A variety of updates both official and undeclared came out of the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning's respective practices on the second off day between Games 2 and 3 of their second-round playoff series.
Pulock Ready? Bailey Maybe. Halak Not
As long expected, defenseman Ryan Pulock's return looks increasingly likely for Game 3. Jack Capuano has indicated he would probably be inserted back into the lineup as soon as he was healthy after suffering an injury in the first-round series with the Florida Panthers.
On Monday he was skating in regular rotations with Thomas Hickey. However Marek Zidlicky, whom Pulock would likely replace in the lineup, also received some power play rotations, according to Post writer Brett Cyrgalis.
Also practicing in full was Josh Bailey, as expected. Bailey had quite a tough series against Florida, so we'll see if the coaching staff is as eager to put him back in as it is with Pulock.
With his own recovery timetable and the outstanding play of Thomas Greiss, goaltender Jaroslav Halak shouldn't be a factor in this series. But he is getting closer too.
Jaro spoke with the media today. Said he's taking it day by day. #Isles— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) May 2, 2016
More fro Compton with full quotes from Halak in this story at nhl.com.
On that note, no-frills, deadpan goalie Greiss ("I just enjoy playing hockey") added another gem to his quotebook:
When asked why he became a goalie, Greiss said: "I was too lazy to skate."— Joe McDonald (@ESPNJoeyMac) May 2, 2016
Not too lazy to be a dynamo in the crease, however.
As a whole, the team spoke of delivering a better performance than either of the first two games and being confident they have the team to do so. Various quotes on that topic came from players like Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Okposo, via the team's official Twitter feed:
"We still haven't played our best in this series. We're excited to get on the ice & prove what we can do as a team."
The team also spoke of handling the suddenly luxurious amount of rest offered by this round's quirky schedule, with two days off between each of the first four games. Neil Best reported on that in Newsday.
After Game 2 coach Jack Capuano spoke of potential changes with the series shifting to New York and the Isles getting the last change. One focus will be matching the Lightning's fabled "triplets" line, which was reunited and shows no signs of being broken up again.
Condra, Blunden Back? Stralman, Brown, Still Out
On the Lightning side, Erik Condra was back in full practice and appears likely to rejoin Tampa Bay's lineup. He was knocked out early in Game 1 by a legal check from Casey Cizikas. For what it's worth, he didn't fault Cizikas for doing anything but delivering a legal check.
Condra didn't appear to take issue with Cizikas, saying he got hit square at a weird distance from the back boards.
"If I'm closer or further away," he said. "Nothing happens."
That same story noted that Mike Blunden, who missed both of the first two games, was also participating in full practice and hoping to make Tuesday's Game 3.
Starting to get a sense of Lightning's forward depth? These are all without Steven Stamkos and J.T. Brown, too -- neither of whom appears close to returning, despite Jon Cooper's fun with playoff misdirection:
When asked if Stralman or Brown could play in this series, Cooper channeled "Dumb & Dumber," line. "So you're telling me there's a chance."— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) May 2, 2016
But anyway, Smith tweeted the lines from practice, reinforcing that the Lightning have the ingredients for more than four good lines when healthy:
Look for more coverage on these topics and other items from all of those reporters as their stories are filed. Game 3 is Tuesday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, televised at 7 p.m. EDT on NBC Sports and CBC.