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Tavares, Islanders ready for Game 2 vs. Lightning

New York attempts to take 2-0 lead in playoff series for first time since 1983

by Corey Long / Correspondent


Eastern Conference Second Round

New York leads best-of-7 series 1-0

TV: 3 p.m.; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports

The New York Islanders will attempt to take their first 2-0 lead in a series since the 1983 Stanley Cup Final when they play the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

John Tavares had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win in Game 1 and said the Islanders have to be even more aggressive Saturday to deal with a desperate Lightning team.

"We are expecting their best and we want to raise our game," Tavares said. "We want to get to another level and build off of the first win."

Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin said Game 2 is almost a must win, and forward Alex Killorn said they do not want to trail the series 2-0 heading on the road.

"In the playoffs, I think the next game is always a must win," Killorn said. "You just look forward to the next game and you have to win, especially at home when you're down one game."

Tampa Bay is 2-5 in Game 1 under coach Jon Cooper. The Lightning aren't in an unfamiliar situation, but as Cooper said, the margin of error is significantly less from this point forward.

"We have lost Game 1 in series, both home and the road, and we've come back," Cooper said. "You're just making it harder on yourselves. Plus, it makes Game 2 paramount. Let's draw from our experiences in the past, but we're going to have to play a little better than we did [Wednesday]."

Lightning team scope: Cooper said forward Erik Condra (upper body), forward Mike Blunden (upper body) and defenseman Matthew Carle (undisclosed) are day-to-day, and defenseman Anton Stralman is "not near ready yet." Tampa Bay had some players from Syracuse of the American Hockey League practicing Friday, including forwards Joel Vermin and Tye McGinn, and defensemen Luke Witkowski and Slater Koekkoek. Cooper said it's likely he'll choose his lineup from the players who were on the ice Friday but did not rule out Condra or Carle.

Islanders team scope: Defenseman Ryan Pulock appears unlikely to play in Game 2, coach Jack Capuano said. "He had a better day," Capuano said. "But I don't know if he's going to be ready." Tavares' 11 points (six goals, five assists) lead the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Capuano said he was day-to-day after taking a puck to the face midway through the third period in Game 1. The line of Ryan Strome, Shane Prince and Brock Nelson combined to score six points in Game 1.

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