NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With Josh Bailey returning from an upper-body injury, Ryan Strome will be a healthy scratch as the Islanders’ Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Tampa Bay Lightning comes to Brooklyn on Tuesday night.
Strome had two assists in the Isles’ 5-3 Game 1 victory over Tampa Bay before being held without a point in Game 2. The right winger has a team-best plus-3 defensive rating in the playoffs.
But for Game 3, Islanders coach Jack Capuano is opting instead to go with Bailey, who was injured in the final game of the first round against the Florida Panthers.
“If he can go, he’s going to play, there’s no doubt,” Capuano said Tuesday morning, the New York Daily News reported. “He’s a veteran guy for us. The toughest thing … is telling guys they’re not going to play, because we have guys on our team who’ve battled all year when guys have been out.
“So the guys who aren’t playing, there’s no rhyme or reason why they’re not in, it’s just left shot, right shot, special teams. During the course of the year against the opposition, especially the team we’re playing, what their stats were against that team. You look at all kinds of things, but it’s tough.”
Strome seemed somewhat frustrated with Capuano’s decision, Newsday reported.
“I honestly don’t really have much to say,” the 22-year-old former first-round draft pick said after the team’s optional morning skate at Barclays Center on Tuesday.
“I try to be a good a team guy, and I don’t want to draw any negative attention to myself,” Strome said. “It’s a big opportunity for us here tonight, and I’m sure the guys that are playing will do the job.”
During the regular season, Bailey and Strome put up comparable numbers — Bailey had 12 goals and 20 assists in 81 games, while Strome had eight goals and 20 assists in 71 contests.
Ryan Pulock will miss his fifth straight game with an army injury.
The series is tied at 1-1.