Lightning look to jump on top of Isles

Lightning look to jump on top of Isles

With or without Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay’s first-round series win over the Red Wings seemed inevitable. Now that the Lightning’s captain and leading scorer is back on the ice with teammates, though, how long can this playoff ride last?

Tampa Bay’s journey through the Eastern Conference continues in tonight’s semifinal opener vs. the Islanders, with a 7 p.m. ET opening draw at Amalie Arena. Oddsmakers at online sports book give coach Jon Cooper’s crew odds of -155 to protect home-ice advantage. Visiting New York, meanwhile, enters as a +135 underdog.

Bet on Tonight's NHL Contests

The Isles weren’t exactly considered favorites against Florida, either, but they eliminated the Atlantic Division champion in six games. Thomas Greiss allowed just 13 goals on 234 shots in the opening round for a 1.79 GAA. He received ample support from top-flight forward John Tavares, who punished the Panthers for five tallies and four assists.

As for the Lightning, they managed to rout Detroit – despite the absence of Stamkos. The former Maurice Richard Trophy victor has resumed shooting and skating drills, however, for the first time since undergoing surgery April 4 for a blood clot near his right collarbone. He obviously won’t suit up immediately, but the 26-year-old’s mere presence will undoubtedly lift everyone around him.

NHL Quick Links: Free Matchup Reports | Injuries | Odds Comparison | Scoreboard | Betting Trends

Stamkos’ injury did open the door for Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov to thrive. Those three skaters combined for 10 goals and 10 helpers against the Red Wings. Even so, Cooper would love to employ a more balanced attack vs. New York, which required double OT to vanquish Florida over the weekend. Tampa Bay’s weeklong layoff could produce a sluggish start, but anticipate a course correction early in the second period.


Want More From Follow on Twitter and Facebook or Subscribe to Our News Feeds!

Recent NHL Discussions

How many more are like this on Wed, Mar 2021 by Surfer
Saturday Sharp Action NHL on Sat, Jan 2021 by Jimmythegreek
NHL STARS on Wed, Sep 2020 by iceman17
Chicago Blackhawks on Sat, Aug 2020 by Surfer

NHL Predictions & Picks

Thumbnail Sabres vs. Red Wings Prediction & Odds The struggling Sabres will look to right the ship on Wednesday night when they visit the Red Wings at 7:00 p.m. ET. Is the total for tonight’s game set too...
Thumbnail Lightning vs. Bruins Prediction & Odds With eight victories over their last 10 games, the Bruins remain the best and hottest team in the NHL and are also a perfect 12-0...
Thumbnail Stars vs. Blues Prediction & Odds The Stars and Blues will meet in St. Louis on Monday night at 8:00 p.m. ET and given the lack of scoring in previous meetings between the two teams, is the under...
Thumbnail Canucks vs. Sharks Prediction & Odds The Canucks and Sharks square off at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday night and with both teams struggling, where is the value when it comes to...
Thumbnail Stars vs. Avalanche Prediction & Odds Could the defending Stanley Cup champs be tested on Saturday night when the Avalanche host the Stars at 9:00 p.m. ET?

NHL Headlines