Barry Trotz was asked three separates times about Casey Cizikas’ status for Sunday’s Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning before begrudgingly giving an answer.
"It’s sort of the same as yesterday," Trotz said on Saturday. "It’s a game-time (decision). That’s where we’re at right now."
The invaluable fourth-line center missed the Islanders’ 5-3 win in Friday night’s Game 3 at Rogers Place at Edmonton with an undisclosed injury. Trotz had also listed Cizikas as a game-time decision for that game.
The Islanders did not practice on Saturday.
Trotz juggled his bottom-six forwards with Cizikas absent in Game 3, moving Jean-Gabriel Pageau into his spot in between Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin. That trio combined for two goals and two assists. Derick Brassard skated between Leo Komarov and Michael Dal Colle.
"I think they did fine," Trotz said. "Pageau going in Casey’s spot, that line got us a couple of goals. I thought we responded pretty well. Brassard’s line did pretty well."
Lightning coach Jon Cooper was also evasive when asked whether top-line center Brayden Point would be available for Game 4 after exiting the Lightning’s 2-1 win in Wednesday’s Game 2 in the second period with an undisclosed issue and missing Game 3.
Point participated in the Lightning’s practice on Saturday after also participating in the team’s morning skate prior to Game 3.
Rest and recover
Lightning left wing Pat Maroon won a Stanley Cup with the Blue last season. So far, he said playing these playoffs in quarantined bubbles – the Lightning were in Toronto for the first two rounds – has been easier on the body.
"You have everything in one setting," said Maroon, stressing the players prefer to play in home arenas in front of fans. "You walk over to the rink. You’re not getting on planes. You’re not traveling. That’s harder on the body."