NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning Game Two

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #2
WC New York Islanders at #2 Tampa Bay Lightning
Saturday, April 30, 2016, 3:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Amalie Arena – Tampa Bay, Florida
Opening Line: Lightning -155 / Islanders +135
Current Line: Lightning -160 / Islanders +140
Opening Total: over 5 -110 / under 5 -110
Current Total: over 5 -120 / under 5 +100

The lightning look to even up the series against the Islanders in game two.
The Lightning look to even up the series against the Islanders in game two.

The New York Islanders hadn’t won a playoff series since 1993 before upsetting the Florida Panthers in six games in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The Islanders picked up where they left off against the Panthers as they stole home ice advantage with a 5-3 win in game one against the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday in the conference semifinals. Game two is Saturday in Tampa Bay before the series shifts to Brooklyn for game three Tuesday.

New York is coached by Jack Capuano. The Islanders finished in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division with 100 points. The Islanders are 45-27-5-5 and the total is 34-40-8.

Tampa Bay is coached by Jon Cooper. The Lightning finished second in the Atlantic Division with 97 points behind the Panthers who had 103 points. The defending Eastern Conference champion dispatched the Detroit Red Wings in five games in the first round. The Lightning are 46-31-2-3 this season and the total is 34-39-9 this season.

In game one, Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead three minutes into the first period on a goal from Ondrej Palat. However, New York scored three straight goals including one from Travis Hamonic and two from Shane Prince. The Islanders added a power play goal in the second from John Tavares. Tampa Bay pulled to within 4-3 with just over two minutes left on goals from Nikita Kucherov and Valtteri Filppula. Cal Clutterbuck put the game away with an empty netter for the Islanders in the 5-3 win. New York was 1/4 on the power play and Tampa Bay was 0/2. The Lightning had 36 shots to 22 for the Islanders. New York won 32 faceoffs to 21 for Tampa Bay. New York goalie Trevor Greiss made 33 of 36 saves. Tampa goalie Ben Bishop was benched after giving up four goals on nine shots. Back-up Andrei Vasilevskiy made all eight saves he faced.

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New York is outscoring teams 2.86-2.43 in the playoffs. The Islanders average 35.6 shots per game and opponents average 38.7 per game. The Islanders are 6/25 (24%) on the power play in the playoffs and 15/17 (88.2%) on the penalty kill. New York hasn’t scored or allowed a short handed goal.

Greiss is 5-2 in the playoffs with a 1.94 Goals Against Average. He has made 254/270 saves (.941). He doesn’t have a shutout yet in the playoffs. Back-up Jaroslav Halak is out indefinitely with a groin injury. Jean-Francois Berube is the back-up behind Greiss.

Center John Tavares leads the playoffs in goals at 6 and points at 11. RW Kyle Okposo has 7 points with 6 assists. Centers Frans Nielson and Brock Nelson each have five points. Centers Ryan Strome and Alan Quine eac have four points. Four other players have three points. Defenseman Brian Strait is questionable with an upper body injury. Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Mikhail Grabovski and Ryon Pulock are all out.

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Tampa Bay is outscoring teams 2.50-2.17 this season. The Lightning average 29 shots per game and opponents average 30.3 per game. Tampa Bay is 4/25 (16%) on the power play and 27/29 (93.1%) on the penalty kill. The Lightning have not scored or allowed a short handed goal.

Bishop is 4-2 in the playoffs with a 2.20 GAA. He has made 161/173 (.931) saves with one shutout. Vasilevskiy is the back-up.

Nikita Kucherov has 9 points with 6 goals, including 3 on the power play. Tyler Johnson has 7 points with 5 assists. Alex Killorn has six points with 3 goals. Jonathan Drouin has five assists. Five other players have at least 2 points. Center Steven Stamkos is out until early June with an arm injury. Defenseman Matt Carle and Michael Blunden are both questionable. Wings J.T. Brown and Eric Condra, plus defensemen Anton Stralman and Mattias Ohlund are all out indefinitely.

New York is 6-1 in road games, 4-1 against Atlantic teams, overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 8-2 against teams with winning records, and 21-44 in Saturday games. The over is 3-0-1 both overall and in Tampa Bay in this series. New York has won five of the last six against Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay is 12-3 in second round games, 8-3 on two days rest, 20-8 after allowing five goals or more, 7-3 in Saturday games, 64-31 at home, and 0-4 against teams with winning road records. The home team is 6-2 in this series recently.

The loss of Stamkos hurts, but Tampa still has an explosive offense. Bishop will start again despite struggling in game one. I like the Lightning to win a close low scoring game to even the series.

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