ECF Game 5 Preview: Islanders vs. Lightning
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The New York Islanders play their most important game of the season tonight, down 3-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final.
The Islanders are coming off a 4-1 loss in Game 4 on Sunday night. We know New York will be without Casey Cizikas, who left the bubble due to injury. Jean-Gabriel Pageau has been taking over for Cizikas between Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck but I’d really like to see the lines rearranged for Game 5.
Despite the fact that the first line hasn’t gotten much accomplished at all against Tampa Bay, I don’t see a way to improve the top line without breaking up the second line. I’d like to see Pageau back on the third line, even though it means the fourth line probably won’t be as effective. Since being acquired by the Islanders, Pageau has done wonders for the third line and considering the Islanders have scored more than two goals in only one game of this series so far, they need a third line that can produce.
Semyon Varlamov is pretty much a lock to be back in net and has performed well in the last three games. That said, with Andrei Vasilevskiy at the other end, he may need to find a new level in his game tonight.
No matter what the Islanders do with their lineup, they can’t be afraid to shorten their bench. If someone isn't on their game tonight and isn’t playing with intensity, they can’t be on the ice. The Islanders need to stick to their game and make the Lightning earn their chances.
Puck drop is at 8 p.m.
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OTHER ISLANDERS ARTICLES FROM SEPTEMBER:
Game 5 Preview: Islanders vs. Flyers
Notes from Game 5: Islanders vs. Flyers
Game 6 Preview: Islanders vs. Flyers
Notes from Game 6: Islanders vs. Flyers
Game 7 Preview: Islanders vs. Flyers
Islanders advance to ECF: Notes from Game 7 vs. Flyers
ECF Game 1 Preview: Islanders vs. Lightning
Notes from ECF Game 1: Islanders vs. Lightning
ECF Game 2 Preview: Islanders vs. Lightning
Notes from ECF Game 2: Islanders vs. Lightning
ECF Game 3 Preview: Islanders vs. Lightning
Notes from ECF Game 3: Islanders vs. Lightning
ECF Game 4 Preview: Islanders vs. Lightning
Notes from ECF Game 4: Islanders vs. Lightning