DETROIT — Thomas Greiss hopes to never have to remove himself from a game again.
The goalie participated in the morning skate and dressed as Semyon Varlamov’s backup for Monday night’s 4-1 win over the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena as the Islanders set a franchise mark by alternating their netminders through the season’s first 25 games.
He started Saturday night’s 2-0 win over the Blue Jackets at Barclays Center but exited at 14:06 of the first period because he was feeling ill. Varlamov made 30 saves in relief for the third combined shutout in franchise history.
“I just felt dizzy,” Greiss said. “I didn’t feel good. I was wobbly out there and I made the choice to come out and Varly did a great job. It was the first time I ever pulled myself. Hopefully the last time, too.”
“He was having trouble focusing,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz added. “It wasn’t a hit or a puck to the head or anything like that. For whatever reason, he was a little lightheaded. He thought about the team first.”
Trotz said he expects Greiss to start Tuesday night at Montreal. That would stretch the goalie rotation string to 26 games.
“After that, I’ll probably reassess it and go from there,” said Trotz, who is hoping to reward solid play with consecutive starts.
Bill Smith and Kelly Hrudey alternated through the first 24 games of 1985-86 before Smith started the 25th game. The Rangers set the NHL record when Mike Richter and John Vanbiesbrouck alternated for the first 76 games in 1990-91.
Red Wings center Valtteri Filppula, who logged 19:50, spoke positively of his one season with the Islanders as he faced them for the first time since signing a two-year, $6 million deal to return to Detroit. Filppula, who had 17 goals and 14 assists in 72 games for the Islanders, spent 2005-13 with the Red Wings after they picked him in the third round in 2002.
“I’m happy to be back,” Filppula said. “I’m living in a different place now so that’s a little bit of a change and it’s a new rink. Still, it’s some of the old guys so it’s nice.
“[The Islanders] are a great group of guys and a good team and they’ve showed that this season, too,” Filppula added. “It was more I started here and it was good to come back.”
Rookie defenseman Noah Dobson and forwards Ross Johnston and Michael Dal Colle remained the healthy scratches…Forward Tom Kuhnhackl (injured reserve/lower body) did not accompany the team on the road trip after rejoining his teammates for practice on Friday for the first time since getting hurt on Oct. 25 at Ottawa.