Christopher Gibson is the Islanders’ goalie of the immediate future.
Two seasons after his first NHL action, Gibson will get a start, perhaps Friday against the Canadiens or during the Islanders’ critical four-game road trip.
“He’s a good kid, good goalie, been working really hard and it’s been a while, so we’ve got to get him in there,’’ Doug Weight said Thursday. “I think he’s got the attitude to play well for us.’’
Gibson, 25, was 18-11-3 with a 2.31 goals-against average for Bridgeport before being summoned last month when backup Thomas Greiss was put on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Greiss will not make the trip, which begins Saturday in Pittsburgh against the two-time defending champion Penguins.
“I’m excited, of course,’’ Gibson said. “I don’t know which game I’ll get. Hopefully I’ll get into one of them this weekend.’’
With 18 games remaining for each, the Islanders are four points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second and final wild card in the Eastern Conference.
Gibson will find himself in something of a must-win situation. He said his preparation will be the same. “It has to be. It’s hockey, if it’s here or in the American Hockey League,’’ he said. “I’ll try to keep my preparation like I had all year in Bridgeport, be focused and ready to go whenever that call comes.’’
Gibson’s start could be something of an audition for next season, at least as a backup. He is 1-1-1 in four career appearances with an .882 save percentage. Jaroslav Halak is an unrestricted free agent. Greiss, who generally has had a poor season, is signed for two more years at an annual salary of $3.3 million.
Prospect Ilya Sorokin, who was selected in the third round of the 2014 draft, is playing in Russia, and his contract would have to be bought out before he could play in the United States. Yet another possibility, Linus Soderstrom, is recovering from surgery he needed while playing on loan for a team in Sweden.
Gibson was 6-0 for Bridgeport last year before a lower-body injury ended his season in November. “Honestly, I haven’t looked at it at all,’’ he said of his future. “Last year I had the injury; this year everything is positive for me. I’m happy that I’m playing [injury-free] this year and I’m excited to be up in the NHL again.’’
Notes & quotes: Jordan Eberle skated off early. “I think he was just banged up a little bit [Wednesday] night,’’ Weight said. “A little sore. A day like today, you just want to make sure that he’s ready to go [Friday]. I don’t think that’s anything that’s going to keep him out, but we’ll see.’’