(Editors Note: This story has been updated to reflect the comments made by Barry Trotz and Andy Greene following the New York Islanders morning skate.)
Will there be any retribution for New York Islanders forward Anders Lee’s hit on Nicklas Backstrom? We’ll soon find out.
When it comes to any changes to the New York Islanders lineup for Game 2, the answer is a little more clear. The Islanders will ice the same lineup as they did in Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.
Islanders head coach Barry Trotz revealed the news today following the team’s morning skate.
“I think we’re pretty well status quo right now. We’ll probably stick with the same lineup,” Trotz told reporters over Zoom.
Considering the physicality of Game 1, the thought was that Ross Johnston might get into the lineup for Game 2. It also means that Johnny Boychuk will watch another game from the stands.
Boychuk has not played since Game 1 of the Islanders Qualifying Round series with the Florida Panthers. Boychuk took a high hit in the first period from Mike Matheson. Trotz told reporters prior to Game 1 against the Caps that Boychuk was “highly probable” to be ready.
So it seems it has come down to Andy Greene just being too good to take out of the lineup. Boychuk has been taking the situation in stride, according to Trotz.
“He is a team-first guy,” Trotz said about Boychuk. “He is a 100 percent pro and he knows where we are. All he wants to see is the Islanders win. He knows where he stands with us and with the coaching, and with his teammates. It’s not an issue an all.”
Greene has taken the chance given to him by the injury to Boychuk and ran with it. He’s played well with Nick Leddy and was a plus-1 in Wednesday’s 4-2 win.
He saw 15:47 of ice time as well against the Capitals.
“You never hope someone goes down and gets injured, but at this time of the year you have to be ready for anything,” Greene said. “You never know what’s going to happen. … you really had to dial it in at training camp and be ready. Just give it your all and see what happens.”
New York Islanders Projected Lines
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Derick Brassard — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Leo Komarov
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews — Scott Mayfield
Nick Leddy — Andy Greene
It will be a tradeoff for the Capitals tonight. Lars Eller returns to the lineup, but they will be without Nicklas Backstrom.
Eller is returning the lineup after having to quarantine following his return to the Toronto bubble. He left to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
Backstrom is sidelined as he goes through concussion protocol following the Game 1 hit he took from Lee. Capitals coach Todd Reirden revealed the news during a Zoom call with reporters on Thursday.
“Nick is obviously a tremendous leader for us. His body of work as a player speaks for itself,” Reirden said. “But it’s next man up. Who is going to take advantage of that opportunity? That’s playoff hockey. That’s winning hockey during the regular season, is having guys in depth positions that can take advantage of it. Sometimes you have players that roles are elevated within the game.
“That’s what we’re challenged with and we’ll be ready for that tomorrow.”
Eller has done a good job of stepping up for the Capitals when some of the team’s top-six forwards are out. He has recorded 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) in 26 games that Backstrom or Evgeny Kuznetsov have missed over the last four years.
“I love when those challenges happen,” Eller said on Thursday. “I don’t change the way I think about the game or the way I prepare myself.”
The New York Islanders overcame a multi-point deficit in the postseason for the sixth time in the last 30 years. Three of those six times have been against the Washington Capitals. … The Islanders have allowed fewer than 30 shots in seven straight playoff games, according to statistician Eric Hornick. It’s the first time they’ve done so since an eight-game stretch in 1984. … Anthony Beauvillier is on a five-game point streak (four goals, two assists). Beauvillier is also the Islanders leading postseason goal scorer. … T.J. Oshie’s two power-play goals on Wednesday makes him one of seven players still in postseason contention to have two goals come on the man-advantage. The two goals moved Oshie up to sixth all-time on the Capitals in postseason goals scored. … Evgeny Kuznetsov is one goal shy of passing Dale Hunter for fourth-most playoff goals scored in Capitals franchise history. He is two points shy of passing Mike Ridley for fifth-most playoff points in franchise history.
How to Watch
Locally the game will air on MSG+ and MSG GO, and nationally on NBCSN. For those outside the New York market, the game can also be streamed on NHL.TV. On the radio dial, the game will air on 98.7 FM ESPN New York, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.
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