It would be hard to find a starker contrast of playing styles than what we will get in the Eastern Conference Final between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. New York is the most disciplined and structured team in the league. Head coach Barry Trotz is celebrated for his defensive mastery. What the Isles lack in skill and firepower they more than make up for in suffocation of their opponents. By contrast the Lightning are deep and loaded with skill and scoring ability. At the same time, they don’t neglect the back end. Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper is considered one of the great modern minds in the game. New York is a newer Stanley Cup contender but Tampa Bay has been a top tier favorite since winning the 2015 Eastern Conference championship.
2020 Eastern Conference Final – New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Series Prices at BookMaker.eu
New York Islanders +176
Tampa Bay Lightning -202
Series Format: Best of Seven
2020 Eastern Conference Final Odds Analysis
The Lightning will get the majority of casual square money as the better-known team that has championship cache. The public is not nearly as familiar with the Islanders. Sharps are going to give New York a good hard look because they possess the defense and structure to be a dangerous underdog. Those that know hockey realize the Stanley Cup is won as much with grit and discipline as with skill and firepower.
New York Islanders Path to the Eastern Conference Final
In the best of five qualifier the Islanders took out the Florida Panthers 3-1. The next round was a 4-1 domination of the Washington Capitals. New York is coming off a seven-game thriller against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Tampa Bay Lightning Path to the Eastern Conference Final
In the first round the Lighting took out the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 and that was followed by a 4-1 series win over the top seed and defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins. Columbus was the eight seed that humiliated number one seed Tampa Bay in a 2019 opening round four game sweep. Tampa Bay is showing resiliency and toughness that was missing one year ago.
New York Islanders Players to Watch
Center Brock Nelson has seven goals, eight assists, and a plus five. Lew winger Anthony Beauvillier has a team best eight goals with four assists and a plus eight with two power play goals and two power play assists. Defenseman Devon Toews has one goal, seven assists and a plus eight with three power play assists.
Tampa Bay Lightning Players to Watch
Center Braden Point leads Tampa Bay with six goals, 12 assists and a plus seven. Defenseman Victor Hedman has five goals, four assists, and a plus eight.
Between the Pipes
Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov has a record of 9-4 with a 2.00 goals against average, .921 save percentage, and two shutouts. Backup Thomas Greiss was the game seven hero as he posted a 4-0 shutout win over the Flyers. Greiss is 2-1 with a 1.08 goals against average with a save percentage of .960 and one shutout.
Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy is 10-3 with a 1.91 goals against average and a save percentage of .931.
Head to Head Results
This season the Islanders were 2-1 against the Lightning with only one of those games going over the total.
2020 Eastern Conference Final NHL Odds Pick
The Islanders will make for a capable and potentially valuable underdog in this matchup. New York ranks a surprising third in the NHL Playoffs for goals scored despite their defensive reputation. In a series that is more even than the public realizes the Isles rate the call.
2020 Eastern Conference Final Prediction: New York Islanders
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