Head coach Doug Weight shuffled his lines in the third period in Wednesday's game and those lines carried through to Thursday's practice, as the New York Islanders prepare for a rematch with the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night at Barclays Center.
The most noteworthy change was Josh Bailey and Tanner Fritz swapping places, as Fritz was practicing alongside John Tavares and Anders Lee, while Bailey was with Brock Nelson and Andrew Ladd.
"A little change is good," Weight said. "[Johnny's line] had some really good chances early and just need a little switch up and I think it's good for all involved. I like Brock and Bails in the third and Ladder was visible and made some plays. We have to get guys going."
Tavares has gone four games without a point. His longest drought this season was five games in early October, but the captain is still at a point-per-game pace with 64 points (30G, 34A) in 64 games.
ISLANDERS PRACTICE LINES:
|LEFT WING ||CENTER ||RIGHT WING |
|ANDERS LEE ||JOHN TAVARES ||TANNER FRITZ |
|ANTHONY BEAUVILLIER ||MATHEW BARZAL ||JORDAN EBERLE |
|ANDREW LADD ||BROCK NELSON ||JOSH BAILEY |
|CHRIS WAGNER/ROSS JOHNSTON ||CASEY CIZIKAS ||CAL CLUTTERBUCK |
EBERLE LEAVES PRACTICE WITH SORENESS:
Jordan Eberle left Thursday's practice with some soreness and did not return, though Weight made it sound more precautionary rather than serious.
"He was just a little banged up last night, he was a little sore," Weight said. "On a day like today you just want to make sure he's ready to go tomorrow. I have not seen him, I just know he's a little sore. We'll evaluate that and I don't think it's anything that will keep him out."
GIBSON LIKELY TO PLAY THIS WEEKEND:
There's a "very good chance" Christopher Gibson will make his season debut this weekend as the Islanders play a back-to-back set against the Montreal Canadiens at home on Friday and on the road vs the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
Gibson was 18-11-3 this season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, posting a 2.31 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. Gibson went 1-1-1 in four appearances with the Islanders during the 2015-16 season. He was recalled on Feb. 19 after Thomas Greiss was placed on IR with a lower-body injury.
"Seeing one the last three games he played he was really good," Weight said. "He was in command of his game and saw north of 35 shots. He's a good kid, good goalie, been working really hard and it's been a while, so we have to get him in there."