Islanders Casey Cizikas unfit to play forces lineup changes

The New York Islanders lineup for Game 3 looks rough after Casey Cizikas was unfit to play.

Leading up to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the New York Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz indicated that some changes to the lineup could happen. Fans weren’t expecting Casey Cizikas to be unfit to play.

The thought was that Barry Trotz would take out Andrew Ladd and replace him with Leo Komarov, or Michael Dal Colle. But with Casey Cizikas out, the lineup looks wildly different than it typically does.

Lineup Changes

With Cizikas out, the fourth line center slot goes to Leo Komarov who’s filled in at the role at various times during the regular season. But with that change, the Islanders essentially bumped up their fourth line to third-line duties.

Lines

Lee-Barza-Eberle
Beauvillier-Nelson-Bailey
Martin-Pageau-Clutterbuck
Brassard-Komarov-Dal Colle

I know a lot of fans might not be too keen when they look at this lineup, and I get it. That bottom six does not look great. But consider how well the Islanders fourth line has played this series. They regularly force the play into the Islanders zone. Martin and Clutterbuck shouldn’t have any issues playing alongside Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the middle.

This is basically the Islanders identity line version 2.0.

Typically the Islanders run four full lines at opponents. That won’t be the case tonight. Tonight, in Game 3 the Islander will clearly roll out three lines and an extra set of players who are there for key moments (like the PK) or to soak up a few minutes.

Brayden Point Out

Casey Cizikas wasn’t the only player deemed unfit to play. Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point also didn’t suit up for Game 3. With 23 points through the playoffs, only Nathan MacKinnon has more production in the postseason than Point. Not having him out there is a big advantage for the Isles.