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Second Round

Islanders mull changing goalie, 'all positions' in Game 4

Greiss could replace Lehner with New York facing elimination against Hurricanes

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Islanders will consider changes "at all positions," including in goal, coach Barry Trotz said heading into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Trotz would not disclose who his starting goalie would be Friday, saying he didn't want the Hurricanes to know until game time.

The Islanders trail the best-of-7 series 3-0 and are in danger of being swept in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in a best-of-7 for the second time in their history; they were eliminated by the New York Rangers in four straight in the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

"We haven't gotten the results we wanted, so yeah, absolutely 100 percent," Trotz said after practice Thursday.


[RELATED: Complete Islanders vs. Hurricanes series coverage]


Goalie Robin Lehner, a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the top goalie in the NHL, made saves on 33 of 36 shots in Game 3. He has allowed six goals in three games against the Hurricanes and has never defeated Carolina in seven career starts, including this series.

Thomas Greiss, who went 23-14-2 with a 2.28 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and five shutouts in 43 games, won three of four starts against the Hurricanes in the regular season.

Lehner accepted the blame after Game 3 when his attempted pass behind his net to forward Josh Bailey was intercepted by Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho and resulted in the game-winning goal by forward Justin Williams at 10:15 of the third period.

Trotz was asked if any possible changes for Game 4 could include his starting goalie.

"I said all positions," Trotz said. "That's a position. All positions. Quite frankly, I haven't told them who's playing in goal and I haven't told them their lines."

The Islanders, who have scored one goal at even strength in 127:46, practiced Thursday without forwards Cal Clutterbuck and Tom Kuhnhackl and defensemen Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield. Clutterbuck played 12:02 Wednesday after being a game-time decision; he sustained an undisclosed injury in Game 2.

"All maintenance," Trotz said.

Forwards Michael Dal Colle and Ross Johnston are available for New York, as well as defensemen Luca Sbisa and Dennis Seidenberg. Sbisa hasn't played since Jan. 12; Seidenberg spent most of the season on a tryout agreement before signing a contract Feb. 24. He has not played in a game this season.

Four teams in NHL history have rallied to win a best-of-7 series after losing the first three, including the Islanders, who came back to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1975 Quarterfinals. The most recent team to accomplish the feat was the Los Angeles Kings against the San Jose Sharks in the 2014 Western Conference First Round.

"There's 23 teams that would love to be playing tomorrow night, and they're not," Trotz said. "You get an opportunity. You can't look back. You can't correct what's already done; you can only correct what's right in front of you. Tomorrow night's a chance to start correcting it in the right way. Focus on that. It's always a great opportunity. You're still alive.

"You've got to man up a little bit here. You've got to realize where you are. Tomorrow's our Game 7. That's how you have to look at it. That's the mindset."

The Islanders find themselves in the same position they had the Penguins in during the first round, with a 3-0 series lead. They finished the job with a 3-1 win at Pittsburgh in Game 4 on April 16 and didn't play again for 10 days before this second-round series got underway.

No team has swept one round in the playoffs and then been swept the next since the Buffalo Sabres in 1993, when they won four straight in the first round against the Boston Bruins but then lost four in a row to the Montreal Canadiens.

"We believe that we can do it," Islanders forward Matt Martin said. "Obviously [to] everybody else, it looks like we're done. But in our minds, we can do it. We believe in ourselves. We're a group that believes we can get the job done. We've just got to plug away.

"We won four in a row last series, so we know we can do it. You've just got to stay focused on the task at hand, get a win tomorrow night and build off that."


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