TAMPA, Fla. — Heading home for Games 3 and 4 means the Islanders get the matchups they want, and that means Jack Capuano might be looking to make some changes in a lineup that’s been the same through the opening two games of this series.
“We definitely have to look at some things,” Capuano said after Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Lightning in Game 2.
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Marek Zidlicky had a difficult game, the second straight game the 39-year-old has struggled with the Lightning’s speed. He took an interference penalty in the second and did not have a shot on goal during some extended power play time.
Ryan Pulock (upper body) could be ready to return by Tuesday’s Game 3 and he would likely slide back into his spot that Zidlicky took when Pulock was injured in Game 4 against the Panthers.
Josh Bailey (upper body) did not make the trip down here, but he has been skating on his own at IceWorks, so he could be ready to return within a few days.
Carle, Condra out for Lightning
Tampa had to scramble its lineup Saturday with F Erik Condra and D Matt Carle both out. Condra was expected to miss some time after suffering an apparent head injury on a hit from Casey Cizikas early in Game 1. Carle, who was part of the Lightning’s top defense pair in Game 1 with Victor Hedman, sat out with an undisclosed injury.
Defensemen Matt Taormina and Slater Koekkoek subbed in on a Tampa lineup that featured seven defensemen and 11 forwards, an alignment the Lightning used often in last spring’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. Taormina and Koekkoek combined to play just 12:18, while Hedman played a robust 27:35 in Game 2.
Islanders owner Charles Wang and minority owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin were on hand for Game 2 in Tampa along with a couple of old Islanders friends: former Isles captain Alexei Yashin and his partner, Carol Alt.