We’re back with more predictions! The Conference Finals kicked off out West last night, and now we’ve got the Eastern Conference Final on deck tonight, as the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders face off. It’s a bit of a stylistic mismatch, so it’ll be interesting to see who comes out and sets the tone with their style of play. These playoffs have been weird and they may only be getting weirder, but who’s going to come out on top here? Let’s talk about it.
New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Maddie: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little scared of the Islanders right now. They’re like the new Blue Jackets, or similar, and we saw how the Lightning fared against them last year. But, that said, I still don’t know that I fully trust the Islanders, and I think they have a fair few players playing over their heads right now, and somehow this Lightning team seems even more complete now. I think they’re the real deal, so I’m going to go with Lightning in six.
Ryan Q.: I’m picking the Lightning. Mainly because I’m still really annoyed with the Islanders and I do not wish to see them find success. Call me biased or petty, I don’t care. I really don’t want to see them in the Stanley Cup Final. I also think Tampa is just a better team overall, so give me the Bolts in five.
Ryan G.: This is the Lightning’s year, right? They already took out their biggest competition last round and Andrei Vasilevskiy is on his game. The Islanders’ voodoo magic won them two series, but I can’t see Barry Trotz maneuvering them through this one. Lightning in five.
Brad: As Ryan said, this is feeling like Tampa Bay’s year. At this point it’s what I want, and what I believe will happen. I maintain my position that the Islanders aren’t actually good, and weird things happen within small sample sizes; like a playoff series. Tampa should smoke them ... but will they? Lightning in six.
Drew: Tampa in six games. They look like the most dangerous team in the playoffs so far from an offensive skill perspective other than Vegas, and if there were ever a team with a chip on their shoulder, it would be the Lightning. This will be the 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings all over again. After bowing out, despite having one of the best regular seasons in NHL history in 1995-96, Detroit won it all the following year. I think this is not only Tampa’s time to reach the Final, but I think they’re winning it as well.
Mike: The Islanders are going to make like hell on the Lightning, but they’ve proved in this postseason that they can handle adversity and will likely face more with Trotz’ team giving them a nightmare on every shift. But Tampa’s goaltending and depth are more than what the Isles have faced thus far, and actually have that depth producing unlike other teams from Philadelphia who are named the Flyers. Thinking six or even seven, but the Lightning get it done and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since since losing to the Blackhawks in 2015.