Islanders Gameday: No really, Bolts, I insist

After you.

>>No no, after YOU!

No really, your the guest. I insist: after you.

>>But you're missing Streit and Okposo -- you need this.

Ah, but you're without Lecavalier -- that's like losing Michael Jordan! Please, the points are all yours. In regulation time, if you would.

Tampa Bay Lightning
@ New York Islanders

Saturday, April 4, 2009, 7 p.m. EDT
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum | MSG+
Tampa Bay Lightning blog: Raw Charge

Okay, okay. The tanks aren't out. But if someone should leave the barn door open and all those little tankies escape in the night, no one is going to mind:

"If [Streit and Okposo] are healthy, yeah, I'm sure they would want to get back," Scott Gordon said. "But we certainly don't want to jeopardize them with any further injury or any more damage to what they presently have."

Deliberately violating The Official 1984 Pittsburgh Penguins Tanking Handbook, the Lightning "earned" an overtime point last night -- Zach Parise with the OT winner, of course -- to go seven points up on the Isles in the standings. But in truth, they stopped being a concern to the Isles' lottery fortunes a couple of weeks ago.

Of greater concern: If the Lightning should roll over on the second of back-to-back nights up in the NY area, the two standings points could put the Islanders an uncomfortable three points behind the Avalanche with four left to play. But the Islanders man-game injury total is up to 547. The Avs are free-falling, but they're due one of those surprising youth-infused boosts one of these games here. I'm still not worried.

Choose Your Spoiler

But suppose, per chance, one Islander should come out of nowhere and go on a stunning scoring tear that rocketed the Islanders out of last place, who would you suspect that to be?

How about this guy:

"These are big games for us. No one is taking this lightly because this is a young group, and we're all trying to prove ourselves and put our personal mark on this team."

Who's talking that crazy talk? Yep: Jeff Tambellini, the prodigal, lovable evergreen prospect who teases with that brilliant shot but confounds with the awkward transition from AHL scorer to NHL utility man with hands.

The Lightning owners who torpedoed that franchise with sign-and-trade-Boyle brilliance are always rumored to be pondering a trade of the now-injured Vincenzo Lecavalier. So tonight, it would only be polite of the Islanders to make the Bolts feel like the team could do just fine without their Franchise. (Hey, look how well the Isles have fared without DiPietro!)

Previous Meetings

Tanks or no, enjoy the game. I won't blame you if you root for a home win on a Saturday night. And I won't blame you if you hope Frans Nielsen gets a hat trick and the refs screw us into a regulation loss. As always, a game-time thread will be up later, for your snarky/musing/reading pleasure.

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