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Morning Skate Updates: Islanders vs Bruins

News, notes and quotes ahead of Tuesday's Islanders-Bruins game

by Cory Wright and Sasha Kandrach NYIslanders /

The New York Islanders take on the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night at NYCB Live - Nassau Coliseum at 7 p.m. Buy tickets. Watch on MSG+, MSG GO or NHL.TV. Listen live on 88.7FM WRHU, 103.9FM LI News or online at Read the game preview. Check the game notes.


After missing two games with a lower-body injury, Casey Cizikas will a game-time decision on Tuesday night. Johnny Boychuk is healthy, but will likely not play, as Barry Trotz opts to stick with his current defensive arrangement. Robin Lehner was the first goalie off the ice, but there is no official word on the Islanders starter. 

Tweet from @NYIslanders: .@zeeker11 is participating in today���s skate. #Isles

Casey Cizikas was a late scratch on Saturday afternoon, leaving warmups with a lower-body strain in Detroit. The ailment kept him out of Sunday's game as well, but he could return on Tuesday, as he's a game-time decision according to Barry Trotz. 

"I felt good out there today," Cizikas said. "Today was the first day where I actually pushed it on the ice a little bit and I felt good. I felt a lot better than I thought I would."

Cizikas was given a maintenance day by Trotz last Friday, after the coach said his energetic center's tank was running low. That combined with the strain kept Cizikas out for the two games, with Leo Komarov taking his place between Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck. 

If Cizikas returns, the Islanders will get their third-leading goal scorer back, as Cizikas has 19 tallies this season, doubling his previous career high. The Islanders will also get one of their top penalty killers back if Cizikas plays. 

Video: Isles Morning Skate: Casey Cizikas


Robin Lehner's turnaround has garnered a lot of attention around the NHL this season - and rightfully so. Thomas Greiss' spectacular season has flown a little more under the radar, but on Monday, Greiss was in the NHL spotlight, earning first star of the week honors. 

"I'm happy about it, but it's more of a team thing," Greiss said. "The guys have played really well in the last couple of weeks, so it's a great team honor and I'm happy I got it." 

The Islanders goaltender posted a 3-1-0 record with a .959SV%, a 1.25 GAA and a shutout throughout those four games. During that stretch, the German netminder led the NHL in wins (3), shots faced (121) and saves (116).

After posting a 3.82 GAA and .892 SV% last season, Greiss is fourth in the NHL with a 2.21 GAA and a .928 SV%, along with a career-high five shutouts. 

"It's well deserved," captain Anders Lee said of Greiss' star honor. "Both of our goalies have gotten some well-deserved recognition and now it's Greisser's turn. He's the reason we had a great week. Those two guys have done a great job carrying us." 

Video: Morning Skate Update 3/19: Thomas Greiss


Charlie McAvoy could recite the goal song at the Nassau Coliseum if you asked him to. The 21-year-old is no stranger to the energetic atmosphere of the rink, coming to games as a fan growing up, but Tuesday marks the first time that McAvoy takes the ice at the Coliseum as a Boston Bruin.  

"This is home for me," McAvoy said. "It's going to be awesome to have all of my family and what seems like all of Long Beach there tonight...It's a special building. All things put together, it's a really special place."

Admittedly, and despite growing up 20 minutes from the Coliseum, the Long Beach native was a Rangers fan as a kid, but he and his hometown pal, Toronto Marlies forward Jeremy Bracco took in their fair share of Islanders games behind the home net.

"The Rangers used to practice on Long Beach back in the 70s," McAvoy said. "So most of Long Beach are Rangers fans. But I always saw games here. Tickets were cheaper and we would circle games on the calendar when guys we wanted to see would come through."

Video: Morning Skate Update 3/19: Barry Trotz

McAvoy's played a few games against the Islanders in Brooklyn's Barclays Center, but Tuesday will feel a little closer to home for the Long Islander. The Bruins arrived in New York last night and the defenseman took a trip out to his hometown to catch up with family and friends and visited a few childhood favorites.

"It's just surreal to be back on Long Island," McAvoy said. "I went and saw my family yesterday. We had a dinner at a place where I grew up going to eat, this Italian place Gino's, in Long Beach."

McAvoy is still trying to grasp the magnitude of his homecoming and representing his prideful town in a building where his love for the game grew.  

"It's just crazy I was just thinking about it a lot yesterday and reflecting a little bit," McAvoy said. "It's one of those things where I go back to my town and there's so many kids that play hockey and so many people who love the game. It really is a hockey town. [I ask myself] why me? Why am I more fortunate than other people to make it and to live this dream? I'm truly blessed. I'm so thankful for the opportunity."

Video: Morning Skate Update 3/19: Anders Lee

David Pastrnak is likely to return to the Bruins lineup after missing 16 games with a thumb injury, but is officially listed as a game-time decision. Pastrnak has 66 points (31G, 35A) in 56 games this season and is still tied for the Bruins goal scoring lead despite missing the last 16 contests. 


Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak 
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Charlie Coyle
Danton Heinen - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner 
Joakim Nordstrom - Noel Acciari - David Backes

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Brandon Carlo - John Moore 
Steve Kampfer - Connor Clifton

Rask in goal

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