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Tonight presents a great test for the Lightning. The team has shown consistently that it can play well at home (11-3-1), and the Islanders enter the game on a five-game slide after being shut out in Sunrise last night. Also, the Lightning have won three consecutive games against strong competition to pull back to .500 at 13-13-2 after a six-game losing streak.
But do they have the killer instinct? Can the Bolts play at a high level against a struggling opponent and get the job done?
If the Lightning’s big guns are firing tonight, the Islanders will have trouble finding an answer. New York’s leading scorer, Mike Comrie, has less than half as many points (21) than league leader Vinny Lecavalier (44). The Isles enter as the league’s lowest scoring team with 60 goals in 27 games, but goaltender Rick DiPietro has been the team’s equalizer. DiPietro, who shut the Lightning out 4-0 on November 1, is 12-10-2 with a .911 save percentage and has the ability to steal a game on any given night. The Lightning will need to get one past DiPietro (assuming he’ll play) in the first period tonight to get things rolling.
The Lightning aren’t expected to make any lineup changes tonight, with Johan Holmqvist in net and Craig MacDonald out as a healthy scratch.