The first line has been getting the job done.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to jump ahead 2-1 in their conference final series against the New York Islanders. Game 1 saw the Lightning not show up, not look like themselves, and throw away multiple chances to get back in the game and win it. Game 2, a lot of those problems were shaped up and the team looked really good, led by the first line.
Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat have combined for 18 goals in 13 games this playoffs, last summer they had 34 goals in 25 games. Expecting a goal per game from the top trio is such a wonderful advantage.
While it’s great to have the best first line in the playoffs, it’s important to see other lines scoring. The Cirelli line especially needs to get a move on. They’ve had their chances offensively, but have been pretty dismal on the defensive end. There were obvious mistakes made by the line in Game 1, but it goes beyond that.
Against the Islanders, the second line is plum last in shot share, taking only 30% of it against their opponents. Even before the series, they were getting outshot by whichever opponents the Lightning were facing. The offense is there, the chances are there, they just can’t get the puck enough to make those chances happen more often. Hopefully tonight they break out of this funk.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
We don’t expect the Lightning to change their lines after Tuesday’s win, so here is the fully healthy group that they have.
Ondrej Palat – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn – Anthony Cirelli – Steven Stamkos
Barclay Goodrow – Yanni Gourde – Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon – Tyler Johnson – Ross Colton
Victor Hedman – Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh – Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev – David Savard
New York Islanders Lines
Here are the lines from Game 2. The Islanders travelled and didn’t practice during their off day so there are no updates to the lines beyond that. JG Pageau is dealing with a small injury that kept him out of parts of the game on Tuesday, but is expected to play. No changes in net either.
Leo Komarov – Mat Barzal – Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier – Brock Nelson – Josh Bailey
Kyle Palmieri – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Travis Zajac
Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech – Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy – Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene – Noah Dobson