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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, March 16th (All times eastern)

New York Islanders (31-26-10-4) at Tampa Bay Lightning (41-18-8-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning go on the rebound tonight when they welcome the New York Islanders to St. Pete Times Forum for a possible playoff preview.

The Lightning, who had a 10-0-1 tear ended by Carolina on Saturday, top the conference race with 95 points -- one ahead of Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia. Tampa has already wrapped up its second straight Southeast Division title.

The Bolts suffered a 5-1 loss to the visiting Hurricanes over the weekend, as Sean Hill netted two goals to lead the victors.

Ruslan Fedotenko scored the lone goal for the Lightning, who failed to collect a point for the first time in 19 games (14-1-2-2). Fedotenko's tally put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0 early in the match.

Martin St. Louis assisted on Fedotenko's marker and leads the NHL with 85 points -- three ahead of Colorado's Joe Sakic in the Art Ross Trophy race. St. Louis is tied with New Jersey's Patrik Elias for fifth in the league with 34 goals.

Tampa Bay, 9-1-1 in its last 11 home games, will host Buffalo on Thursday.

New York, meanwhile, enters tonight's action eighth in the East with 76 points -- four ahead of Buffalo for the final playoff spot, with a game in hand. The Isles ended a six-game winless streak (0-3-1-2) with Friday's 3-1 win in Anaheim.

Cliff Ronning finished with a goal and an assist and Rick DiPietro made 45 saves to back the effort. Janne Niinimaa and Dave Scatchard also scored for the Islanders, who are 2-4-2-2 in their last 10 contests overall.

On the injury front, forward Shawn Bates was sent home Monday to receive treatment for a groin injury that has already sidelined him for two games.

The Islanders, 3-4-3-2 in their last 12 road tilts, play the fourth portion of a five-game trip tonight, and will visit Florida on Wednesday.

New York and Tampa Bay have split two games this season, with each club winning in its own building. The Lightning, though, have won three of the last five meetings overall.

03/16 10:36:25 ET


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