Ryan Pulock and Ryan Strome will be back in the lineup for Game 4 and Marek Zidlicky and Alan Quine will both be scratched, the team announced prior to the start of the game.
Pulock will be on the third defensive pair with Thomas Hickey and Strome will center the third line with Brock Nelson and Steve Bernier on the wings.
Previous Reports and Reactions
Pulock skated and headed to the dressing room early on Friday, while Zidlicky stayed on for extra work, implying Pulock will be in the lineup.
Meanwhile, Strome, who was a healthy scratch in Game 3, appears destined for the lineup as well. Bernier and Quine both stayed on for extra work, leaving it up in the air who will make way in order for Strome to get back in the rotation.
Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Looks like Jack Capuano is hoping his most recent benching of Ryan Strome is enough to break him out of the funk he seemingly finds himself in. There is nothing to suggest Capuano dislikes Strome personally, but the Islanders bench boss is clearly less than thrilled with the way he is playing the game within the larger team concept. Whether it's Steve Bernier or Alan Quine who steps out won't be known until warmups, with each bringing a different style of game (Quine, offensive and Bernier, defensive).
On defense, it will be nice to see Pulock come back in for Marek Zidlicky, who has really struggled with the Tampa speed forwards. While he could certainly help a struggling power play, let's not forget Pulock is still learning the position defensively and has been victimized in the playoffs this year, especially on wide attacks.
Just about a must-win tonight in Brooklyn for the Islanders. Even though it takes four to wrap up a series and not three, it will prove to be a very difficult task, down 3-1, against a Lightning team that knows how to close teams out. And we saw that on full display in Game 2, as they protected a 3-1 third period lead.
To me, having Pulock back changes everything. The Islanders are losing this series because of special teams, plain and simple. They had a chance in both Games 2 and 3 to take commanding leads thanks to some undisciplined play by Tampa, and their power play was flat out garbage. They were too fine, didn't take enough shots, and looked completely disjointed. Seeing Pulock creating space and time for his forwards, all while his howitzer of a shot looms, will be a sight for sore eyes.
Meanwhile, I'm hopeful Strome really responds. Apparently, Capuano doesn't love that Strome plays away from the puck, and with Capuano preaching shooting early and often in Game 3, that's why Strome got a seat in the press box. If Strome can bring a little bit of grit to his game, it could really be the jump the Islanders need. I'm going to guess he'll be in for Quine, but whatever the case, all eyes are going to be on Stromer tonight.