The New York Islanders head to sunny Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in a matchup of first place teams. The Islanders were projected to finish close to last in the division, but thus far they’ve exceeded expectations and are 6-2-2 in their last ten. They’re coming off of a disappointing loss that saw them go into turtle mode which allowed the Montreal Canadiens to come back from a three to one deficit and win four to three in the shootout.
The Lightning are not anywhere near as surprising. Even with they who shall not be named’s addition of he who shall not be named, analytics people still had the Lightning finishing ahead of them and in first place. They’ve not disappointed and have 23 points in 15 games and are 7-2-1 in their last ten with a three game winning streak.
The Lighting’s Achilles heel has been in net where Andrei Vasilevskiy has been slightly subpar and Louis Domingue has been absolutely horrid. That said, Vasilevskiy has been serviceable and the Lightning are a top notch team otherwise. The Islanders will need to do a better job than they did on Monday against the Canadiens if they want to come away with a victory.
Robin Lehner will take Thomas Greiss’ spot in net tonight. Greiss has been stellar so far this year, but so has Lehner. This is Lehner’s first start since his back injury last week however and it remains to be seen whether it will effect his performance.
It sounds like there will be at least one other lineup change tonight as per Barry Trotz, but it hasn’t been announced yet. Jordan Eberle is definitely in after a maintenance day yesterday. Puck drop is at 7:30 P.M. E.S.T.