The New York Islanders (No. 6 seed in the East) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (No. 2 seed) will face off against each other for the third time in their postseason history after reaching the Eastern Conference Final.
Isles Reach Conference FinalThe New York Islanders (11-5-0) booked a spot in the Eastern Conference Final after triumphing in Game 7 of their Second Round matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers with a count of 4-0 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Saturday. After the Isles squandered a 3-1 series lead with two consecutive overtime defeats in Games 5 and 6, Scott Mayfield (1 goal, 5 points this postseason), Andy Greene (2 goals, 4 points), Brock Nelson (7 goals, 15 points) and Anthony Beauvillier (8 goals, 12 points) all lit the lamp in the deciding contest to guarantee New York its first conference final appearance since 1993.
Goalie Thomas Greiss (2-1 this postseason with a 1.08 GAA and a .960 save percentage) replaced Semyon Varlamov (9-4 with a 2.00 GAA and a .921 save percentage) in the net, making 16 saves on Saturday. He has collected a 6-3-1 career tally versus Tampa Bay with a 2.94 GAA and a .918 save percentage, while Varlamov has gone 10-7-2 against the Lightning previously with a 2.34 GAA and a .923 save percentage. The Islanders, meanwhile, are netting the 3rd highest number of goals per game since the NHL Return to Play Plan (3.38), while conceding the 2nd lowest quantity defensively (1.94). The team is 14th in power play (17.0%) and 11th in penalty kill (82.2%).
Bolts Get To The Next RoundA fourth conference final appearance in the past six seasons has come about for the Tampa Bay Lightning (10-3-0), who clinched the spot after beating the Boston Bruins 4-1 in their Second Round series following a 3-2 double-overtime victory at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto last Monday. Victor Hedman (5 goals, 9 points this postseason) banked the winner at 14:10 of the fifth period to extend the Bolts’ triumph streak to four games. Anthony Cirelli (5 points) converted his second snipe of the season, while Ondrej Palat (5 goals, 9 points) got on the scoresheet for the fourth consecutive outing, tying himself with Steven Stamkos (2015, 2018), Vincent Lecavalier (2007) and Martin St. Louis (2003) for the longest goal streak in Tampa Bay playoff history.
Netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 45 shots in last Monday’s win, taking his current performance total for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to 10-3 with a 1.91 GAA and a .931 save percentage. He has recorded a 25-18 tally in his postseason career with a 2.52 GAA and a .918 save percentage, and is 7-4-0 against the New York Islanders historically with a 2.33 GAA and a .930 save percentage. The Lightning, meanwhile, are scoring the 7th highest amount of goals per game since the restart of hockey (3.00), while giving up the 3rd lowest quantity in their defensive zone (2.31). The team is 13th in power play (17.1%) and 14th in penalty kill (81.3%).
- Lightning are 5-1 in their last 6 playoff games as a favorite.
- Lightning are 10-2 in their last 12 vs. Metropolitan.
- Islanders are 4-12 in their last 16 games as an underdog.
- Islanders are 4-12 in their last 16 overall meetings with Lightning.