NY Islanders (5-6-2) at Tampa Bay (7-5-1)
When: Thursday, November 10th 2016
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: MSG Plus, FSN Sun
The New York Islanders will try and record their first road victory of the young season when they start a two-game Florida trip in Tampa on Thursday night against the Lightning. The Islanders have points in three straight, following up a pair of shootout losses with a 4-2 victory over the struggling Vancouver Canucks on Monday. Captain John Tavares leads New York with five goals this season and has 26 points in 24 career regular-season games versus Tampa Bay, but was held in check in the playoff series against the Lightning last May. New York is 11th in the league in scoring despite a struggling power play that is 4-for-37 overall and 1-for-14 in the last five games. Tavares tops the team with 11 points, one better than Brock Nelson, who reportedly is feeling better and expects to play after suffering a leg injury in Monday’s game. Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg has four goals and eight points to go along with a +10 rating while forward Andrew Ladd has struggled (one goal, two points).
The Islanders must find a way to stop Nikita Kucherov, who scored four goals in five games during the Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series last season and recorded two goals and two assists in a 6-1 victory at New York on November 1st. Kucherov leads the team in assists (11) and points (15) for the Lightning, but have lost five of their last seven games. Forward Jonathan Drouin (concussion) does not have a time table for a return, bit center Valtteri Filppula (lower-body) practiced Wednesday after missing Monday’s loss at Florida. The Lightning posted 35 shots in that game as Kucherov and captain Steven Stamkos (seven goals, 14 points) were both scoreless. Brayden Point was expected to be sent to the minors when Ryan Callahan returned from injury, but the rookie forward has been impressive with five points and 31 shots this season. The Lightning have won five consecutive meetings in the series, including the final four of their playoff matchup last season.
The Lightning own the Islanders right now and until New York can win a road game, I can’t bet on them. Tampa is a heavy favorite in this contest, but I think they’re worth the price tonight.
Pick: Lightning -170