Robin Lehner will dress but won't start for the New York Islanders against the Montreal Canadiens at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV).
Lehner took part in the optional morning skate, and coach Barry Trotz said he will dress as the backup for Thomas Greiss, who has started New York's past three games. Lehner practiced Wednesday for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury during the third period of a 5-4 shootout win against the Ottawa Senators on March 5.
"When you suspect any type of head injury, it's a process," he said after practice. "You have to go through it. It's been good. It's nice to be back. It [stinks] to be away from the guys at this time of the year. Just being around the guys and being around the team is a huge thing."
Lehner is 20-11-5 with a 2.19 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 38 games (36 starts) this season. Among the 54 goalies to play at least 20 games, he's third in GAA and fourth in save percentage.
Greiss went 2-1-0 in Lehner's absence, including a 2-0 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. Goalie Christopher Gibson, who backed up Greiss, was returned to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.
New York is expected to be without defenseman Johnny Boychuk for the second straight game after he sustained an upper-body injury against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Boychuk didn't practice Wednesday but skated Thursday morning, his first time on ice since the injury. Coach Barry Trotz said the 35-year-old is making progress.
The Islanders (40-22-7) are second in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind the Washington Capitals and two ahead of the third-place Pittsburgh Penguins.