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Fri 06/05/2016 - 11:23 EDT

NHL Playoff Pre-Game Analysis

NHL Playoff Pre-Game Analysis
After squandering a 4-3 lead in the last minute of regulation and losing 5-4 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning, will the New York Islanders be motivated to rally on home ice and tie this series 2-2?

NHL Playoff Prediction & Moneyline Odds

By Bob Duff

Tampa Bay Lightning (-102) at New York Islanders (+270)

pulock 

With two days to stew over their 5-4 overtime loss to the Lightning in Game 3, a game they were 38.4 seconds away from winning, the Islanders may be getting good news for Game 4. Defenceman Ryan Pulock, out the past five games with an upper body injury suffered in Game 4 of their first-round series with the Florida Panthers, skated Thursday and could return to the lineup. Armed with a 100 MPH slapshot, Pulock, who has 1-2-3 totals in the playoffs, could boost an Islanders power play that was 1-for-4 in Game 3 and is 3-for-13 in the series.

Tampa Bay also got good news on the injury front. Defenceman Matthew Carle (undisclosed injury) practiced Thursday paired with Slater Koekkoek and looked ready to return, as did forward J. T. Brown (upper body) and Erik Condra (upper body). Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov leads the playoffs with seven goals and his 18 career playoff goals are tied for third in franchise history. Kucherov has 33 ponts in 36 career Stanley Cup games. Defenceman Victor Hedman logged 30:15 of ice time in Game 3 and tied a franchise record for defenders with a three-point night.

Islanders forward Josh Bailey scored twice in Game 3 after returning from a three-game upper body injury absence. They were his first goals in 22 games going back to the regular season. Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (groin) contines to practice but won't dress as backup to Thomas Greiss for Game 4. Tampay Bay captain Steven Stamkos (blood clot) and defenceman Anton Stralman (fractured fibula) also remain out. Islanders defenceman Thomas Hickey and Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin, who both absorbed punishing hits in Game 3, are healthy and good to go.

Pick: The Islanders (+270) 

 

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