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New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders

Team Record: 3-1-0

Last Game: 4-2 W vs. NYR
Season Series: 1-0-0 of 4
Team Record: 1-3-2
Last Game: 7-4 L vs. FLA
Season Series: 0-1-0 of 4
Josh Bailey
In the first four games of the 2011-12 season, the Islanders center has made an impression on Head Coach Jack Capuano.

"(Bailey's) conditioning level is much greater than it was last year," Capuano said. "He’s stronger, he’s doing a lot of little things, and he’s got a lot to prove. I have a lot of faith and confidence in the way that he’s playing right now, not only offensively making skilled plays, but on the defensive side of the puck. He's played extremely well."

While he's doing the right things, Capuano would like to see the forward - and the rest of the team - put more shots on net. With an average of 14:07 TOI per game, Bailey has three shots and the rest of his stats are even across the board.
Victor Hedman
Drafted one behind John Tavares in 2009, Victor Hedman has become an important part of the Lightning's defense in the last two seasons.

To start his third professional season, Hedman has been paired with the Lightning's top defensemen, 12-year NHL veteran Eric Brewer.

The Lightning struggled last game, losing to the Florida Panthers, 7-4. Unfortunately for Hedman, he was on the ice for all five of the Panthers power play goals.

However, the 20-year-old blue-liner still found his way to the scoresheet, lighting the lamp with his first goal of the season. Look for the young d-man to have a better game Thursday night.
As the Islanders set out on their first road trip of the 2011-12 season, they’ll meet two non-divisional opponents for the second time in the first six games. Facing the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers again so soon is something Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano called a good test.

“Tampa (Bay) was a top team last year,” Capuano said. “They have a lot of skill. From our standpoint, we get to learn a little bit about our team nice and early... (Then we have) Florida with a bunch of new changes; they come at you in waves with four lines of speed. I like who we are playing and we get a good idea where our game is right now.”

With four days between games, they’re all getting a little restless - especially since many have been on Long Island since the start of Training Camp - and are looking to play this first couple of road games.

“It’ll be nice to get on the road, see some sunshine and get ready for some good hockey,” Islanders center John Tavares said. “We’ll have some team bonding, have a few meals together and hopefully have a successful road trip.”

Playing against the Lightning, the power play could play a major role in the Islanders success. In the second half of a home-and-home with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay let up five power play goals, falling 7-4 to extend their winless streak to five games.

“They had a rough night the other night, especially on the PK,” Tavares said. “I don’t know if they changed their system or their formation up, but we’ll see and we’ll adjust. We just have to make sure we come ready to work hard because they’re going to want to get back on track and try to sharpen up in some areas.”

Wile the Islanders make sure not to underestimate their opponent, they'll need to continue to put shots on net - on the power play or otherwise.
Season Series: It's the second straight Thursday night meeting between these Eastern Conference foes. Last week, the Islanders earned a 5-1 victory over the Lightning at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum behind a four-point first period by John Tavares.

Big Story:
The Lightning came within a victory of the Stanley Cup Final last season, but has struggled mightily out of the gate with only one win in six tries (1-3-2). New York, which used a four-goal first period to rout Tampa Bay last Thursday, has won three straight since dropping its home opener. The Isles are hitting the road for the first time this season for a two-game trip in the state of Florida, beginning with Thursday's clash at St. Pete Times Forum.

Team Scope:
After being blanked on opening night in a 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers, New York's offense has come alive, scoring 11 goals during the team's three-game win streak.

Tavares, who has reeled off back-to-back four-point games, has thrived alongside Matt Moulson and PA Parenteau on the Islanders' top line, which has combined for 19 points in the three victories.

"It's about puck management and clock management and [that line] understands those two things," coach Jack Capuano said. (Continue Reading)

John Tavares recorded four points in the first period and Al Montoya made 34 saves as the New York Islanders rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum. Tavares scored twice and assisted on goals from linemates Matt Moulson and PA Parenteau to give the Islanders a 4-1 lead after 20 minutes. Michael Grabner connected on a rebound from Kyle Okposo midway through the second period for the final goal of the night.
- Milan Jurcina - Groin (9/27 at CGY) - 4 games missed (Day-to-day)
- Mark Katic - Shoulder (9/24 vs. NJ) - 4 games missed (Out indefinitely)
- Rhett Rakhshani - Concussion (9/27 at CGY) - 4 games missed (Out indefinitely)
- Nino Niederreiter - Groin (9/30 at NJ) - 4 games missed (Day-to-day)
Power Play %: 16.7%
Penalty Kill %: 94.7%
Home Record: 3-1-0
Road Record: 0-0-0
Goals For: 11
Goals Against: 6
Power Play %: 13.0%
Penalty Kill %: 80.6%
Home Record: 0-1-0
Road Record: 1-2-2
Goals For: 18
Goals Against: 26
(Answer from 10/15: Arnie Brown. Brown was a member of the New York Rangers before joining the inaugural Islander squad in 1972. His goal on Nov. 4, 1972 against the Los Angeles Kings, in a 9-2 loss, marked the first time a player had scored for both New York clubs.)
Check out the Islanders depth chart.
Capuano is going with the same lineup as the Islanders win against the Rangers on Thursday. This means Trevor Gillies is in the lineup, Blake Comeau, Milan Jurcina and Rick DiPietro are the scratches.

Lightning (Expected) Lineups
Downie-Stamkos-St. Louis


Garon, Roloson

Islanders center John Tavares: "Dougie (Weight) has preached a lot about work ethic and our competitiveness to outwork the opposition. He said powerplays are just an advantage because they are one man short or two men short, so you have to earn it and make them pay for it. He talked about the difference it can make in games, it can win us games, win us points and be the difference of us making the playoffs or not making the playoffs.

Tavares continued, "That really hit home with a lot of us understanding that we had to take it to another level and bring more consistency. It showed the other night. It was a huge part of the game and our winning goal was on the power-play. So we just have to keep working. We can’t get comfortable or think it's going to keep coming easy. We have to keep working for it and understanding that teams are going to want to shut us down and try to get opportunities. If we are able to score, generate chances and momentum that would be a positive for us.”

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