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Lightning to face Islanders in Stanley Cup Semifinals

Two teams set to meet in the third round for the second-straight postseason

by Bryan Burns @BBurnsNHL /

Once again, the Tampa Bay Lightning will have to get through the New York Islanders to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

The Lightning and Islanders will meet in the Stanley Cup Semifinals after New York defeated Boston in Game 6 Wednesday 6-2 to take the Second Round series 4-2.

The Bolts beat Carolina 4-1 in the Second Round to reach the Conference Final/Semifinal round for the fifth time in the last seven seasons, the sixth time in the 11 seasons under Jeff Vinik's ownership and the seventh time total.

Last season, the Lightning defeated the Islanders in six games in the Eastern Conference Final to advance to the Cup Final, where they handled the Dallas Stars in six games to lift the Stanley Cup for the second time in franchise history.

The Lightning won the opening two games of last season's Conference Final by a combined 10-3 before the Islanders picked up their first victory in Game 3 by a 5-3 count. The Bolts won 4-1 in Game 4 to grab a 3-1 series lead and nearly closed out the series in five games before Jordan Eberle scored a double overtime game-winner to give the Isles a 2-1 win in Game 5 and keep the series alive.

The Lightning closed out the Conference Final in Game 6, Anthony Cirelli scoring the series-clinching goal at 13:18 of overtime.

Tampa Bay and New York have met three times previously in the playoffs, including last season's Conference Final, and has never lost to the Islanders. The Lightning defeated the Islanders in five games in a 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal on their way to the franchise's first Stanley Cup. The Bolts beat the Isles 4-1 in a 2016 Eastern Conference Semifinal.

Tampa Bay will have home-ice advantage for the Semifinal Round.

The schedule for the Lightning-Islanders series has yet to be announced.

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