Barry Trotz allowed there was a “possibility” fourth-liner Cal Clutterbuck could be available to Wednesday night’s Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning.
But the Islanders coach’s tone certainly cast doubt on whether the invaluable right wing and penalty killer would recover in time from an apparent lower-body issue suffered in Sunday night’s 8-2 loss in Game 1 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
“Honestly, it’ll sort of be reassessed in the morning,” Trotz said on Monday. “But I think there’s a possibility he’ll be in.”
Clutterbuck exited at 11:50 of the second period after blocking defenseman Mikhail Sergachev’s hard power-play shot. He skated slowly off the ice and limped to the Islanders’ dressing room, needing help to do so. Clutterbuck did return to the Islanders’ bench shortly after the start of the third period but did not take a shift and then quickly retreated back to the team’s room.
Clutterbuck missed 30 games after Patrice Bergeron’s skate lacerated his left wrist at Boston on Dec. 19. His fourth-line trio with center Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin was intact only for 19 of the Islanders’ 68 regular-season games.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper has been dressing 11 forwards and seven defensemen but, final score of Game 1 aside, Trotz said that doesn’t present any matchup difficulties for the four-line Islanders.
But it does have benefits for the Lightning.
“I think it frees up a lot of us,” Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. “I know it kind of messes up the forwards a bit. But I think it’s been great for us to kind of balance not only the ice time but give guys who usually are plying in defensive roles some offensive touches.”
Looking the part
Trotz has joked that Mathew Barzal is looking more like a hockey player after needing stitches over his right eye, which is still discolored, and bloodying his nose in Game 7 against the Flyers.
“I saw that quote, that was pretty funny,” Barzal said. “He’s pretty right, I’m going to have a few more scars on my face when this is over.”