OTTAWA, Ontario — Barry Trotz would neither confirm nor deny.
Goalie Robin Lehner did not accompany the Islanders for Thursday night’s 4-2 win over the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre because of a suspected head injury.
Trotz said Lehner is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Pressed about whether he was denying that Lehner has a concussion, Trotz said, “I can’t confirm or deny.”
He did say Lehner was not ordered out of Tuesday night’s game by the NHL concussion spotter. “No, it wasn’t the spotter,” Trotz said. “It was the trainer and Robin both having a discussion.”
Lehner was bowled over by Brady Tkachuk on Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s tying goal at 15:20 of the third period of the Islanders’ 5-4 shootout victory over Ottawa on Tuesday at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.
Lehner initially grabbed at his head while flat on his back after Tkachuk collided with him. As he was down, Pageau swept the puck into the open net. It initially was ruled no goal, but Ottawa successfully challenged that call, as it was ruled that the Islanders’ Brock Nelson pushed Tkachuk into Lehner.
“Tkachuk was going to the net hard,” Trotz said. “If Nelson doesn’t touch him, does he still run into Robin? I think he does. But he had a little bit of a push from Nellie. He was trying to push him laterally a little bit. The rule states if the referees feel the player was pushed in, it’s a goal. Good challenge by them.”
Christopher Gibson, brought up from Bridgeport on an emergency recall, backed up Thomas Greiss on Thursday. Greiss relieved Lehner on Tuesday.
“Robin goes down, it’s a 4-4 game and you’re looking at a possible three-on-three [overtime] and a shootout and you’re a little bit cold,” Trotz said. “[Greiss] goes, ‘OK, no big deal, I’ll just have to deal with it.’ That’s the great thing about Greisser. He doesn’t fret about the situation.”
Lehner’s career began with Ottawa in 2010 and effectively ended with the Senators on Feb. 16, 2015, when a collision with teammate Clarke MacArthur left both with concussions.
Lehner was traded to the Sabres after that season. He joined the Isles on a one-year, $1.5 million deal and detailed his battles with addiction and mental illness on the first day of training camp. He is 20-11-5 with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage and is a leading candidate for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey.
Notes & quotes: Trotz broke up his top defensive pair of Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk in the second period, putting Devon Toews with Boychuk and Scott Mayfield with Leddy. “I’m looking for a little more from a few guys,” Trotz said. “Leddy and Johnny have had a few rough games.” . . . Right wing Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) missed his second game and Trotz said he is day-to-day . . . Left wing Matt Martin (upper body) was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game but rejoined his teammates for the morning skate . . . Defensemen Thomas Hickey, Luca Sbisa and Dennis Seidenberg and forwards Andrew Ladd and Josh Ho-Sang were the healthy scratches. Ho-Sang was brought up from Bridgeport on an emergency recall on Tuesday along with Michael Dal Colle, who was in the lineup for the second straight game. “We have a couple of emergency recalls,” Trotz said. “We have to send one back.”