Islanders vs. Lightning series renews New York, Tampa hostilities

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The postseason history between New York and Tampa dates to 1978, when the Cosmos won the NASL’s Soccer Bowl, 3-1 over the Rowdies at Giants Stadium. Here’s a rundown of the previous playoff clashes in the four major sports, set to be renewed by the Islanders and Lightning:

Devils vs. Lightning
2003 conference semifinals

On their way to the franchise’s third Stanley Cup win in nine seasons, the Devils trumped the Lightning in a hard-fought five-game series. The Devils secured a pair of overtime victories, first via a Jamie Langenbrunner game-winner in Game 2 and later with a series-winner by Grant Marshall in Game 5, a triple-overtime classic that sent Continental Airlines Arena into a frenzy.

Islanders vs. Lightning
2004 conference quarterfinals

The Islanders took three out of four from the top-seeded Lightning in the regular season, yet their success evaporated come playoff time. Tampa Bay’s Nikolai Khabibulin notched a pair of shutouts in Game 3 and 4, while Martin St. Louis registered the series-winner in overtime of Game 5. For the third consecutive season, the Islanders bowed out in the quarterfinals, becoming Tampa Bay’s first victim en route to a Stanley Cup.

Eli Manning
Eli Manning

Giants vs. Buccaneers
2007 wild card

Before foiling the Patriots’ perfect season and capturing the franchise’s third Super Bowl title, the Giants defeated the NFC South champion Buccaneers to open the playoffs. Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes — one to Brandon Jacobs and the other to Amani Toomer — to help the Giants rally from an early 7-0 hole. Both Manning and Tom Coughlin secured their first playoff victories as Giants, ending the franchise’s three-game playoff losing streak.

Devils vs. Lightning
2007 conference quarterfinals

Hungry to avenge a semifinal loss from four years earlier, the upset-minded Lightning jumped out to a 2-1 series lead. The two-seeded Devils, however, rallied to win the next three games, with Brian Gionta recording four goals and Zach Parise and Scott Gomez netting a pair across the final three contests.

Rangers vs. Lightning
2015 conference finals

Rangers fans may still be having nightmares about Ben Bishop, the Tampa Bay goalie, who shut out the Blueshirts in Game 5 and Game 7 to vault the Lightning into the Stanley Cup Finals. Despite leading the NHL in points, the Rangers endured a Game 7 loss on their home ice for the first time in franchise history, crippled by the goal-scoring struggles of Rick Nash and St. Louis.

Chris Kreider gets crushed by Matt Carle in Game 7 of the 2015 Eastern Conference finals.
Chris Kreider gets crushed by Matt Carle in Game 7 of the 2015 Eastern Conference finals.
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Islanders vs. Lightning
2016 second round

After the Islanders topped the Panthers to secure their first playoff series win since 1993, their season crumbled to an end at the hands of the Lightning. Though the Islanders won Game 1 in Tampa Bay, they lost the next four games, including a pair of heartbreaking overtime contests. The Lightning held the Islanders’ three-highest point-getters in the regular season — John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen — to two points each.

Devils vs. Lightning
2018 first round

The Devils sneaked into the 2018 playoffs by one point, snapping a five-year playoff drought. But their stay proved to be short-lived, as the top-seeded Lightning ruined the feel-good story by dispatching an overwhelmed Devils squad in five games. Nikita Kucherov led the way with a series-high 10 points, while Alex Killorn had four goals.

Islanders vs. Lightning
2020 conference finals

Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis Chapman
Corey Sipkin

Just last September, the Islanders and Lightning squared off at Scotiabank Arena as a part of the NHL’s Edmonton bubble. Kucherov paced Tampa Bay with 10 points, while Anthony Cirelli’s game-winning goal in overtime of Game 6 sent the Lightning on their way to an eventual Stanley Cup title. In January, Barry Trotz said that series will haunt him even when on his deathbed.

Yankees vs. Rays
2020 ALDS

For the Yankees, this series invoked another cruel ending to a once-promising season and a dose of déjà vu. Tampa Bay’s Mike Brosseau smacked an Aroldis Chapman fastball over the left-field fence in the eighth inning for what proved to be the game-winning home run in Game 5. Just a year earlier, the Bombers had lost in the ALCS when Jose Altuve took Chapman deep to send the Astros to the World Series.

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