SUNRISE, Fla. — Despite the rarity of playing goaltenders on back-to-back nights, neither the Islanders’ Jack Capuano nor the Panthers’ Gerard Gallant hesitated to go right back to Thomas Greiss and Roberto Luongo for Friday night’s Game 2.
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Greiss started on consecutive nights once during the regular season. He was pulled after allowing four goals in 30:27 in Pittsburgh on Jan. 2 in a 5-2 loss, then started the next night at Barclays Center in a 6-5 win over the Stars. Both Jaroslav Halak and J-F Berube were injured then, however, which factored into Capuano’s decision.
“To me, he’s one of the top-conditioned goalies I’ve been around,” Capuano said of Greiss. “Seeing where he’s at on and off the ice, I thought it was a good decision to put him back in there.”
Luongo started consecutive nights on Jan. 22-23 and won both games. Gallant didn’t reveal his Game 2 plans immediately after Thursday night’s 5-4 loss and said yesterday that he wanted to make sure Luongo was feeling well enough to play again.
“It wasn’t about his performance,” Gallant said. “I just wanted to make sure he was ready to go.”
No changes for Isles
Even after allowing 46 Panthers shots in Game 1, the same 18 Islanders skaters played Friday night. Capuano tends not to change things after a win, but a few players had rough nights in the opener.
Rookie defenseman Ryan Pulock was among them, but Capuano went back to the 21-year-old again Friday night.
“It’s a team thing, it’s not on Ryan,” defense partner Thomas Hickey said. “He’s composed, he’s calm and he made some real ly good little plays last night. He wasn’t scared to take the puck into the offensive zone to make some plays, which is what we need.”
The Panthers put rookie defenseman Michael Matheson in for Jakub Kindl.