The New York Islanders take on the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night at Centre Bell at 7:30 p.m. Watch on MSG+, MSG GO or NHL.TV. Listen live on 88.7FM WRHU, 103.9FM LI News or online at radio.com/islanders. Read the game preview. Check the game notes.
Barry Trotz did not officially announce his lineup for Thursday's game, citing a few game-time decisions. Thomas Greiss was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate.
Video: Morning Skate Update 3/21: Jordan Eberle
EBERLE A GAME-TIME DECISION:
Jordan Eberle (upper body, day to day) is one of Trotz's game-time decisions. The winger took the optional skate at Centre Bell on Thursday morning after sitting out Wednesday's practice.
"I felt good at morning skate. As of right now I'll be in warmups and I'll be ready to go," Eberle said.
Eberle did not disclose what his ailment was, but that he suffered it during Tuesday's 5-0 loss to Boston. With the Islanders already down two forwards in Valtteri Filppula and Cal Clutterbuck in the game, Eberle said he just played through it.
Video: Morning Skate Update 3/21: Tanner Fritz
Tanner Fritz was on the ice for morning skate in Montreal after being recalled by the Islanders on Wednesday afternoon.
Fritz played four games with the Isles earlier this season and posted 34 points in 57 games for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. With Valtteri Filppula out for four weeks Fritz has a chance for an extended look as the Isles look for reinforcements down the middle.
"I put a lot of work in over the summer and it's a great opportunity and if I get the chance, I'll be ready to go," Fritz said. "I take it day by day, so like I said, if the team needs me then I'll be ready to go."
Barry Trotz said he liked Fritz's speed and tenacity, as well as his versatility, which is needed give how many situations Filppula played in.
"He's got some speed and he's got some competitive fire," Trotz said. "I think he can do a lot of those things that Fil does. He can be useful in everything from the penalty kill to more offensive situations. He can play wing, center, both. That's useful for us."
Video: Morning Skate Update 3/21: Barry Trotz
A win on Thursday would go a long way towards clinching a playoff berth for the Islanders. The Isles current magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 11 (the number of points earned by the Islanders or points lost by Montreal, as they are currently the ninth-place team in the east), but that number can go as low as seven with a regulation win.
As big as that is for the Isles, Thursday's game means even more to Montreal (83 points) who are one point out of the final playoff spot in the East. With nine games to go, it's do-or-die territory for le bleu, blanc et rouge.
"We want to separate ourselves and obviously get closer to clinching. These guys are on the cusp of trying to get in," Eberle said. "The biggest thing is we have to match their intensity. I thought we played them well at home. This is a team that plays well and feeds off their fans. They are fighting to get in, they are going to come with a lot."
CANADIENS LINEUP NOTES:
Montreal is going back with the same lineup from Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, per the team's official site.
CANADIENS PROJECTED LINES:
Tomas Tatar - Phillip Danault - Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen - Max Domi - Andrew Shaw
Jonathan Drouin - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Joel Armia
Paul Byron - Nate Thompson - Jordan Weal
Victor Mete - Shea Weber
Brett Kulak - Jeff Petry
Jordie Benn - Christian Folin
Video: Morning Skate Update 3/21: Anthony Beauvillier