The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down Monday’s NHL playoff game with the all-important television and live streaming information included.
• Check out the NHL Bubble Wrap for details on Sunday’s playoff game.
• Today is the nine-year anniversary of the Lokomotiv plane crash that killed 44 people.
MONDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF GAME
Game 1: Islanders vs. Lightning – 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN (livestream): These teams traveled for the first time since this postseason began, leaving Toronto for the Edmonton bubble, and will now meet after having not played each other in seven months following three regular- season matchups. The Islanders won the first two before the Lightning took the most recent one on Feb. 8.
Tampa last played a week ago when they eliminated Boston with a double-overtime victory in Game 5 of that series. The Islanders defeated Philadelphia, 4-0, on Saturday night to advance to their first Conference Finals in 27 years.
Steven Stamkos was second on the team in both goals (29) and points (66) this season but has not played yet this postseason. The 2008 first overall pick had core muscle surgery in March and then suffered a lower-body injury during his return to play training. He last played on Feb. 25 and has not been ruled out of returning this postseason, but head coach Jon Cooper said he will not play this series.
After surrendering a 3-1 series lead to Philadelphia in the Second Round, the Islanders responded with a dominant performance in Game 7 and did it in unsurprising fashion – with defense. The hallmark to what Barry Trotz has brought over is the stingy play on the back end for the Isles. Last season, in Trotz’s first go-round with the Islanders, they allowed the fewest goals in the NHL to become the second team in history to allow the most goals in one season and fewest in the next. This season, New York finished ninth in defense (2.79 goals against/game) and this series could very well come down to this end of the ice as Tampa brings the league’s top offense (3.47 goals/gm during reg. season).
While the Islanders have a more storied history in terms of postseason success compared to the Lightning, they have had many more lows than highs over the last few decades. The height of the Isles notable playoff runs came in 1983 when the franchise won its fourth straight Stanley Cup (and reached the Cup Final again in 1984) – no franchise has even won three straight titles since then. Those championships are still the only four titles the club has won, however, and this is their first Conference Finals appearance since 1993.
Tampa is back in the Conference Finals for the second time in the last three years and fourth time in the last six years. Many thought last season was going to be the year after they tied the NHL’s regular-season win mark of 62, but the Bolts not only fell short but were on the wrong end of history, becoming the first Presidents’ Trophy winner to be swept in the opening round of a postseason when they were eliminated by the Blue Jackets.