TAMPA, FL - With just 10 games left in the Tampa Bay Lightning regular season, the team is hoping to snap out of the recent funk that it's found itself in. March has been tough on the Bolts, as they have gone 2-4-4 in 10 games this month. Scuffling your way into the playoffs with question marks about your ability to hold a lead, score goals and goaltending is not exactly the way the Bolts would have wanted to make their first postseason appearance in three years. Tonight, the Lightning get another shot to right the ship and get back to the winning ways that propelled them into playoff contention as the New York Islanders skate into the St. Petersburg Times Forum at 7:30.
The Islanders will get their first crack at Dwayne Roloson, acquired by the Lightning from New York in a trade on New Years Day that sent defenseman prospect Ty Wishard to the Islanders. The Roloson trade has no doubt been a success for the Lightning as he stabalized a shaky goaltending situation and has gone 14-9-4 with four shutouts, 2.55 goals against and a .910 save percentage as a member of the Lightning.
Roloson will have his hands full again as despite being one of the leagues worst teams, at 68 points, the Islanders pack some firepower. Both LW Matt Moulson and RW Michael Grabner are in the midst of 30-goal seasons, and young star John Tavares, taken first overall in the 2009 entry draft has 26 goals.
The Bolts will continue to skate without Steve Downie or Ryan Malone who are both working their way back from injuries, and Simon Gagne's status is questionable following treatment on his neck last week.
The Lightning are currently five points behind Washington for the lead in the Southeastern Division and only three points behind Pittsburgh for the fourth seed in the Eastern conference. Moving up into the fourth seed would ensure home ice for at least the first round of the playoffs.