The Islanders and Lightning both enter the second round of the playoffs with momentum. The Isles are looking to build on their first playoff series win in 23 years, while Tampa Bay has its heart set on a second straight Stanley Cup appearance after dispatching Detroit in five games.
In three regular season meetings this year, the Islanders got the better of Tampa Bay, going 2-1-0. Here’s how they did it:
11/28/15 – ISLANDERS 3, LIGHTNING 2
The Islanders had struggled to score power plays goals on the road to start the season but had no trouble doing so against the Lightning in their first meeting of the year. Trailing 2-0 early in the second period, Josh Bailey scored on a power play to cut the deficit in half, then Cal Clutterbuck tied the score late in the period with an unassisted goal. Captain John Tavares provided the heroics by scoring the game-winning goal on the power play with 3:36 remaining in regulation to lift New York over Tampa.
3/25/16 – LIGHTNING 7, ISLANDERS 4
The Lightning managed to knock off the Isles in an action-packed 11-goal affair, but it came with a hefty price as Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman suffered a major injury by fracturing his left fibula after getting checked by Anders Lee. Seven different players scored for the Bolts — including the team’s Top-3 points leaders: Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman — but no one had a bigger night than defenseman Jason Garrison, who recorded a goal and two assists in the game. This turned out to be Garrison’s best performance of the season as he tallied three of his 11 total points in the victory.
4/4/16 – ISLANDERS 5, LIGHTNING 2
Ryan Pulock opened the scoring in the first period, then after the Bolts tied the score in the second, the Isles erupted for three goals in a 5:15 span capped off by Tavares scoring his 30th goal of the season. Victor Hedman found the back of the net with seven seconds left in the period to cut New York’s lead in half, but Johnny Boychuk put the game on ice early in the third with a red lighter, as the Islanders went on to grab the victory and win the season series.