NHL playoffs 2021: Breakdown, predictions, odds for Lightning vs. Islanders Stanley Cup semifinal


Islanders and Lightning.

It is a collection 265 days within the making. That is how lengthy it has been since these two groups met within the 2020 Japanese Convention finals and when Tampa Bay received the collection in six video games. It is also how lengthy it has been since they’ve confronted one another in any type of sport. 

And here is the plot twist: In actuality, it is possible this may have been the Japanese Convention ultimate pairing if issues had been per typical this yr. So whereas this spherical has a flowery new title for 2021 — Stanley Cup semifinal — it is only one extra nudge that issues are getting again to regular.

“It is an incredible alternative for us seeing them once more within the semifinals,” mentioned Anthony Beauvillier after his Islanders despatched the Bruins {golfing}. “I believe we’re taking loads of pleasure in what we do, and to get again to the spot that we have been final yr with some unfinished enterprise, it is an incredible alternative for us. Everybody is worked up within the room and we’re actually wanting ahead to it.”

Talking of regular, each arenas must be rocking with followers again within the seats, particularly the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Outdated Barn is closing its hockey doorways when the Islanders’ run ends, and the workforce is actually sending it out in type. It has been 38 years for the reason that dwelling workforce gave Lord Stanley’s Cup a twirl across the ice — 37 because it was in a Cup Last — and this membership shall be itching to do it another time. On the flip facet, the defending champion Lightning are aiming for a repeat and, this time, to provide the followers an opportunity to see it in particular person. 

However earlier than they will even take into consideration fulfilling their Stanley Cup goals, they must face one another.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders: Schedule, odds, breakdown, prediction

Stanley Cup semifinal schedule

Date Matchup Time (TV channel)
Solar., June 13 at Tampa Bay 3 p.m. (NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)
Tues., June 15 at Tampa Bay 8 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)
Thurs., June 17 at New York 8 p.m. (USA, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)
Sat., June 19 at New York 8 p.m. (USA, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)
*Mon., June 21 at Tampa Bay 8 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)
*Wed., June 23 at New York 8 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)
*Fri., June 25 at Tampa Bay 8 p.m. (NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports activities)

(* If essential)

Season statistics

The groups didn’t play towards one another in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. This is a fast have a look at some stats towards the seven different groups of their respective divisions (per NHL.com and Pure Stat Trick):

TBL STAT NYI
3.21 GF/GP 2.71
2.59 GA/GP 2.23
22.2 PP pct. 18.8
84.2 PK pct. 83.7
52.37 CF% at 5v5 48.6
98.57 xGF at 5v5 102.52
86.76 xGA at 5v5 94.62
58.12 HDGF% at 5v5 58.54

Odds

Lightning -250 Islanders +200

(Odds by FanDuel)

Offense

So here is the humorous factor about all these season stats for the Lightning: Throw them out the window. They give the impression of being all shiny, however they have been lacking one key aspect — Nikita Kucherov. The Russian missed your complete common season recovering from hip surgical procedure and has hit the ice working within the postseason. In 11 video games, he has racked up 18 factors (5 objectives, 13 assists), with 13 of these on the facility play, and averaged an eye-popping 1.64 factors per sport.

In the event you’re Barry Trotz and the Islanders, you are in all probability pondering, “Let’s shut down Kucherov and we’ll have a stable likelihood,” proper? Effectively, if you happen to simply centered on him, then you definitely’d depart Steven Stamkos (13 factors), Alex Killorn (12) Brayden Level (12) and defenseman Victor Hedman (11) open — and people are simply the gamers with double-digit factors. That is the factor concerning the Lightning; they’ve a balanced offense throughout all 4 traces and their blue-liners chip in, too.

The Islanders have an analogous setup with their ahead group, particularly as of late. Extra identified for shutting down the opposite workforce’s high-octane offense, the blokes from Lengthy Island are led by . . . a man from Lengthy Island. Deadline pickup Kyle Palmieri has reignited the offense with a team-leading seven objectives. However he is not the one one placing the puck within the web; the workforce boasted a 3.67 GF/GP towards the Bruins within the second spherical. Jean-Gabriel Pageau (13 factors), longtime Islander Josh Bailey (11) and Anthony Beauvillier (11) have double-digit factors within the playoffs. 

One man the Islanders might want to hold tempo to have any success the remainder of the way in which is Mat Barzal. The 2018 Calder Trophy winner notched simply three factors within the six video games towards the Penguins, however he has turned it up as of late. In six video games towards Boston, he notched six factors, together with the game-winner in Sport 4. Final season within the Japanese Convention finals, he contributed 4 assists in six video games. The Islanders’ factors chief in 2021 shall be essential to this squad getting previous the defending champion.

Edge: Lightning

(Getty Pictures)

Protection

Barry Trotz is aware of protection. Yeah, he is aware of find out how to squeeze each final little bit of offensive juice from his gamers, however the man is aware of protection. His workforce had the second-lowest GA/GP within the common season at simply 2.23, and since Trotz shipped up north from Washington after successful the 2018 Stanley Cup, the Lengthy Island workforce has boasted a league-best 2.46 GA/GP. 

Within the first spherical, Trotz despatched the East Division’s greatest workforce, the Penguins, right into a downward offensive spiral. A crew that features Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin went from 3.45 GF/GP within the common season to 2.67. Within the second spherical, the Bruins, who have been at 2.93 for the 2021 season and three.20 GF/GP for Spherical 1 towards the Capitals, dropped to 2.83. 

Tampa Bay sported a 3.21 GF/GP within the common season, which is not too shabby, however once more, it did not have Kucherov. The Islanders have one of many worst Corsi For percentages at 5v5 (42.20) — it is truly fifteenth out of 16 playoff groups — which suggests they do not have the puck a complete lot they usually permit a complete lot of pictures towards. However they do have the perfect SCSV% (share of scoring likelihood pictures towards that weren’t objectives, per Pure Stat Trick) at 92.23 and the third-best Excessive-Hazard save share (87.80).

Jon Cooper’s Lightning are additionally stable on protection and, in actual fact, have posted a greater GA/GP than the Islanders within the postseason (2.36 in comparison with 2.75). It certainly would not damage to have the 2020 Norris Trophy winner — and a 2021 Norris Trophy finalist — within the corps in Victor Hedman. Then there’s Mikhail Sergachev, David Savard, Jan Rutta, Erik Cernak and Ryan McDonagh. All however Savard have been on the 2020 Cup workforce, so this crew is aware of what it takes to get to the ultimate spherical.

Edge: Islanders

Goaltending

This collection could come all the way down to the performances between the pipes. Andrei Vasilevskiy is up once more for the Vezina, and for good cause. He led the league with 31 wins — the Lightning received 36 whole — and had a shiny .925 save share. That was the common season; because the significance of every sport has risen, so has his degree of play. 

“I have been round a very long time and I’ve seen loads of goalies which are good, however he is nearly as good as anyone I’ve ever seen,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour mentioned after his workforce was eradicated by the Lightning. “And the way he impacts the workforce and the way they will play. That is type of what I informed him. And it is true.”

Within the playoffs, he is boasting a .934 save share, simply .001 behind chief Carey Worth, and has two shutouts, together with one within the collection clincher towards Carolina. In 11 begins, he has a 3.57 Targets Saved Above Common and .921 Excessive-Hazard Save share at 5v5 (per Pure Stat Trick), each of that are the perfect among the many remaining goalies. 

Trotz has known as on each his netminders — Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin — within the postseason. Varlamov has began seven video games whereas the rookie Sorokin has gotten the faucet 5 occasions. Each are displaying glowing save percentages — Sorokin is at .934 and Varlamov is at .925 — however the latter has been getting the gigs currently. After Sorokin faltered in Sport 1 towards the Bruins — and regardless of successful three straight vs. the Pens — Varlamov has been the one in web.

Edge: Lightning

Particular groups

There’s actually not an excessive amount of to say right here aside from Tampa Bay’s power-play is connecting at 41.7 % effectiveness. The Islanders’ penalty kill is 61.5 % efficient. Translation: You CANNOT take penalties if you happen to’re the Islanders. The Islanders’ energy play, by the way in which, is working at a decent 28.1 % and the Lightning’s penalty kill share is 77.8. However, once more, you CANNOT take penalties if you happen to’re the Islanders.

Edge: Lightning

(Getty Pictures)

Key gamers to look at

Brayden Level (TBL): The Calgary, Alta., native has been red-hot as of late with 5 factors within the final three video games, together with the collection winner in Sport 5 towards the Hurricanes. In 11 video games this postseason, he has notched eight objectives and 12 factors and is nicely on his method to besting the 14 occasions he hit the again of the online in 23 contests in 2020 bubble hockey. He is boasting a 6.83 Anticipated Targets For at 5v5, which is fourth-best on the membership, and has received 57.26 % of his faceoffs taken, per Pure Stat Trick. Final postseason, he performed in simply 4 of the six video games towards the Islanders and nonetheless skated away with seven factors.

Kyle Palmieri (NYI): Acquired through commerce across the deadline together with fellow longtime Satan Travis Zajac, Palmieri has made himself fairly at dwelling on Lengthy Island, which should not be a shocker for the reason that Smithtown, N.Y., native grew up about 30 miles from Nassau Coliseum. After potting simply 4 factors in 17 regular-season video games, he has turned it up within the playoffs with seven objectives and two assists in 12 video games. In accordance with Pure Stat Trick, he is seventh within the league with a person xG of two.65. The 30-year-old ahead, who’s rising again his magnificent beard for the playoffs, can be using a five-game point-scoring streak.

Lightning vs. Islanders playoff historical past

It also needs to be famous that the 2 occasions these groups have met within the postseason (no matter spherical) and the Lightning have received, they went to win the Cup.

YEAR RESULT
2020 TBL def. NYI in convention finals in six video games
2016 NYI def. TBL in second spherical in 5 video games
2004 TBL def. NYI in quarterfinals in 5 video games

Final 5 playoff appearances

Tampa Bay Lightning

YEAR FINISH
2020 Gained Stanley Cup
2019 Misplaced in first spherical to CBJ in 4 video games
2018 Misplaced in convention finals to WSH in seven video games
2016 Misplaced in convention finals to PIT in seven video games
2015 Misplaced in Stanley Cup Last to CHI in six video games

New York Islanders

YEAR FINISH
2020 Misplaced in convention finals to TBL in six video games 
2019 Misplaced in second spherical to CAR in 4 video games 
2016 Misplaced in second spherical to TB in six video games 
2015 Misplaced in first spherical to WSH in seven video games
2013 Misplaced in convention quarterfinals to PIT in six video games

Lightning vs. Islanders prediction

It is exhausting to not suppose the Islanders will pull this one out — they usually simply could as a result of, as we have realized, you by no means wager towards the mastermind, Barry Trotz — however the Lightning are, soup to nuts, the extra stacked workforce. This membership has been to the promised land. It is aware of what it takes and, when all is alleged and finished, it ought to have an opportunity at going back-to-back.

Prediction: Lightning in 6





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