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Trotz: ‘High Probability’ Lineup Changes Coming for Islanders in Game 4

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Barry Trotz

The Islanders lineup could look a little different on Friday when they hit the Ice against Florida Panthers in Game 4. Islanders head coach Barry Trotz hinted a change or two could be on its way on Thursday when he addressed reporters.

Trotz kept his goaltending and lineup the same for the first three games, aside from a necessary change because of the absence of Johnny Boychuk.

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“I think we’re probably looking at some changes in some of the things we’re doing in our game,” Trotz said. There’s a high probability that there will be one change. Maybe two.”

What those changes will be exactly are open for interpretation.

The most likely move will be for Trotz to turn to Thomas Greiss to guard the net in Game 4. The Islanders coach has praised both his goaltenders in the lead up to the first game of the series and left the door open that both netminders could see action against the Panthers.

The other move that could be coming is the return of Boychuk to the blue line. Boychuk left Game 1 early in the second period after taking a hit up high from Mike Matheson.

The Islanders did not practice on Thursday, so information on Boychuk’s status is relatively unknown.

“Johnny hasn’t skated, (same) as the rest of the group,” Trotz said. “I don’t have an update, but I know that he’s making progress.”

Outside of those changes, it’s hard to envision Trotz altering his lineup much more than that.

Tom Kuhnhackl has worked well with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Derick Brassard on the third line. Kuhnhackl had a hand in setting up goals in Game 1 and Game 2 for his linemates.

An adjustment to the lines would also be a peculiar move. While the top line hasn’t put up as many points as people expected for this series, they have played well enough not to warrant a change.

Splitting up Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson wouldn’t make much sense either since the two have thrived off one another.

Game 4 begins at noon on Friday.

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