NEW YORK ISLANDERS (29-15-5) VS TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (37-11-2) 7pm
So the break is over, the 1st game back especially the 1st period is usually tough to your legs under you. Tampa has already played after the break so have to be careful how we start tonight’s game. Islanders sent Toews and Michael Dal Colle to Bridgeport. MDC got to play in the AHL All Star game. Tires was sentnstrictly for conditioning to keep him in shape. Islanders are 3 points ahead of Cindy’s Penguins and the Caps with a game in hand. The islanders lost their last game before the break in a shootout with the Black Hawks. The Lightning after a phenomenal start are 6-4 in their last 10. This is a team who can score at will. Our D and our goalie will be tested tonight. My expectation is that Robin Lehrer will be between the pipes The Islanders reconvened on Thursday and Anders Lee said, We put ourselves in a position to succeed,” Lee said here.” We have nothing to hang your hat on right now, there’s a lot of hockey left and we know that. We think we haven’t reached our potential at all and neither have I, that’s a little of the exciting part.” I believe this team is poised to continue to push towards the playoffs and I believe they have a great chance to win this division. I know this is just the 1st game back after the break but a win tonight will send a message that team is not going any where. Get your cold ones ready for Must See TV 7pm @ The Barn! Go Isles!
SEASON SERIES: TIED 1-1-0
The home team has taken the first two games of the Islanders and Lightning's season series. Tampa beat the Islanders 4-2 on Nov. 8, while the Isles beat the Bolts 5-1 on Jan. 13 in Brooklyn. The Islanders scored three goals in the opening 4:43 of the team's most recent meeting with Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin all recording two points apiece.
- The Islanders return to action after eight days off for the All-Star break and league-mandated bye week. They play 33 games over 65 days to finish the season, including a back-to-back with Tampa Bay and LA.
- The Islanders lead the Metropolitan Division with 63 points, three points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.
- The Islanders enter Friday on a six-game point streak (5-0-1) and are 15-3-1 in their last 19 games.
- Robin Lehner leads the NHL in goals-against average (2.02) and save percentage (.931). Lehner is 11-1-1 (1.34, .953) in his last 13 decisions.
- The Islanders recalled Michael Dal Colle and Devon Toews from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Thursday. Dal Colle and Toews were loaned to Bridgeport on Jan. 23 for the Isles break. Dal Colle appeared in the AHL All-Star Classic on Jan. 27th and 28th.
- Thomas Hickey and Andrew Ladd are both skating on their own and are poised to re-join the Islanders for optional practices, according to GM Lou Lamoriello.
ISLANDERS GAMEDAY PROGRAM
- The Lightning enter Friday's action with a league-leading 76 points and 201 goals for.
- Tampa Bay is coming off a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. The Lightning have only lost consecutive games once this season.
- The Lightning are making their first visit to Long Island since a 3-1 loss on Dec. 20, 2014. Tampa Bay is 18-23-2 (plus one tie) in 44 games at Nassau Coliseum.
- Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL with 79 points (22G, 57A) this season.
- Brayden Point leads the Lightning with 30 goals and is second on the team with 65 points.
Islanders President and GM Lou Lamoriello is cautiously optimistic about his team’s chances this season, giving them credit for their play so far but wisely understanding they’ve still got a ways to go. He also states that he’d like to keep all of his pending UFAs beyond this season, and that a decision on a home arena come playoff time has not been made. [Newsday]