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ISLES LIKELY TO SHUFFLE LINES AHEAD OF MUST-WIN GAME 5

Facing elimination, the New York Islanders are likely going to make some changes to their lines for Game 5 versus the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final.



The first line for the Islanders consisting of Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, and Jordan Eberle has gone cold, as they have combined for just 1 goal this series.

This is something that especially needs to change considering the firepower on Tampa Bay’s first line with the likes of Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Ondrej Palat playing some of their best hockey right now. They have combined for 20 points in the series alone.

The Islanders did lose Casey Cizikas and Tom Kuhnhackl due to injury for the remainder of the playoffs already, but neither forward tends to play in the top 6.

Barzal has played well with Anthony Beauvillier in the past, but he is playing on the second line with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey, which has probably been the Islanders most consistent line this postseason.

Barry Trotz could try and switch Brock Nelson with Josh Bailey, but it looks like the change should include more than just a swapping of centremen. Jean-Gabriel Pageau shifted down to the third line with Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin after Cizikas went down with an injury, but he did play in the top 6 with the Ottawa Senators, so maybe he could get a chance on either the first or second line.

Of course even with changes to their lineup, it may not matter as teams rarely come back from 3-1 series deficits, especially in the conference finals. Only the Stanley Cup winning, 2000 New Jersey Devils have come back to win a series in the conference finals where they were down 3-1. All other teams are 0-34.

The Islanders will look to stave off elimination in Game 5 versus the Tampa Bay Lightning at Rogers Place in Edmonton tonight, at 8 p.m. ET.
BRENNEN BEAUDIN
SEPTEMBER 15, 2020  (16H17)
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