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New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick & Prediction SEP 15TH 2020

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The task is straightforward for the New York Islanders: Win or go home.

With the Tampa Bay Lightning leading 3-1 in the Eastern Conference finals, the Islanders are in must-win territory when the teams clash Tuesday night in Edmonton.

If New York loses, its Stanley Cup playoff run will be done and dusted.

Whatever the outcome in the series, though, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said he doesn't expect his team to go down without a fight.

"We've got one life left," Trotz said. "This group has invested too much to not give their best effort on Tuesday."

That said, the Islanders have been outclassed by the Lightning, who appear able to find another gear whenever they need it. Case in point being Sunday's game. New York opened the scoring midway through the second period, but the Lightning responded with two goals within the next 27 seconds to take the lead and went on to claim a 4-1 victory.

Tampa Bay's other victories this series were an 8-2 blowout in the opener and a last-minute buzzer-beater for a 2-1 win in Game 2.

"We're here now with a chance, our backs are against the wall and we just have to go out there and play and give everything we have," Islanders forward Brock Nelson said. "It's going to take a little more from everybody, and we have the group in here that believes in each other to go out there and get the job done. We just have to start with one."

The Lightning will look to ride that momentum to their third Stanley Cup Final appearance. They won it all in 2004 and lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 finals.

Mustering a quick-strike comeback shows what this team is capable of achieving.

"That's the beauty of our team this year," said Blake Coleman, whose goal 15 seconds after New York opened the scoring cued the Sunday comeback. "You give up that goal, I don't think there's many guys saying, 'Oh, (bleep).' I think we're confident we can come back in games, we're confident we can hold leads. We've played well, and when you play well and you're taking over games, it gives you confidence in playing in any situation."

Tampa Bay's two goals 12 seconds apart set a franchise record for quickest pair in the playoffs. The Lightning had established the mark of 15 seconds this year during their second-round series with the Boston Bruins.

The Lightning head into Game 5 with uncertainty regarding the status of star forward Brayden Point, who didn't play in the final half of the third period on Sunday.

Point, who leads the Lightning with nine goals and is tied for the league lead with 25 points, was in discomfort after going to the boards with New York's Adam Pelech. Point was also injured in Game 2 and missed the third game of the series.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper wouldn't provide any update on Point, but there's no doubt something is bothering the forward. The coach acknowledged that the club is better with Point in the lineup, even if Point isn't at 100 percent.

"I'd go as far as to say he's the most dangerous guy in the playoffs this year," Coleman said. "He's a special talent. He tilts the ice every time he's out there. Any time you have a guy like that in your lineup, you have a better chance of winning hockey games. Huge to have a guy like that back, and I think it really elevated the rest of our (players) as well."

--Field Level Media

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New York Islanders

Tampa Bay Lightning

alignments not yet available

New York Islanders

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Match Start
  • Period 1
  • MIN 5
    • penalty
    • penalty: Cal Clutterbuck
  • MIN 14
    • penalty
    • penalty: Nikita Kucherov
  • MIN 15
    • GOAL
    • scorer: Ryan Pulock
    • assist: Nick Leddy
    • assist: Mathew Barzal
  • Period 2
  • MIN 4
    • GOAL
    • scorer: Victor Hedman
    • assist: Blake Coleman
    • assist: Luke Schenn
  • MIN 14
    • penalty
    • penalty: Cedric Paquette
  • Period 3
  • MIN 0
    • penalty
    • penalty: Blake Coleman
  • MIN 18
    • penalty
    • penalty: Anthony Beauvillier
  • Period 5
  • MIN 12
    • GOAL
    • scorer: Jordan Eberle
    • assist: Anders Lee
  • Match End

GAMES

Last 10

W 50% L 50%
5 5
  • @Washington L 2 - 3
  • @New Jersey L 0 - 2
  • New Jersey W 1 - 4
  • Boston W 0 - 1
  • @NY Rangers L 0 - 5
  • @NY Rangers W 4 - 0
  • Tampa Bay L 2 - 1
  • @Tampa Bay W 2 - 1
  • Tampa Bay L 4 - 1
  • Tampa Bay W 3 - 5
W 78% L 22%
7 2
  • @Columbus L 2 - 5
  • @Columbus W 3 - 2
  • Dallas D 0 - 0
  • Chicago W 2 - 5
  • Chicago W 1 - 5
  • @Dallas W 2 - 0
  • Dallas L 3 - 2
  • @Dallas W 5 - 4
  • @Dallas W 5 - 2
  • Dallas W 2 - 3

Next Games

  • @Washington(01-26-21) L 2 - 3
  • @Philadelphia(09-05-20) W 4 - 0
  • @Philadelphia(09-05-20) W 4 - 0
  • Buffalo(12-14-19) W 2 - 3
  • @Carolina(01-05-20) W 3 - 1
  • Nashville(10-26-19) L 3 - 2
  • Nashville(10-26-19) L 3 - 2
  • Detroit(12-29-19) W 1 - 2

Last Meetings

  • Lightning @ Islanders 2-1
  • Islanders @ Lightning 2-1
  • Lightning @ Islanders 4-1
  • Lightning @ Islanders 3-5
  • Islanders @ Lightning 1-2
  • Islanders @ Lightning 2-8
  • Islanders @ Lightning 1-3
  • Islanders @ Lightning 5-1
  • Lightning @ Islanders 2-5
  • Lightning @ Islanders 1-0

Eastern Conference

AtlanticWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Toronto Maple Leafs62012 3-0-13-0-12622L16-0-2
Montreal Canadiens4019 0-0-04-0-02918L14-0-0
Boston Bruins4119 3-0-01-0-11812L24-0-1
Florida Panthers3006 2-0-01-0-0149W33-0-0
Tampa Bay Lightning3106 2-0-01-0-11510L13-0-1
Buffalo Sabres3306 1-0-22-0-12121L23-0-3
Detroit Red Wings2415 2-0-20-0-21322L32-0-4
Ottawa Senators1413 1-0-20-0-21527L51-0-4

Western Conference

CentralWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Winnipeg Jets52010 3-0-12-0-12821L15-0-2
St. Louis Blues4208 2-0-12-0-12227L14-0-2
Minnesota Wild4308 1-0-23-0-11917L24-0-3
Colorado Avalanche4308 2-0-12-0-22518L14-0-3
Dallas Stars3006 3-0-00-0-0123W33-0-0
Nashville Predators3306 3-0-10-0-21519L33-0-3
Chicago Blackhawks2326 2-0-00-0-32126L12-0-3

Eastern Conference

MetropolitanWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Washington Capitals4019 2-0-02-0-02523L14-0-0
Philadelphia Flyers4208 3-0-11-0-12525L24-0-2
Pittsburgh Penguins4219 4-0-00-0-22326L14-0-2
New Jersey Devils3206 2-0-11-0-11416L13-0-2
New York Islanders3306 2-0-01-0-31111L23-0-3
Carolina Hurricanes2104 0-0-02-0-196L12-0-1
Columbus Blue Jackets2226 1-0-01-0-21822L12-0-2
New York Rangers1402 1-0-20-0-21518L41-0-4

Western Conference

PacificWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Vegas Golden Knights51010 4-0-01-0-12317L15-0-1
Los Angeles Kings3228 1-0-12-0-12221L13-0-2
Anaheim Ducks3228 2-0-11-0-11214L23-0-2
San Jose Sharks3406 0-0-03-0-42228L13-0-4
Vancouver Canucks3506 2-0-21-0-32734L23-0-5
Edmonton Oilers3506 1-0-32-0-22329L13-0-5
Calgary Flames2215 2-0-20-0-01613L22-0-2
Arizona Coyotes2404 2-0-20-0-21720L22-0-4

Last Injuries

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Erik Cernak

    Undisclosed
    Ques Tues | questionable

    Cernak exited the previous game with an unknown injury, and it has yet to be established if he will lace up against the Hurricanes on Tuesday.

  • Mitchell Stephens

    Undisclosed
    Ques Tues | questionable

    Stephens was lifted from the last contest due to an unspecified injury, and it is undetermined if he will be available for Tuesday's matchup against the Hurricanes.

  • Blake Coleman

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Coleman is on the injured reserve list while going through the COVID-19 protocol, and he will miss an undetermined length of time.

  • Curtis McElhinney

    Personal
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    McElhinney is going through the league's COVID-19 protocols, and will be out for an unknown length of time.

New York Islanders

  • Anthony Beauvillier

    Lower Body
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Beauvillier is on the injured reserve list due to a lower-body injury, and it is unknown when he will return to to the fold.

  • Josh Bailey

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Bailey has been placed on the NHL's COVID protocol list, and there is no timetable for return.

  • Johnny Boychuk

    Eye
    out for season | I-R

    Boychuk has been placed on the long-term injured reserve list with optic nerve damage to his eye, and he will miss the 2020-2021 season.

  • Semyon Varlamov

    Undisclosed
    Ques Mon | questionable

    Varlamov missed the last game after taking a puck to the neck, and it is unknown if he will face the Bruins on Monday.

  • Sebastian Aho

    Undisclosed
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Aho has been assigned to the injured reserve list due to an injury to an unlisted injury, and it is unknown how long he will be debilitated.

  • Michael Dal Colle

    Undisclosed
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Dal Colle has been designated for the injured reserve list with an unspecified injury, and there is no timetable for recovery.

New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Jordan Eberle was the overtime hero for the New York Islanders in a 2-1 double-overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night in Edmonton that kept their Stanley Cup playoff hopes alive.

Tampa Bay leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals 3-2, with a berth in the Stanley Cup Final against the Dallas Stars up for grabs. Game 6 will be Thursday in Edmonton, with Game 7, if necessary, scheduled for Saturday.

After the Islanders killed a double minor handed Anthony Beauvillier for high sticking with 1:23 remaining in regulation, they held strong until they could get a legitimate scoring chance. It came when Anders Lee fed Eberle on a two-on-one rush and Eberle buried the one-timer at 12:30 of the second OT.

New York goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves in a stellar outing from start to finish, especially early in overtime.

On a night when the shot counter and blocked-shot counter were in a neck-and-neck battle, both teams concentrated on their defensive game.

The Lightning controlled the bulk of the play off the start, but it was the Islanders who opened the scoring when Ryan Pulock produced a power-play goal. Pulock set up at the left point and unloaded a bullet for his team's second man-advantage marker of the series at the 15:41 mark of the opening period.

Victor Hedman replied four minutes into the second period to tie the score. Taking advantage of a long rebound, Hedman stepped into a slap shot from the high slot and found the short-side target. Hedman is the first defenseman to score eight goals in a single postseason since Brian Leetch had 11 in 1994 and only the seventh different blueliner in NHL history to reach that mark.

For the second game of the series, Tampa Bay was without Brayden Point. The team's top scorer didn't play in the final half of the third period in Sunday's Game 4 victory after going to the boards with New York's Adam Pelech. Point was also injured in Game 2 and missed the third game of the series. In his place was Carter Verhaeghe.

The Islanders welcomed back veteran defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who last played in their first playoff game on Aug. 1. Boychuk didn't take long to make his mark, either, courageously blocking Nikita Kucherov's shot with his body and spending a few moments in obvious pain on the bench. He later broke a skate blade while blocking another shot and needed to be pushed to the bench.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves in the loss.

--Field Level Media