As Jaroslav Halak took off his equipment after practice Sunday, the sight of Thomas Greiss’ locker two spots down was eye-catching. It was untouched.
The backup goalie did not participate because he “just tweaked something” in his 45-save shutout in a 3-0 win at Carolina on Friday, Islanders coach Doug Weight said.
“He’s pretty good,” Weight said of Greiss, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. “We are going to do some evaluating and make a final ruling here moving forward. We’re prepared for anything. Obviously, Bridgeport [the Islanders’ minor-league affiliate] is close, so if we need to do something for [Monday], we’ll be fine.”
Greiss’ fellow goalie didn’t seem alarmed. “Everybody has to just keep moving forward,” said Halak, who had a 50-save shutout against the Rangers on Thursday. “We just need to make sure we take care of our games and try to get as many points as we can.”
The Islanders enter Monday’s home game against Minnesota with 64 points. They are tied for the second wild-card spot with Carolina, which lost to New Jersey, 3-2, in overtime on Sunday night.
To make the playoffs, the Isles will need to improve defensively. They are last in the league in goals allowed (213), goals against per game (3.55), shots allowed per game (36.2) and overall shots allowed (3,049).
“Look, the whole shot total thing is almost starting to bug us a little bit,” said forward Anders Lee, who is second on the team in goals (29) and fourth in points (46). “Because, yeah, we want to keep it low, but that’s the story that’s continued to write itself. There’s no way we’re going out there with the mindset that it’s OK to let up 30, 40 shots. We just have to continue to focus on our ‘D’ zone. We’ve made some adjustments and it’s starting to work out for us.”
After two shutouts, things could be changing at just the right time for the Islanders. “We want to turn the corner. We want to put together three, four games in a row with wins and start to really gain that momentum,” Lee said. “We are all sick of this one-win, one-loss, one-win, two-losses thing. It’s been a constant roller coaster, and we just want to start going up.”