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Ryan Pulock could return to Islanders’ defense for Game 3

The Islanders' Ryan Pulock will be back in

The Islanders' Ryan Pulock will be back in the lineup as soon as he's physically ready. Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett

TAMPA, Fla. — Jack Capuano pretty much ruled out Ryan Pulock for tomorrow’s Game 2 but said once the rookie defenseman is healthy, there will be no hesitation to put him back into the lineup.

“Looking at Game 1, there were some matchups that weren’t in our favor,” Capuano said Thursday. “Ryan’s a big guy, he’s got the righthanded shot and he helps our power play with that big shot of his. No doubt as we move forward, once he gets healthy, we have some tough decisions to make.”

Marek Zidlicky, 39, went into the lineup for Pulock in Games 5 and 6 against Florida and held his own, earning an assist on Alan Quine’s Game 5 double-overtime winner.

But Zidlicky struggled quite a bit with Tampa Bay’s forwards in Game 1 on Wednesday night. Pulock skated with a handful of Islanders on Thursday and could be ready to return for Tuesday night’s Game 3 at Barclays Center.

Jaroslav Halak also practiced with the small group that included Game 1 scratches Eric Boulton, James Wright, Brian Strait and Adam Pelech along with backup goaltender J-F Berube. Johnny Boychuk was the only Islanders regular to take a spin.

Stamkos still waiting

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos skated with a handful of his teammates Thursday and spoke of his frustration at feeling well but being nowhere near a return from surgery to repair a blood clot that has him taking blood thinners indefinitely.

“Just waiting to get to that doctor’s appointment where they say I can play,” he said. “It could be weeks, it could be months.”

Defenseman Anton Stralman (broken leg) remained off the ice. Erik Condra, who left Game 1 after a huge hit from Casey Cizikas just 4:45 in, was “feeling a lot better,” according to Lightning coach Jon Cooper. Cooper said Condra is unlikely to skate during the next few days after suffering an apparent head injury.

Capuano jokes he’s ‘day-to-day’

Capuano had a small gash on his nose and said he was feeling better after taking a deflected puck to the face in the third period of Game 1. He missed about eight minutes of the game before returning for the conclusion of the 5-3 win.

Asked if he was checked for a concussion, he said, “That’s confidential.” He was smiling when he said it.

New York Sports