Some reshuffled forward lines and the comfort of home added a spark for the Tampa Bay Lightning last time out, and they hope to build off that when hosting the New York Islanders on Tuesday. The Lightning snapped out of a 2-4-0 mini-slump Saturday as they registered 43 shots during a 5-2 victory over San Jose in which each of their top three lines contributed at least one goal.
Nikita Kucherov moved onto the line with center Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat and tallied twice while Tyler Johnson was switched from third-line center to right wing with captain Steven Stamkos and Vladislav Namestnikov and scored a pair of goals. “You can always go back to the Stammer-Kuch-Vladdy line, but right now, I think it’s good we switch lines, and we got a little life,” Palat told reporters after notching two assists on Saturday. The Islanders will present a good test as they have earned at least one point in five of their last six games (4-1-1) after grinding out a 5-4 shootout victory at Florida on Monday. Anders Lee extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with his fifth tally in that span and captain John Tavares netted his team-leading 17th as New York won for the fifth time in its last six on the road.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, TVA, MSG Plus2 (New York), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (16-8-2): Josh Bailey notched an assist in Monday’s victory and leads the team with 31 points, including 13 in his last nine games, and Tavares is just one behind his linemate. Lee’s goal against Florida was his 100th in the NHL and defenseman Nick Leddy notched an assist to give him 12 points in his last 10 contests while Josh Ho-Sang helped set up a pair of tallies to give him six points in as many games. Thomas Greiss sat out Monday’s win and will likely get the start after making 36 saves against Tampa Bay in mid-November to improve to 4-2-0 lifetime versus the Lightning.
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (18-6-2): Johnson’s two tallies snapped a 15-game goal-scoring drought during which he posted a minus-5 rating and registered 24 shots. “That’s how hockey goes,” Johnson told reporters. “Sometimes you get the chances and the bounces don’t go your way, and other times you kind of get those garbage goals that find a way to go in. Lucky for me, I was able to find a way to break through.” Yanni Gourde - who previously had played right wing on a line with Point and Palat - moved to center on Saturday between Alex Killorn and Cory Conacher, who scored off assists from his two linemates in the third period.
1. The Islanders posted a 5-3 road victory on Nov. 18 to snap a seven-game losing streak - including playoffs - against the Lightning.
2. Tampa Bay C Cedric Paquette is eligible to return Tuesday after serving a one-game suspension for an illegal hit.
3. New York failed to record a power-play goal Monday for just the second time in its last nine contests.
PREDICTION: Lightning 4, Islanders 2