Islanders Bolted in

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 5:00 PM ET


 SEASON SERIES:

 3-1 Islanders, including a 3-0 home win in their last meeting March 21.

 LAST PLAYOFF MEETING:

 The two teams have never met.

 THE SKINNY:

 This spring marks only the third time the Lightning has appeared in the playoffs. Their previous forays have been in 1996, when they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in six games of the opening round, and last spring, when they were eliminated in the second round in five games by the eventual champion New Jersey Devils ... RW Martin St. Louis, a former Flame, will be awarded the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer with 94 points. He also shared the league's best plus-minus rating at plus-35. Another Flames castoff, LW Cory Stillman, enjoyed a career year with 80 points in 81 games, including a personal-best 55 assists. And Brad Richards also finished in the top 10 of league scoring with 79 points ... RW Trent Hunter and LW Oleg Kvasha shared the scoring lead for the Isles with 51 points apiece. Hunter, who was also co-leader among the NHL's rookie snipers, had a team-high 25 goals, while Kvasha had a team-best 36 assists. D Adrian Aucoin finished with a team-best plus-29 rating ... The Isles haven't escaped the first round in their last three playoff appearances (2003, 2002, 1994) ... The Lightning strike this post-season with a 4-1-0-1 record in their last six games, while the Isles enter the playoffs with just three losses in their last 12 games (8-3-1).

 HURTING:

 The Lightning have dodged injuries all season and only D Stan Neckar (groin) is currently injured, listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, the Isles have been hit hard recently, with LW Jason Blake (sprained ankle) lost to the team for at least the first round of the playoffs and possibly longer, D Alexander Karpovtsev (leg) and RW Eric Godard (shoulder) out for the season and G Garth Snow (shoulder) and C Shawn Bates (groin) listed day-to-day.

 POSSIBLE PLAYOFF HERO:

 C Alexei Yashin can put up the points in big numbers but it won't be enough to stop the coming-out playoff parties of C Brad Richards, RW Martin St. Louis and C Vincent Lecavalier.


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