With the Islanders finishing their first-round series with two double-overtime wins just three days before the next round begins (and hours before the full first round concludes in Anaheim), tonight willl either be "too quick of a turnaround" or "a carryover of intensity against a rusty opponent."
You know how that goes.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were the first team to finish their first round series, not that it helped speed two key players back to health. Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman are still out injured, though Stralman might return from his broken leg some time later in the series. He broke his leg in a tangle with Anders Lee, who is also missing this series due to a leg break (courtesy: Johnny Boychuk rocket).
The Islanders were predictably mum on lineup decisions, but turns out Josh Bailey did not make the trip. So it's a good guess that Ryan Strome would return to the lineup after being scratched for the two double-OT victories to close out the Panthers.
How to Watch: Islanders at Lightning Game 1
Alas, local TV broadcasts cease after round one. All games are exclusively on national rights holders from here on out. MSG+ will still do on-site post-game coverage, however.
7 p.m. EDT | NBC Sports, CBC, TVA
NBC Live stream
Lightning blog: Raw Charge
The series should be close. They only played three times during the regular season -- each team had a blowout win, while the Islanders also had a one-goal comeback 3-2 win. Lightning coach Jon Cooper kind of summed it up:
"The last time they came down here, they'd been on the road for a while, it was one of those nights where everything we were shooting was going in," Cooper said. "And when we went up there everything they shot went in. I don't know. I don't put a whole lot of stock into what we did in the regular season. I put a lot of stock into what they did against Florida."
What we know for sure is Thomas Greiss and Ben Bishop will be the goaltenders. Beyond that, both teams are mum but are likely to stick with what concluded the last round, minus an injury or two:
Alan Quine - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Nikolay Kulemin - Frans Nielsen - Brock Nelson
Ryan Strome* - Shane Prince - Steve Bernier
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy - Travis Hamonic
Calvin de Haan - Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey - Marek Zidlicky
*expected to take Bailey's place
**assuming Ryan Pulock is still out
Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Drouin
Cedric Paquette - Vladislav Namestnikov - Ryan Callahan
Brian Boyle - Mike Blunden* - Erik Condra
Victor Hedman- Matthew Carle
Jason Garrison- Andrej Sustr
Braydon Coburn - Nikita Nesterov