DETROIT — After suffering a lower-body strain in warmups, fourth-line center Casey Cizikas was a late scratch from the Islanders’ lineup in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena.
Barry Trotz did not rule him out for Sunday’s game in Minnesota. “I was expecting him to play,” Trotz said. “We’re at that point in the year where we have to make sure with our players.”
Trotz answered “yes and no” when asked if Saturday’s absence was related to Cizikas getting a maintenance day off from Friday’s practice.
Cizikas exited in the third period against the Flyers on March 3 because of a stomach flu, and Trotz said he still is feeling some effects.
“He’s been pretty worn out,” Trotz said. “He lost a lot of weight.”
Shooting the puck
Trotz has implored center Mathew Barzal to shoot more several times this season. Barzal did on Saturday, matching a season high with eight shots. “Personally, and as a line, it was probably the best game in 50 games,” he said. “ . . . We should have had four, five goals.”
Robin Lehner backed up Thomas Greiss for the second straight game after returning from a three-game absence with a head injury. He is likely to start Sunday, though Trotz was noncommittal. “There’s some consideration,” he said.
D Johnny Boychuk again was out after appearing to hurt his left shoulder on a check from the Flyers’ Jakub Voracek last week. Trotz said he was a healthy scratch only because the six defensemen who dressed in Thursday’s 2-1 win over the Canadiens played well . . . D Thomas Hickey logged 16:01 with three blocked shots.