The New York Islanders are facing a must win tonight, in game three at 8 p.m., against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Here’s everything to know about the matchup.
Tonight’s game can completely change the series. The New York Islanders can start making their way back in this series or they can be one game from elimination after tonight. The Islanders do have an advantage going into this game, as Tampa will definitely be without one of their top forwards and one of their best players may be out with an injury.
Wednesday night was an absolute heart breaker for Islanders players and fans alike. The Islanders played a near-perfect game, but could not capitalize on their opportunities. The game was tied 1-1 going into the last minute when the Isles had their worst shift of the game:
Tampa, only playing with nine forwards late in the third, got three glorious scoring opportunities, in the final thirty seconds, to win the game before Nikita Kucherov scored on the third opportunity to seal the 2-1 dramatic victory.
The way that the Lightning won that game after being dominated and with a short bench, just goes to show that great teams always find a way to win, regardless of the circumstances against them.
The Islanders must find their killer instinct to put the Lightning away tonight because if they leave the Bolts in the game, they are dangerous.
This will be the first time this series that the Islanders will be the “home” team. So far this postseason, the Islanders are 5-2 when they have the last change.
Tale of the Tape
The Islanders come into tonight as the underdogs, courtesy of the Action network.
I expect to see the Islanders best performance of the series tonight, after losing in such a poor fashion on Wednesday night. They will come out hitting and getting pucks to the net from all angles and will look to play on the attack all night.
The underdogs are a good play in this one!
Barry Trotz and the Islanders coaching staff tend to not make changes after a game they dominate, but still come out on the wrong end of the scoreboard.
The insertion of Leo Komarov into the lineup definitely helped the Islanders penalty kill, as they went three for three in game two. We also got to see Andrew Ladd in the lineup for the first time since March 10. Both players played well and are projected to stay in the lineup tonight.
Brock Nelson had a rough game two, he was hit from behind by Killorn and when he returned he was cross-checked in the head by Goodrow. He did miss some time in game two from the Killorn hit, but it looks like he will be good to go tonight.
It is a toss-up on who will get the start tonight, but it is projected that Semyon Varlamov will start after stopping 19 of 21 shots faced on Wednesday night.
The Islanders are projected to lineup like this:
As I mentioned at the beginning of this pregame preview, Tampa will definitely be without one of their top forwards. Alex Killorn will not be allowed to play in this game as he is suspended one game by the NHL after his vicious hit on Nelson.
To make matters worse for the Bolts, they may also be without star center Brayden Point, who leads the team in goals (8) and points (23). Jon Cooper also acknowledged the possibility that he will be missing Point for game three.
It is projected that Mathieu Joseph will come in for Killorn and Carter Verhaeghe will replace an injured Point.
Other than that, the Lightning will keep their seven defensemen in the lineup and Andrei Vasilevskiy will be in the net.
The Lightning are projected to lineup like this:
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Where to Catch the Game
TV: USA, CBC, SN, TVAS
Radio: 88.7FM 103.9FM 98.7FM
*All Stats Provided by the NHL*