Lightning (8-7-2, 18 Points) at Islanders (4-10-3, 11 Points)
Last 10: Tampa Bay (3-6-1); New York (0-9-1)
Season Series: This is the second of four meetings this season. Tampa Bay and New York first met at the St. Pete Times Forum on Oct. 21 with the Islanders earning a win on a controversial goal by Matt Moulson in overtime. The two teams will play twice more, splitting the pair of games in each home arena.
The Big Story: Both teams are desperately seeking wins. Tampa Bay has dropped six of the previous seven and come into Long Island with five consecutive losses on the road, although it did gain one point in an overtime loss to Anaheim on Nov. 3. The Islanders, meanwhile, have lost 10 in a row and have not won a game since the last meeting against the Lightning on Oct. 21. Two of the previous three former No. 1 overall draft picks meet again for the second time tonight, as the NHL’s leading-scorer Steven Stamkos will face off against New York's John Tavares.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay plays in Long Island tonight to kick off a three-game road trip, and also the first game of a back-to-back set. Tonight’s game in Uniondale marks the eighth time out of the team’s last 10 games in which it plays on the road. Despite plenty of shots and chances, pucks have not been going into the net lately for the Bolts, who have scored just 13 goals in their last seven games. Nonetheless, Head Coach Guy Boucher has repeatedly praised his team for the hard-fought effort every night and is confident the stretch of bad luck will turn around. Tampa Bay had its most recent episode of bad bounces in its previous game on Sunday against Minnesota, falling 4-1 in a game that saw two of the Wild’s goals take strange bounces off the boards and players’ skates before going in. Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis each found the score sheet and extended their point streaks to five games.
ISLANDERS – Not much has gone right lately for New York, who plays at home tonight after returning from a three-game road trip out west. The Islanders have dropped 10 straight and have totaled just 15 goals during that span, including scoring just five goals in their last four games. Saturday’s loss to the Kings marked the team’s seventh consecutive loss on the road, as New York received a single goal from Rob Schremp. Against the Lightning tonight, interim head coach Jack Capuano will make his debut after replacing Scott Gordon earlier in the week.
Who’s Hot: Lightning teammates Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis each come in riding five-game point streaks, with eight and six points respectively. John Tavares and PA Parenteau each have a point in their last three contests for New York.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Simon Gagne (neck, Injured Reserve) and Vincent Lecavalier (hand, Injured Reserve). ISLANDERS – Jack Hillen (illness, day-to-day), Milan Jurcina (hamstring, out 2-4 weeks), Andrew MacDonald (hand, out 4-6 weeks), Mark Streit (shoulder, out indefinitely) and Kyle Okposo (shoulder, out indefinitely).
Quotable: “It's a tough run right now. It's tough on everybody. If you're not working, you don't deserve anything. That's one thing. But right now, our guys are going to war, they're paying the price and it's just not going in.” – Head Coach Guy Boucher, on the team’s recent tough stretch in which they are struggling to score goals
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