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Lightning to face Islanders in next round of NHL Playoffs

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There will be no Sunshine series in the NHL Playoffs.

Instead, the Tampa Bay Lightning will have to face a team that, frankly, has given it a hard time.

The New York Islanders eliminated the Florida Panthers Sunday in double overtime and move on to face Tampa Bay. Games 1 & 2, still undecided, will be at Amalie Arena. Three and four will be in New York. If the teams need it, Games 5 and 7 will be in Tampa.

The Islanders, with John Tavares, took two of three games this season from the Lightning.Tavarez scored five goals and had four assists in the six games against Florida.

The Islanders took 50 shots on goal against the Panthers.

The Lightning beat New York in five games on the way to their Stanley Cupin 2004. Tampa Bay is hoping to get defenseman Anton Stralman back at some point in the series from a broken leg.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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