The Islanders didn’t dwell on Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Rangers at Barclays Center for long. Not with the NHL-leading Lightning visiting Brooklyn on Sunday night.
“It’s a huge, huge test,” said Robin Lehner, who had his winning streak snapped at a career-high eight games on Saturday and — with coach Barry Trotz indicating he would split his goalies this weekend — is likely to back up Thomas Greiss against the Lightning. “In my mind, it’s one of the biggest games of the season. Arguably the best team in the league coming into our building. It’s a measuring stick. We need everyone on board.”
The Lightning went 13-0-1 in December and beat the Islanders, 4-2, in Tampa, Florida, on Nov. 8. Tyler Johnson scored the winner at 18:34 of the third period.
“Great test,” Trotz said. “Best in the league. We’ll see what we’ve got.”
Slowdown for Hickey
Defenseman Thomas Hickey (injured reserve/upper body) missed his 11th straight game and Trotz acknowledged a slowdown in his recovery. Hickey continues to skate on his own but was held out of the Islanders’ last full team practice on Wednesday.
“We want to do what’s best for the player,” Trotz said. “I don’t know if it’s a setback. We just want to be cautious with it. He’s real important for us and we’re not trying to rush him at all. We back him off a little bit and that’s on trainers’ orders.”
The Islanders split the four-game season series with the Rangers . . . Burly left wing Ross Johnston remained in the lineup for rookie Michael Dal Colle for a second straight game but logged only 5:14 . . . Defenseman Luca Sbisa dressed after being a healthy scratch the previous seven games. Adam Pelech was a healthy scratch for the first time since Nov. 18 . . . Anthony Beauvillier’s 12th goal was his first in 10 games.