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Panthers' Trocheck may return vs. Islanders

Florida center game-time decision for Game 5; Zidlicky to replace injured Pulock for New York

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor


Eastern Conference First Round

Best-of-7 series tied 2-2

TV: 8 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports, MSG+, FS-F

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck was a full participant in the morning skate and will be a game-time decision for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Islanders at BB&T Center on Friday.

Trocheck hasn't played since sustaining a foot injury on March 29; he had 53 points (25 goals, 28 assists) in 76 regular-season games.

"It would be huge, no question about it," Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr said. "The way he's played all season, he was a great player for us and probably the biggest surprise on our team.

"On the other side, don't forget he missed a lot of games. It's not easy just to … he couldn't do anything, he couldn't even practice. It's not easy to just jump and start playing again. On the other side, there's a lot of guys that [have] got to be tired, so he might look good."

New York will play without rookie defenseman Ryan Pulock, who sustained an upper-body injury in the third period of Game 4. Veteran defenseman Marek Zidlicky will replace Pulock, who had a goal and two assists in four games.

Pulock is expected to miss the remainder of the series.

"[Zidlicky's] an experienced guy, and I think him and [Thomas Hickey] have some experience together," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said of the 39-year-old Zidlicky, who has played 44 career playoff games, including 24 with the New Jersey Devils during their run to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final. "It's hard to lose another guy. I thought [Pulock] was playing really well for us. He's a young guy coming into his own and really helped us on the power play. Hopefully he can get better soon."

Here are the projected lineups:


Frans Nielsen - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Nikolay Kulemin - Brock Nelson - Josh Bailey

Shane Prince - Alan Quine - Steve Bernier

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Travis Hamonic

Calvin de Haan - Johnny Boychuk

Thomas Hickey - Marek Zidlicky

Thomas Greiss

Jean-Francois Berube

Injured: Anders Lee (broken fibula), Ryan Pulock (upper body), Mikhail Grabovski (upper body), Brian Strait (upper body), Jaroslav Halak (lower body)

Scratched: Ryan Strome, Adam Pelech, Eric Boulton, Christopher Gibson


Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen - Nick Bjugstad - Reilly Smith

Jiri Hudler - Vincent Trocheck - Teddy Purcell

Garrett Wilson - Derek MacKenzie - Logan Shaw

Dmitry Kulikov - Aaron Ekblad

Brian Campbell - Erik Gudbranson

Michael Matheson - Alex Petrovic

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Injured: Dave Bolland (lower body), Willie Mitchell (concussion), Steven Kampfer (lower body)

Scratched: Shawn Thornton, Greg McKegg, Quinton Howden, Logan Shaw, Jakub Kindl

Status report: Strome, who has a goal and an assist in the series, was still on the ice with the Islanders' extras after the optional skate and likely will sit for Bernier, who would make his series debut. Bernier, 31, has 23 points in 68 career postseason games. … Kampfer skated Friday morning but is unlikely to play.

Who's hot: Tavares scored New York's only goal in Game 4. He has seven points in the series. … Petrovic scored the game-winner on Wednesday and has three points this series. Smith did not get a point in Game 4 but has four goals, four assists and a plus-7 rating.

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