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Game Preview: Islanders vs. Lightning

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

LIGHTNING (20-10-4) at ISLANDERS (22-10-0)

TV: FX-CA, SUN, MSG+2

Season series: The Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders each won 5-2 on their own ice within a four-day span in mid-November. Five Islanders scored and goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves in New York's victory Nov. 18.

Lightning team scope: Tampa Bay spotted the New Jersey Devils an early two-goal lead, then rallied to get the game to a shootout before losing 3-2 when New Jersey's Patrik Elias beat Evgeni Nabokov for the only goal in the tiebreaker. It was the Lightning's first point of the season in 11 games in which they trailed after two periods. The power play went 0-for-5 and came up empty during a four-minute advantage in the third period, but a last-minute goal gave Tampa Bay a point. "You hate to enter the third period behind, but it was nice that we won the period and snuck a point out of it, so it's a good step," coach Jon Cooper said. Starting goalie Ben Bishop skated Friday for the first time since leaving the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday with a lower-body injury. If he's not ready to play, rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy could get his second start; Nabokov, 39, is not likely to start back-to-back games. Vasilevskiy made 23 saves Tuesday in a 4-1 road victory against the Philadelphia Flyers in his NHL debut.

Islanders team scope: Top-six defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic returned Friday and made their presence felt, helping the Islanders limit the Detroit Red Wings to 18 shots in a 2-1 road victory, their third straight win. "We kept them to the outside when they had some extended zone time," coach Jack Capuano said. "To hold a team like that, we're doing something right." Second-year forward Brock Nelson and rookie linemate Anders Lee each had a goal and an assist; each scored going to the front of the net and converting a rebound. Capuano didn't say whether he'll start Halak or backup Chad Johnson, who is 5-4-0 with a 3.59 goals-against average and .868 save percentage.

New York Islanders
22-10-0 (44 points – 2nd in Metropolitan Division, T-2nd in Eastern Conference)
12-3-0 home
Tampa Bay Lightning
20-10-4 (44 points - 1st in Atlantic Division, T-2nd in Eastern Conference)
8-6-3 road
7:00  p.m.
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Uniondale, NY

Television:
MSG PLUS 2
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
Islanders News:
- Islanders 2, Red Wings 1
(Dec. 19)
- MSG Post-Game Video (Dec. 19)

What's Happening at the Coliseum:

- Doors at 5:45pm
- Lower Lobby 5pm
- Islanders Toy Drive
Islanders player to watch
Anders Lee - Forward

Anders Lee had a major role in Friday’s 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, scoring the game-winner, as well as setting up the Islanders first goal. Lee’s goal ended an eight-game drought for the big-bodied winger, who has six goals and three assists on the season. Lee makes up one third of the Islanders “kid line” with Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome.
Lightning player to watch
Nikita Kucherov - Forward

Nikita Kucherov is red-hot, entering tonight with a five-game point streak (four goals, three assists). Kucherov is one of three Lightning sophomores (Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat) to take a big step forward this season. The Moscow, native has 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) shattering his rookie point totals (nine goals, nine assists, 18 points).
New York Islanders previous game lines
Forwards
12 Josh Bailey 91 John Tavares 21 Kyle Okposo
84 Mikhail Grabovski51 Frans Nielsen86 Nikolay Kulemin
27 Anders Lee
29 Brock Nelson 18 Ryan Strome
17 Matt Martin – 
53 Casey Cizikas 15 Cal Clutterbuck

Defensemen

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

Goaltenders
41 Jaroslav Halak
30 Chad Johnson

Tampa Bay Lightning previous game lines
Forwards
27 Jonathan Drouin - 91 Steven Stamkos - 24 Ryan Callahan
18 Ondrej Palat - 51 Valtteri Filppula - 86 Nikita Kucherov
17 Alex Killorn - 13 Cedric Paquette - 23 J.T. Brown
10 Brenden Morrow - 11 Brian Boyle - 14 Brett Connolly

Defensemen
77 Victor Hedman - 6 Anton Stralman
25 Matt Carle - 7 Radko Gudas
5 Jason Garrison - 62 Andrej Sustr

Goaltenders
20 Evgeni Nabokov
88 Andrei Vasilevskiy


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