The NHL Conference Finals continue with a great matchup on Sunday afternoon. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders will meet up as their series continues. These two teams have met in a great series so far, which should continue on September 13. This game will drop the puck at around 3:00 PM Eastern time on NBC.
Tampa Bay finished out the regular season with a record of 43-21-6. The Lightning went 2-1 in their round robin to secure the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay knocked out the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Boston Bruins to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Now the Lightning will look to take a stranglehold on this series with a win on Sunday.
The Islanders earned a record of 35-23-10 throughout the regular season. New York met up with the Florida Panthers in the Qualifying round, which they moved on from. The Islanders went on to meet up with the Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers to reach the Conference Finals. New York will look to tie up this series with a big win in Game 4.
These two teams have had impressive playoff runs to reach the Conference Finals, which should lead to a great series down the stretch. The Islanders will look to earn a big win in Game 4 as they look to avoid a terrible 3-1 series deficit. Tampa Bay is coming off a tough loss in Game 3 though and will look to bounce back to take control of this series.
Game 1 of this series was back on September 7. Jordan Eberle scored a goal and an assist, but it was not enough for the Islanders. Brayden Point scored two goals and added three assists, while Nikita Kucherov scored a goal and added four assists. Victor Hedman and Kevin Shattenkirk both had three points and Yanni Gourde scored twice. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 of 24 shots as the Lightning dominated with an 8-2 win.
The second game of this series was much more exciting on September 9. Matt Martin opened up the scoring for New York, but it still would not be enough. Victor Hedman scored late in the first period to tie it up. Nikita Kucherov broke the tie with eight seconds left as the Lightning took a 2-0 series lead. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 of 28 shots as Tampa Bay won 2-1.
Game 3 of this series was back on September 11. Mikhail Sergachev scored a goal and an assist for the Lightning, but this time Tampa Bay fell short. Josh Bailey finished with two assists for New York. Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau all scored a goal and added an assist as the Islanders earned a much needed win. Semyon Varlamov stopped 34 of 37 shots as New York won 5-3.
The Lightning have earned a 2-1 series lead, but New York has done a much better job of keeping up since their blowout loss in Game 1. Tampa Bay was without Brayden Point in Game 3, which hurt them. Point practiced on Saturday, which could be promising for Sunday’s tilt. Look for the Lightning to take back over early though as they try and recapture their dominance in this series.
Tampa Bay’s special team unit has been really solid throughout this playoff run. The Lightning have capitalized on 22.2 percent of their power play chances this postseason. Tampa Bay has also held off opponents on 83.1 percent of their power play attempts. The Lightning have scored on 4 of their 10 power play opportunities in this series.
The Islanders have struggled a bit on special teams throughout this postseason run. New York has posted a power play success rate of 15.7 percent in the playoffs. The Islanders also have a penalty kill percentage of 78.2 percent. New York has struggled heavily in this playoff series, going 1-11 on the power play against the Lightning.
The Lightning have the edge in this series on special teams. Tampa Bay has dominated on special teams against New York. The Islanders will look to avoid the penalty box in Game 4 as they look to tie this series. If the Lightning can frustrate New York though, it could lead to some power play time, which could give them a major edge in this one.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the nod in the crease for the Lightning in Game 4 of this series. Vasilevskiy had earned a record of 35-14-3 throughout the regular season. He posted a .917 save percentage and a 2.56 GAA in those games. In the playoffs, Vasilevskiy has put up an impressive save percentage of .929 and a GAA of 1.98 throughout sixteen games.
Semyon Varlamov will get the start in the net for New York on Sunday afternoon. Varlamov finished out the regular season with a record of 19-14-6. In those regular season games, he posted a .914 save percentage and a GAA of 2.62. Varlamov has earned a save percentage of .913 and a 2.26 GAA throughout this postseason run.
These two goalies have put up strong stats in the playoffs this season. Vasilevskiy has been the better goalie overall though. Vasilevskiy has put up an insane .929 save percentage through 16 games, which is a big reason why the Lightning are only two games from the Stanley Cup. He struggled a bit last game, so Tampa Bay will look for him to step up in this one.
These two teams have met in a great series so far, with the Islanders cutting Tampa Bay’s series lead in half last game. I expect the Lightning to bounce back in a big way in this one though. Tampa Bay could get Brayden Point back, which would be huge. I also believe their offense will come out strong after losing in Game 3.
BetOnline has Tampa Bay listed as a -144 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Lightning will win this game around 59 percent of the time. I agree with this line, but it does not have much value. Tampa Bay is also listed at +180 for -1 ½. I think the Lightning will come out fast after losing Game 3, which gives them a lot of value against a spread of 1 ½.