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Lightning one point from playoff berth

Tampa Bay win vs. New York would vault them past Florida for Atlantic lead; Islanders could take third in Metropolitan

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

LIGHTNING (45-28-5) at ISLANDERS (42-26-9)

TV: 7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-F, NHLN

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they get at least one point against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Monday.

How far they advance without forward Steven Stamkos and defenseman Anton Stralman will be the ultimate challenge.

Stamkos had surgery Monday to remove a blood clot near his right collarbone. The Lightning released a statement saying the surgery was successful and that Stamkos will be re-evaluated in two weeks. He is projected to miss 1-3 months.

The Lightning trail the Florida Panthers by two points for first place in the Atlantic Division but can move into first place with a victory and a regulation loss by the Panthers on Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, TSN4, NHL.TV). The Lightning have the tiebreaker edge with five more regulation/overtime wins (ROW) than the Panthers.

The Lightning beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 on Saturday in their first game without Stamkos. Coach Jon Cooper said he believed the players responded well to adversity.

"It was one of our best structured games of the year," Cooper said. "The guys played really hard and I thought they earned that victory. Is that going to continue? I don't know. Is it just the shock of everything that happened?

"But if we can get that kind of effort, where everybody was chipping in and you're not in those situations where you're leaning on your big guy to get you the big goal, now somebody else has to come up with it. It was [forward Brian] Boyle who happened to come up with it at a big time on the power play. Who knows who it's going to be tonight?"

Stralman is out indefinitely after fracturing his left fibula against the Islanders on March 25. Matthew Carle replaced Stralman as Victor Hedman's defense partner during the win Saturday.  

"We're going to need everyone all the way in here now," Hedman said. "For us to respond the way we did against the Devils was a very good sign of what this team is all about. We knew about [Stamkos] before that game and it was obviously a big way to respond. Fun to see the team rally around it."

The Islanders could move past the New York Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division with a victory and a Rangers loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. ET; MSG, FS-O, NHL.TV). The teams would have 95 points but the Islanders have played one fewer game.

New York is 4-5-1 in its past 10 games and coming off a 5-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday that captain John Tavares said was embarrassing.

Coach Jack Capuano on Monday said he needed to see more from forwards Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey.

"We need Strome to be better," Capuano said. "We need Brock to be better. We need Bailey to be better. We need guys to be better if we're going to have any chance at all. They see it. It's black and white. The video doesn't lie. It doesn't come down to Xs and Os. It doesn't come down to systems. It comes down to how hard you want to compete.

"We've struggled with a few guys, for sure, about their compete level and their work ethic, and it has to be better. There's no doubt that those guys have to figure it out at some point. You have to compete at a high level and it's about accountability. It's starts from the coaches, and I've said this: If you want to win games it's about team and it's about accountability amongst the guys in the room. You're only letting your teammate down if you're not going to compete at a high level. The guys I mentioned earlier need to pick their [stuff] up and start playing."

Nelson's 25 goals are second on the Islanders but he has no points in three straight games. Bailey has 12 goals in 76 games but two in his past 19 games. Strome has two goals since Feb. 15.

"I'd like to think I go every game and try to skate and work and backcheck hard," Bailey said. "Those are easy things to go out and do. You don't have to think about those. You just go out and work. When things aren't going great you rely on those things that kind of get you out of whatever situation you may be in."

Here are the projected lineups:


Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Valtteri Filppula - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Alex Killorn - Vladislav Namestnikov - J.T. Brown

Mike Blunden - Brian Boyle - Erik Condra

Victor Hedman - Matthew Carle

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn - Nikita Nesterov

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Injured: Steven Stamkos (blood clot), Anton Stralman (fractured fibula)

Scratched: Jonathan Marchessault, Slater Koekkoek


Josh Bailey - John Tavares - Ryan Strome

Nikolay Kulemin - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo

Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Shane Prince

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan - Ryan Pulock

Thomas Hickey - Marek Zidlicky

Thomas Greiss

Christopher Gibson

Injured: Jaroslav Halak (lower body), Mikhail Grabovski (upper body), Travis Hamonic (lower body), Adam Pelech (upper body), Jean-Francois Berube (lower body)

Scratched: Eric Boulton, Steve Bernier, Brian Strait

Status report: Berube is day-to-day so Gibson was recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis. … Cizikas took a maintenance day Sunday but will play. … Pulock will play for Strait after sitting the past four games as a healthy scratch. … Pelech was loaned to Bridgeport for a conditioning stint.

Who's hot: Bishop has won five of his past six games (5-1-0). … Hedman has three goals, six assists and a plus-9 rating in his past eight games. … Palat has three goals and seven assists in his past seven games. … Tavares has three goals and two assists in his past six games. … The Islanders are 9-2-1 at home since the NHL All-Star break.

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