The Tampa Bay Lightning have not lost back-to-back games since the NHL resumed play at the start of August.
If that trend holds for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday, the Lightning will set up a Stanley Cup Final matchup with the Dallas Stars.
Tampa Bay failed to clinch the East crown on its first go-around against the New York Islanders in Game 5. Barry Trotz's side overcame a less productive offensive effort to earn a double-overtime victory and keep its season alive.
To force Game 7, the Islanders need to find more offensive production since they have scored one or two goals in four of their five games against the Bolts.
Game 6 Information
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBCSports.com or NBC Sports app
Game 6 Odds
Tampa Bay: -155 (bet $155 to win $100)
New York Islanders: +133 (bet $100 to win $133)
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Tampa Bay outscored New York 18-11 in the first five games of the series, but it struggled to find the back of the net in Game 5.
Part of the inefficiency may have been caused by Brayden Point's absence. Point is second to Nikita Kucherov in points in the series—and is joint-top with the Russian and Nathan MacKinnon this postseason with 25—and is a vital part of the team's offensive approach.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper was uncertain of Point's status when he talked with reporters Wednesday, saying: "In this situation, I'm hoping it's not the last time we're going to see [Point], and we might be able to see him as early as tomorrow night. I don't have the answer for that. But...we put the player first and then we just go from there."
Tampa Bay finished Game 5 with 37 shots on goal, but the precision finishing was lacking to beat Semyon Varlamov on multiple occasions.
If the Lightning continue to outpace the Islanders in attempts on target, they should have the better chance to secure Game 6. The Islanders had 24 shots on goal, and their only regulation tally came through Ryan Pulock on the power play.
If Tampa Bay wins the five-on-five battles and plays a fairly clean game to limit New York's power-play opportunities, it seems to have a path to victory, even without Point.
Jordan Eberle, who scored the winning goal in Game 5, is one of the New York players who could help to reverse his team's fortunes in the offensive zone and force Game 7. Six Islanders have put more than 10 shots on goal in the series. All but one of them have scoring percentages under 10 percent on those attempts.
Look for Eberle and fellow forwards Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee to be New York's offensive catalysts from the start.
However, the key player for New York is Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who was brought in from Ottawa at the trade deadline to make an impact in big contests, like Game 6, but he only has two points in this series.
If Pageau is more active in front of Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Islanders' top line plays well, we could see more goals than there were in Game 5 and the Islanders could be in good shape to force Game 7.