how teams typically perform after a break and the other team hasn’t stopped.
In the 2016-17 season, teams struggled after the league-mandated bye-week. Teams coming off a bye were 4-12-4. So while getting a break allows you to refresh, the team who hasn’t stopped playing is in game shape and they seem to hold an advantage.
We also saw that play out in 2018-19 when the Islanders sat for nine days after sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round. The Hurricanes swept the Isles in round two even though they hadn’t enjoyed the same time-off the Islanders did.
Stamkos is out
It sucks when guys are hurt, but it’s still an advantage when they aren’t there. For the Lightning, they’ll be missing one of the better snipers in the game with Steven Stamkos still out. According to Jon Cooper, Stamkos will not suit up in the ECF for the Lightning.
Stamkos has 53 career points (with 23 goals) in 70 playoff games. Not having in the lineup is an advantage for the Islanders.
They have a hard time against a defensive team
The Lightning had a difficult time getting through the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round of the playoffs. All four of their wins were by a single goal and two needed overtime to resolve, including a five-OT win in Game 1 of that series.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a hard time against a defensive first team like Blue Jackets and the Islanders. The difference between the Isles and Blue Jackets is that he Isles are more skilled offensively.
CBJ had a hard time getting more than two goals in their opening-round series against the Bolts. They averaged 2.4 goals-per-game. The Isles have averaged 3.38 goals-per-game, the third-most in the entire postseason.