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Islanders vs. Bruins playoff updates: Rask, Wahlstrom health; Trotz on keeping lines set

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A few throwaway lines become a story about whether Tuukka Rask is injured. We’ll allow it.

NY Islanders Vs Boston Bruins At TD Garden
Now taking orders for an “Identity Line” lithograph.
Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

No major updates from the New York Islanders’ end on the first of two days between Games 2 and 3 in their second-round series with the Boston Bruins. Both teams were taking Tuesday off other than medical treatment, but the coaches spoke with reporters and shot the breeze.

Rask’s Health Enters the Narrative

One quasi-update from the Bruins that will only get attention because of the news vacuum and the Boston echo chamber: Coach Bruce Cassidy was asked about Tuukka Rask mentioning on Boston radio (before the series) that his health was just “OK,” and the coach acknowledged that the goalie has had some “nagging” injuries all season. But he expects him to playin Game 3, and he emphasized that the maladies have not and should not be a problem, but off we go!

That’s really nothing, but it will get attention, especially after a loss when Rask self-inflicted one goal, and especially from the curious subset of Bruins fandom that periodically calls for Rask’s mask on a pike.

No complaints here!

Trotz Happy with Game 2 Effort

Barry Trotz was asked whether he agreed with the Kyle Palmieri assessment that the Islanders were the better team in their Game 2 overtime win.

That’s affirmative.

“We could’ve been up 5-1, we played a really solid game,” Trotz said. “They’re a really good team, they’re notorious for making that push [when behind] especially that top line. But [that line was] on the ice for, I think it was 1:36, when they got that shot off and we screened our own goalie. I think if we don’t screen him, he makes the save, it’s still 3-1...we go on to win.”

Asked about the Pastrnak-Bergeron-Marchand line and whether they approached them differently in Game 2: “There’s no ‘secret formula’ to playing that line. ... You just have to limit their time and space as a group of five. They’re three great players. We did a better job of it.”

Not Mixing up the Barzal Line

Trotz was asked how far he went into considering mixing up any lines, especially the Mathew Barzal line after Game 1. Ultimately, he said you want to keep the familiar groups together, and challenge them to make sure they’re at their best.

“You’re good enough to get it done. You’ve done it as a group, and as a line, [so] get to your game. Last night I felt we had four lines that were contributing.”

On the closeness of the matchup and expecting ‘a long series’

Why does he see the teams as such a close match, and why did he expet a long series?

“If you look at these two teams, it’s a general mentality. You can go from line to line and dissect them, but I think it’s just an organizational mindset that you have to play a certain way. You have to play a 200-foot game.”

“There’s a blue-collar identity to our team, and I think Boston has the same. It’s part of the DNA.”

Wahlstrom: Day to day to day...

Finally, speaking of line mixes, Trotz said Oliver Wahlstrom is still day-to-day and could be a candidate for Game 3. I’m not counting on it though.

DeBrusk Fined

Off the ice, there was one bit of bookkeeping news: Jake DeBrusk was fined $5,000 for his crosscheck to the back of the head of Scott Mayfield. There is lots of fan chatter about other hits in that game — Sean Kuraly lay dead on the ice after an encounter with Nick Leddy’s elbow or stick, for example — but a neutral observer would probably agree DeBrusk’s was the most brutal of the game’s many uncalled infractions.

So there’s the good ol’ Department of Player Safety, handing out random tickets to 1 out of every 100 speeders. I’m sure everyone feels much safer now.

Casey’s Moment

Much was made, with loving words from Trotz and Josh Bailey in particular, about how Casey Cizikas’ star turn with the OT winner was well deserved for a guy who puts in a ton of work without a lot of glory. Look for his interview/replay on NHL Network today/tonight.