“If he can go, he’s going to play.”
That was head coach Jack Capuano on Josh Bailey’s status on Tuesday morning after the Islanders took morning skate.
Bailey, who missed Games 1 and 2 with an upper-body injury, practiced with the team on Monday, participated in morning skate on Tuesday and came off with the likely regulars. He said he’s feeling good and itching to get back out on the ice.
“It’s a big time of year and you’re chomping at the bit to get that opportunity to compete and contribute,” Bailey said. “[I’m] hopefully looking forward to getting it here tonight.”
Bailey stayed on Long Island instead of travelling with the Islanders to Tampa, an experience he said was tough, even though he knew it was best for his recovery.
“It’s not fun,” Bailey said. “I don’t think I’ve missed anything all year. I’ve always been there on the road. It’s tough; you want to be there with your teammates, supporting them even if you’re not playing.”
“Obviously you want to be there, but a little extra time at home to rest and recuperate is what’s going to get back quicker.”
Bailey’s status will be determined closer to game time, but Capuano ruled out defenseman Ryan Pulock, who is also on the mend.
“Ryan isn’t feeling up to par yet, but he’s close,” Capuano said.
Thomas Greiss will start in goal for the Islanders. Ben Bishop is likely in net again for the Lightning.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper will reveal his lineup at 5:30 p.m.
Injured defensemen Anton Stralman and Matt Carle both took the optional morning skate for Tampa, while injured forward J.T. Brown did as well.