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Season Series: The clubs met exactly a week ago in the first of four meetings on the year, in which the Islanders earned a 5-1 victory. The Lightning look to avenge the defeat in the second overall matchup, which is the first of two to be played at the St. Pete Times Forum this season.
The Big Story: Tampa Bay comes in on a season-high five game losing streak, which is the team’s longest under head coach Guy Boucher. Last season, the maximum number of consecutive games without a win for the Bolts stopped at four. The Islanders, meanwhile, have won three straight heading into the matchup with the Lightning and have won three of their first four games to start the season.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay plays in the second match during the team’s opening three-game home stand. The Bolts wrap up the stretch in front of the home fans on Saturday night against Buffalo. A sellout crowd packed the St. Pete Times Forum on Monday night to witness the highly-anticipated debut of the newly-renovated arena, which unfortunately was accompanied by a 7-4 loss to the in-state rival Panthers. Despite the final score, the Lightning kept it close for the majority of the game and found themselves down just one goal halfway through the final period. That was masked, however, by the Bolts’ inability to stay out of the penalty box and then kill off the opposing chances with the man advantage. Five of Florida’s goals came on the power play and an additional tally also came while shorthanded. Despite Tampa Bay’s struggles on defense and in net, though, the Lightning took solace in a solid offensive performance that saw Teddy Purcell, Vincent Lecavalier, Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos each score goals. Marc-Andre Bergeron also extended his point streak to four games, the team’s longest of the season, with three assists in the contest.
ISLANDERS – New York opens up a two-game road swing through Florida with the opening matchup of the trip coming against the Lightning. The Islanders will also meet up with the Panthers down in Sunrise before returning home on Tuesday. New York has gotten off to a fast start to open the new season, winning three of its first four games. Unlike the Lightning, who played their last game on Monday, the Islanders have had five days off since their last outing. The team’s most recent win came Saturday in a 4-2 victory over the cross-town rival Rangers, in which John Tavares’ notched three goals and four points. While Tavares has led the Islanders offensively this season with eight points through four games, New York has also received stellar goaltending from both Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov, who haven’t allowed more than two goals per game in each of their respective individual starts on the year.
Who’s Hot: Tampa Bay defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron comes in riding a team season-high four-game point streak with seven points in that span. New York’s John Tavares is coming off consecutive games with four points in each, including one which saw the Islanders center record a hat trick on Saturday against the Rangers.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund (knee, placed on Injured Reserve). ISLANDERS – Nino Niederreiter (groin) and Milan Jurcina (groin).
Notable Quotable: “The thing we don’t want to do is panic here. The reality is we have to get better and we have to get some chemistry now and we just have not had things together. Right now it’s not that we are doing everything bad, we just are having trouble getting it all together in the same game.” – Lightning head coach Guy Boucher, on his team’s recent struggles to star the season
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