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Game Preview: Islanders at Lightning

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

ISLANDERS (11-5-0) at LIGHTNING (11-4-2)


Season series: The Tampa Bay Lightning won two of three games against the New York Islanders in 2013-14, all of which were decided in shootouts. Goalie Ben Bishop played each game for Tampa Bay; the Lightning's two wins came against Evgeni Nabokov, who is now Bishop's backup. This is a home-and-home series for the Islanders, who are off until they host the Lightning on Tuesday, after Tampa Bay visits the New York Rangers the previous night.

Islanders team scope: This is the end of a stretch in which New York is playing seven of eight games on the road. The Islanders lost the first two but won the next five, including a 4-3 shootout victory against the Florida Panthers on Friday. Goals by John Tavares, Ryan Strome and Nikolay Kulemin put the Islanders ahead 3-1 in the third period, but Florida scored twice to send the game past regulation. Jaroslav Halak made nine of his 35 saves in overtime, then denied two of three Panthers in the tiebreaker. The winning streak is the longest for the Islanders since they won six in a row in February 2008. This is New York's third set of back-to-back games this season; coach Jack Capuano has split the goaltending in each of the first two, meaning Chad Johnson could start against Tampa Bay.

Lightning team scope: Coach Jon Cooper put his players through a lengthy practice Friday, one day after the Lightning lost 2-1 at home to the San Jose Sharks. Tampa Bay may be without forward Ondrej Palat on Saturday; he was injured in the third period against the Sharks and did not practice Friday. Cooper said Palat is nursing a lower-body injury and will be a game-time decision. Palat has four goals and 11 points. Forward Brett Connolly is almost ready to return from a lower-body injury that has kept him out since Oct. 24. He's likely to miss this game but should return next week. Bishop has started 13 of the Lightning's 17 games; Nabokov, who signed with the Lightning this summer after three seasons with the Islanders, hasn't played since Nov. 8.

New York Islanders
11-5-0 (22 points – 2nd in Metropolitan Division, 4th in Eastern Conference)
7-3-0 road
Tampa Bay Lightning
11-4-2 (24 points - 2nd in Atlantic Division, 2nd in Eastern Conference)
6-2-1 home
7:00  p.m.
Amalie Arena

Tampa, FL

Play-by-play: Howie Rose
; Color: Butch Goring
Channel Finder

Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, LI News Radio 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Chris King; Color: Greg Picker
Islanders News:
- Islanders 4, Panthers 3 (SO)
- Watch the full highlights of Friday's win
- Watch the post-game reaction from Friday's win

Islanders player to watch
John Tavares - Forward

John Tavares has found his goal-scoring touch in November, notching his third of the month and seventh of the season in a 4-3 shootout win on Friday night against the Florida Panthers. Tavares is tied with Brock Nelson for the team goal-scoring lead, but his 17 points (7G, 10A) stand alone atop the Islanders leaderboard. The Islanders captain has five points (3G, 2A) in his last five games.
Lightning player to watch
Steven Stamkos - Forward

One year removed from a broken leg, Steven Stamkos is back to leading the Tampa Bay Lightning with 18 points (11G, 7A) in 17 games. When healthy, Stamkos is one of the most prolific scorers in the NHL. No one has scored more goals in the past six years than the Lightning center, who has 221 in 348 games over that span. Stamkos has 11 goals in 17 games this season.
New York Islanders previous game lines
86 Nikolay Kulemin 91 John Tavares 21 Kyle Okposo
27 Anders Lee 
18 Ryan Strome 29 Brock Nelson
12 Josh Bailey51 Frans Nielsen84 Mikhail Grabovski
17 Matt Martin – 
53 Casey Cizikas 15 Cal Clutterbuck


44 Calvin de Haan 3 Travis Hamonic
2 Nick Leddy
55 Johnny Boychuk
14 Thomas Hickey
11 Lubomir Visnovsky

41 Jaroslav Halak
30 Chad Johnson

Tampa Bay Lightning previous game lines
27 Jonathan Drouin - 90 Vladislav Namestnikov - 91 Steven Stamkos
17 Alex Killorn - 51 Valtteri Filppula - 24 Ryan Callahan
18 Ondrej Palat - 9 Tyler Johnson - 86 Nikita Kucherov
10 Brenden Morrow - 11 Brian Boyle - 23 J.T. Brown

6 Anton Stralman - 25 Matt Carle
5 Jason Garrison - 7 Radko Gudas
2 Eric Brewer - 62 Andrej Sustr

30 Ben Bishop
20 Evgeni Nabokov

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