[7:30 PM] Islanders @ Lightning

Who will WIN this matchup?

New York Islanders (5-6-2)

@ Tampa Bay Lightning (7-5-1)


Starting Goalies:

Jaroslav Halak(NYI): Confirmed

Andrei Vasilevskiy(TB): Confirmed


Current odds:

New York Islanders: (+150)

Tampa Bay Lightning: (-170)


The New York Islanders have not been able to stop Tampa Bay right wing Nikita Kucherov of late and must find the answers quickly Thursday when they visit the Lightning to start a two-game Sunshine State trip. Kucherov scored four goals in five games during the Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series against the Islanders and recorded two goals and two assists in a 6-1 victory at New York on Nov. 1.

New York was 11th in the league in scoring through Tuesday’s games without much help from the power play, which is 4-for-37 overall and 1-for-14 in the last five contests. Tavares tops the team with 11 points — one better than Brock Nelson (leg), who reportedly is feeling better and expects to play after suffering an injury in Monday’s game. Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg has been a solid budget signing for the Islanders with four goals and eight points to go along with a plus-10 rating while forward Andrew Ladd has struggled (one goal, two points).

While forward Jonathan Drouin (concussion) does not have a time table for a return, center Valtteri Filppula (lower-body) practiced Wednesday after missing Monday’s contest. The Lightning posted 35 shots in the 3-1 loss at Florida on Monday as Kucherov and captain Steven Stamkos (seven goals, 14 points) were both kept off the scoresheet. Brayden Point was expected to be sent to the minors when Ryan Callahan returned from injury, but the rookie forward has been impressive with five points and 31 shots – tied for second on the team.

The Islanders reassigned F Mathew Barzal to Seattle of the Western Hockey League on Wednesday.

New York Gs Thomas Greiss and Jarolsav Halak both own .908 save percentages.

The Lightning have won five consecutive meetings in the series, including the final four of their playoff matchup last season.


StreakSmarts Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning

Confidence: 5/10

StreakSmarter Pick