The New York Islanders will look to even up the series, after a poor performance in game one, tonight at 8 p.m. Here’s everything to know about the matchup.
The beautiful thing about the NHL Playoffs is you cannot win or lose a series in game one. The New York Islanders have a great opportunity to even up the series and get back on track with a win tonight.
The Islanders looked lifeless in the worst performance of the postseason on Monday night. The pure speed and skill of the Lightning was something the Islanders have yet to see this postseason and it overpowered the blue and orange en route to an 8-2 Tampa win.
Giving up eight goals was tough for both Islanders players and fans alike, given that the Islanders take so much pride in their team defense, but history may be on the Islanders side. The last time the Isles gave up a snowman in the playoffs they did something historic.
Back on May 15th, 1980, the Islanders lost game two of the Stanley Cup Final to the Philadelphia Flyers 8-3. Then that famous team went on to make history in the coming games and brought the Stanley Cup home to Long Island.
Just like the team that started the famous dynasty, there is no reason for the Islanders to hit the panic button. Monday night was just ONE game and the Isles will be fine if they get back to their style of play.
Tale of the Tape
The Islanders come into today as the underdogs, courtesy of the Action network.
After getting demolished in game one to a higher seed the Isles were always going to be the underdog in game two.
I expect to see a completely different performance from the Islanders. They had to regroup quickly after winning game seven on Saturday and fly across Canada, on Sunday, to play against one of the best NHL teams on Monday. That is a tough ask for any team.
Expect the Isles to make some small adjustments that can go a long way. This includes quick ups on the breakout and different defensive zone coverage. This game will be much closer than game one!
The Islanders biggest question going into game two is, who gets the start in net?
Both Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov did not have the best of games on Monday night and you can definitely not blame either of them for the scoreline. Tampa had glorious scoring opportunities and the Isles net-minders were left out to dry.
It is projected that Griess will again get the start in game two and will look for better team defense in front of him.
The next lineup issue is Clutterbuck’s availability for tonight’s game. Cal Clutterbuck blocked a shot in the leg in the second period of game one. He returned shortly in the third period but eventually left the game early.
It looks like we will know if Clutterbuck is playing when the rosters are submitted for tonight’s game. If he cannot play we may see the Islanders lineup in a way that we haven’t seen this postseason: eleven forwards and seven defensemen.
Johnny Boychuk may return to the lineup to offer the Islanders a more physical option against Point and Kucherov.
The Islanders are projected to lineup like this:
The Tampa Bay Lightning will want more of the same in game two of this series. They clearly showed why they are one of the front runners to win the Stanley Cup this year.
The Bolts had no known injuries in game two and they are expected to keep the same exact lineup tonight.
Tampa will look for Brayden Point to keep up his red hot scoring streak after putting a clinic on in Monday night’s game. He had two goals and three assists in 17:16 of ice time.
The Islanders will look to stop Point, and his fellow linemates, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. These three combined for eleven points (four goals and seven assists) in the opening game of this series.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will be back in the net after stopping 24 of 26 shots on Labor day. Vasilevskiy has started all of the 14 postseason games the Bolts have played in.
The Lightning are projected to lineup like this:
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Where to Catch the Game
TV: NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS
Radio: 88.7FM 103.9FM 98.7FM
*All Stats Provided by the NHL*