CHICAGO — Doug Weight found it a fairly easy decision to start Thomas Greiss on consecutive nights here Friday night. J-F Berube was not sharp in his last two appearances, allowing four goals in a 6-4 win over the Devils on Feb. 19 and four more in 40 minutes’ work last Saturday in relief of Greiss in Columbus.
Greiss allowed four himself Thursday night in Dallas, but the Islanders hadn’t played since that 7-0 shelling by the Blue Jackets five days earlier, so Weight wanted his No. 1 goaltender in again.
“We gave up 25, 26 shots, four, five in the last minute [Thursday night], so I feel like his energy level is good. He got a lot of rest the last two, three weeks as far as days away from the rink,” Weight said. “I rely on Mike [Dunham, the goaltending coach], I rely on Thomas’ opinion a lot. Feel like it was a no-brainer today.”
The real test is going forward. The Islanders have 19 games left after Friday night, including an afternoon game Sunday in Calgary and five more sets of back-to-back games. If they don’t have faith in Berube, Jaroslav Halak is in Bridgeport, having posted a .933 save percentage and 1.91 goals-against average.
General manager Garth Snow didn’t entertain many trade offers for Halak before Wednesday’s deadline. He remains as insurance — and the Islanders might have to make a choice if Berube can’t be counted upon to play these back-to-backs.
Beau is back
Anthony Beauvillier returned to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game with an illness and was between Nikolay Kule min and Cal Clutterbuck. Beauvillier hasn’t played in that fourth-line role yet this season, but Weight saw a natural fit: “He’s like a Mini-Me Casey [Cizikas], so to speak.”