NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Preview: Lightning vs Islanders Eastern Conference Final

The third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs features four teams in two best-of-7 series, with Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders beginning Monday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the hub city for the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final.

Lightning: 4-1 to win Eastern Conference Second Round against No. 4 Boston Bruins; 4-1 to win first round against No. 7 Columbus Blue Jackets; 2-1-0 in Qualifiers round-robin; 43-21-6, .657 points percentage in regular season

Islanders: 4-3 to win Eastern Conference Second Round against No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers; 4-1 to win first round against No. 3 Washington Capitals; 3-1 to win Qualifiers against No. 10 Florida Panthers; 35-23-10, .588 points percentage in regular season

Season series: TBL 1-2-0; NYI 2-1-0

The Tampa Bay Lightning are in the Eastern Conference Final for the fourth time in six seasons and seek their second trip to the Stanley Cup Final over that time frame. But they’ll have to get past the New York Islanders, who are in the conference final for the first time since 1993.

It’s the second time in five seasons the Lightning and Islanders will face off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa Bay defeated New York in five games in the 2016 Eastern Conference Second Round.

Game 1 is Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

The Lightning will play for the first time in a week. They advanced to the conference final with a 3-2 win in double overtime against the Bruins in Game 5 of their second-round series Aug. 31.

“This will be a real good test,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said Sunday. “The Lightning have been off for a little bit, they’re fresh, they’ve been waiting for our series to end. They went to Edmonton yesterday, they probably practiced. The time change that we’re going to have, all that, that’s what we’re going to deal with today.”

New York had to win a Game 7 in the second round after taking a 3-1 series lead against the Flyers. Thomas Greiss, in his second start of the postseason, made 16 saves in a 4-0 victory.

*Thanks to the lovely Rick’s Cabaret New York Girls for the photo.