UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- An already physical series promises to get even chippier Thursday as several New York Islanders players are still seething over the Game 4 hit delivered by Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson on defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.
Wilson's crushing hit along the end boards in the second period left Visnovsky looking dazed and forced him from the game Tuesday. The veteran blueliner is not expected to play in Game 5 on Thursday in D.C.
Wilson, who received a charging minor penalty on the play, will not face any supplementary discipline for the hit, a source told ESPN.com, but that doesn't mean the Islanders are going to forget about it when the two teams meet again with the series tied at two games apiece.
Team captain John Tavares made that pretty clear when he denounced the hit Wednesday afternoon.
"The puck wasn't anywhere close," Tavares said. "Complete target of a defenseless player."
Tavares' strong comments come on the heels of Kyle Okposo's heated postgame remarks in which he blasted Wilson for his actions Tuesday night.
"He's an idiot," Okposo told reporters after the Islanders' 2-1 overtime loss. "The guy runs around, hits reckless, leaves his feet. There's no place for that."
Tavares and fourth-liner Matt Martin, who is among the league leaders in hits, said that the Isles are fully capable of throwing those types of checks as well, though both players preached the need for discipline.
The Capitals had the NHL's best power play during the regular season, though they have gone just 1-for-7 in the playoffs.
"Obviously, it's a fine line," Martin said after Tuesday's optional practice at Nassau Coliseum. "You see one of our guys go down like that and you get a little upset, but at the same time you have to realize there's a lot at stake."
Said Martin: "The most important thing is winning. You want to be physical, but at the same time you have to be disciplined."
If one thing is clear, however, it's that Visnovsky, a player with previous concussion issues, is likely to miss some time. That's a big blow to the Islanders' blue line, especially considering they are already missing top defenseman Travis Hamonic and have just one right-handed shot currently in the lineup.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano indicated that either Griffin Reinhart or Matt Donovan would get the call if Visnovsky can't play, though he did not completely close the door on top prospect Ryan Pulock drawing into the lineup down the road.
"That's a conversation piece for sure," Capuano said of Pulock's availability, though he made Game 5 sound unlikely.