That Friday night’s Game 2 of the Islanders-Capitals’ first-round series will continue to build upon the physical foundation laid in Game 1 is expected.
Whether Barry Trotz adjusts his lineup in reaction to the feistiness shown in the Islanders’ 4-2 win in Wednesday’s series opener is not something the coach was willing to disclose.
Capitals coach Todd Reirden announced one necessitated change, with Lars Eller entering the lineup for Nicklas Backstrom, who suffered a concussion on Islanders captain Anders Lee’s first-period check.
Trotz has 6-5, 235-pound left wing Ross Johnston available.
Leo Komarov, a key penalty killer, was in the lineup in both Game 1 and the Islanders’ clinching 5-1 win over the Panthers in Game 4 of their qualifying series. Tom Kuhnhackl was in the lineup the first three games against the Panthers.
“He had a really good camp, he’s been up and he played in the exhibition game,” Trotz said of Johnston, who had three goals, an assist and 78 penalty minutes in 32 games this season. “He’s been on top lines, he’s been on checking lines as well. He’s in the mix. He’s one of those players who keep getting better.
“We’ve got a couple of guys, Michael Dal Colle, Andrew Ladd, on defense, Noah Dobson, Johnny Boychuk, they’re all in the mix,” Trotz added. “Right now, we feel comfortable with the mix we have. If we make a change, it might only be one change.”
Boychuk suffered a suspected head injury in Game 1 against the Panthers and Andy Greene has been in the lineup the past four games.
Life in quarantine
Eller completed a four-day quarantine in his Toronto hotel room on Wednesday after leaving the sequestered bubble to return to Washington for the birth of his child.
“I had a couple of dumbbells in my room, some elastic bands,” Eller said. “You don’t feel right after a couple of days of doing so little but I’m in a good place now.”