Published May 03, 2016
The Tampa Bay Lightning not only have to try to reverse a poor road history against the New York Islanders, they'll also likely be facing a healthier home team.
The Islanders could have winger Josh Bailey and defenseman Ryan Pulock available in this series for the first time Tuesday night in Game 3 at the Barclays Center.
Tampa Bay has not won in regulation in its last nine road games against New York, going 1-7-1 and falling 5-2 on April 4 in its first trip to Brooklyn.
The Islanders won two of three at home in the first round against Florida and are eager to get back on the Barclays Center ice.
"We're excited," star center John Tavares said. "Our fans have been great all year, I saw how tremendous they were in the first round so it should be great."
Even more exciting is news that Bailey and Pulock returned to practice Monday along with goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who is still well away from a possible return. The injured Bailey did not travel to Tampa for the first two games.
"(Bailey) is an experienced guy," coach Jack Capuano told the Islanders' official website. "He's got 500 games or more. This time of year you need experience."
Pulock has been sidelined with an upper-body injury since Game 4 of the Panthers' series.
The Islanders insist they are not concerned after being outshot 67-42 in the first two games. They won 5-3 in Game 1 before falling 4-1 in Game 2 on Saturday.
"We've got to get in our zone and get an opportunity to shoot the puck," Tavares said. "It's an easy thing to say I think to shoot the puck, I think everyone would love to shoot it so we just have to execute and bear down."
Tavares has 11 points in the postseason, although he came up empty Saturday for the second time.
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop rebounded to make 19 saves after being pulled in the second period of Game 1 when he gave up four goals on 13 shots.
''Game 1, a couple of unlucky bounces there,'' Bishop said. ''You just come back the same way in Game 2. You don't change anything. That's just kind of been the way I do it.''
Tyler Johnson had two goals and an assist and Victor Hedman added a goal and an assist Saturday, with Hedman ending a 23-game playoff goal drought. Johnson and Nikita Kucherov have combined for 19 points in the playoffs for a Lightning club playing without superstar Steven Stamkos.
Another factor was the play of Jonathan Drouin, who scored his first postseason goal and assisted on Hedman's tally in the second period. Drouin has seven points in the playoffs.
"He's been around pro hockey now for a couple of years and he's a smart player," coach Jon Cooper said. "He understands the game, and you have to be involved in it a little bit to find out what you can do and what you can't do."
One area of concern for Tampa Bay is the number of penalties it has taken. The Islanders are 2 for 9 on the power play in this series.
"We want to stay out of the box," Lightning forward Brian Boyle told the league's official website. "You are really playing with fire when you get into penalty trouble and are over three or four. You want to stay at two or three."