Isles' Robin Lehner is ready to play again
DETROIT — Islanders goalie Robin Lehner is ready to play again after his latest nagging injury.
He served as Thomas Greiss’ backup for Saturday night’s game against the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena after not dressing the previous two games because of what coach Barry Trotz described as a “tweak.”
“I contemplated starting him. He’s fully healthy,” Trotz said. “I just didn’t think we had enough practice time to give him a fair shot. But he’s back in the fold and he practiced really well. He looks tight.”
Lehner participated in the morning skates on Thursday and Saturday, but the Islanders did not practice on Friday. Their next game is Monday against the Penguins at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.
“It was nothing that was going to be long-term,” Lehner said. “It was an unfortunate, short-term thing. The next time I get in a game, I’ll try to build on something.”
Lehner last started in a 2-1 shootout loss at Boston on Nov. 29, making 35 saves, and has started back-to-back games only once — 4-2 losses at Tampa Bay and Florida on Nov. 8-10 — since being forced from a 6-3 win at Pittsburgh on Oct. 30 after two periods because of back spasms.
He said he appreciates that Trotz rewards good performances with more ice time, whether it’s him or Greiss, and added, “I’ve just got to keep grinding in practice and not get frustrated.”
Tom Kuhnhackl was out of the lineup for the first time since Nov. 5. Kuhnhackl took part in the morning skate before leaving with an undisclosed issue. Ross Johnston, a healthy scratch the past five games, took his spot on Valtteri Filppula’s left wing along with Leo Komarov . . . D Luca Sbisa did not play for the ninth straight game.