After missing Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury, Casey Cizikas will be back in the Islanders’ lineup on Saturday night in Dallas.
“He’s one of our best players,” Jack Capuano said of Cizikas. “That’s what Islanders hockey is all about, grit and determination and that’s what he brings to the table.”
Cizikas will center the Islanders’ energetic and physical fourth line with Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck, a line Capuano has kept together for nearly the entire season. Cizikas is one of the Islanders’ top penalty killers, but is having a career-year offensively, setting new marks in assists (18) and points (25).
“He’s had success on the offensive side of things because he plays within the team concept, plays within the framework that we want and he does the right things,” Capuano said. “When you do the right things, you get results.”
Brock Nelson-John Tavares-Ryan Strome
Josh Bailey-Frans Nielsen-Kyle Okposo
Shane Prince-Nikolay Kulemin-Anders Lee
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck
An injury to Mikhail Grabovski is forcing Jack Capuano to change his lineup against the Nashville Predators.
Grabovski, who returned from a 10-game absence to play 17 minutes against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night, approached team trainers the next day reporting some undisclosed issues. Capuano said the team sent Grabovski back to Long Island for further evaluation.
“I thought he played pretty well,” Capuano said. “[The next day] he had a couple of issues. We decided to send him back to get checked up.”
Capuano didn’t reveal his lineup as a result, but did say that Thomas Greiss would start in goal.
“Pretty sure I know what we’re going to be doing on the back end and I know what we’re doing in goal, but up front, I don’t know,” Capuano said.
Greiss (19-7-4) is back between the pipes after sitting out Tuesday’s game against the Penguins; the second half of a back-to-back set for the Islanders. Past performance factors into Capuano’s goalie decisions, so despite a strong 33-save performance from JF Berube in Pittsburgh, Greiss’ 44-save win over Nashville in October likely solidified his start.
Stay tuned to NewYorkIslanders.com and @NYIslanders for the latest lineup updates. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. eastern and warmups will take place at 7:30 p.m.
Jean-Francois Berube will start for the Islanders on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.
Berube is 1-1-0 this season, earning his first-career NHL win on Feb. 2, stopping 40-of-43 shots in a win over the Minnesota Wild. His most recent appearance was in relief of Jaroslav Halak against the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 6.
“Back to back games,” Jack Capuano said of the decision to start Berube. “He is going to play down the stretch, he’s going to get a great opportunity here tonight against a really good hockey team.”
“It’s tough to make decisions, but to get those three guys back in, they have fresh legs and hopefully it can give us some energy,” Capuano said. “I want to get these guys in. I didn’t want to play here tonight, go back with a lot of the same guys and see some fatigue in some guys and say shoulda, woulda, coulda.”
Capuano said that sitting Prince and Nelson were not indictments of their play, reaffirming that he just wanted fresh legs in the lineup in back-to-back games.
“I’m not look at those guys sitting because of their effort or the way they’ve played,” he said. “It’s a tough decision to make, they’ve played well. At the end of the day it was more or less getting fresh legs in the lineup. Come the next game, those guys will probably be back in."
Mikhail Grabovski - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Ryan Strome
Anders Lee - Nikolay Kulemin - Steve Bernier
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Calvin de Haan returns to the Islanders lineup Monday after missing the previous four games with a lower-body injury. Brian Strait will come out of the lineup for de Haan, who will be paired with Travis Hamonic. That means Thomas Hickey will play with Ryan Pulock.
De Haan had missed five games from Feb. 18-28, came back for a pair of games in Vancouver and Winnipeg, before missing the most recent four. The defenseman said that the Islanders strong play on the road allowed him to take the necessary time to get back to 100%.
“It took a little longer to heal up,” de Haan said of his ailment. “It wasn’t really a problem, we were just being cautious and we’re in a good position right now and they want me to be healthy for the playoffs.”
The Islanders got more good news on the injury front, as Mikhail Grabovski was activated off injured reserve, but will not play on Monday night. Grabovski has been out since Feb. 23 with an upper-body injury.
“Want to get him a few more days, but he’s coming along,” Jack Capuano said of Grabovski.
Thomas Greiss will start in goal for the Islanders. There are no changes at forward.
Calvin de Haan (day-to-day, lower body) skated with the Islanders at Friday’s practice.
The Islanders’ defenseman has missed three straight games and hadn’t skated with the team since returning from the Western portion of their seven-game road trip. Jack Capuano did not offer a timetable on his return, or the return of Mikhail Grabovski and Marek Zidlicky.
#Isles Lines at Practice:— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 11, 2016
Jaroslav Halak will miss the rest of the New York Islanders’ regular season.
“He’s out at least six weeks,” Jack Capuano said. “We’ll go from there.”
The Islanders' goaltender suffered a lower-body injury in Tuesday's 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, seemingly in pain after stretching out for a point shot. Halak is 18-13-4 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage this season.
“He’s an experienced guy who’s been down this stretch before and played some big games for us as we’ve made our playoff run,” Capuano said. “It’s a big loss for our team, but guys are going to get an opportunity to step in and hopefully can do the job.”
Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube will take over the reigns in Halak’s absence. Greiss is starting for the Islanders in Toronto and has a stellar record of his own, sporting an 18-6-3 record with a league-leading .930 SV%.
“This is something new for Thomas going forward,” Capuano said. “I just know the kind of kid he is, the character that he has and he competes hard.
“Knowing [Greiss], he will embrace the challenge,” the coach added. “JF is chomping to get in there and play well like he did after the break. Both of those guys work extremely hard and are going to get an opportunity.”
With the NHL playoffs starting in approximately five weeks – the Islanders’ regular season ends on April 10 – Halak’s earliest return would be in the first round.
“Our guys have the confidence in our goaltending,” Capuano said. “At the end of the day we have to play the hockey that we have to play with the injuries that we have. Guys can’t try to put too much pressure on themselves. Guys have to make sure we play simple hockey, simplify and do the little things.”
“We have to maintain the structure and foundation of what Islanders hockey is.”
CAPUANO ON HALAK'S INJURY
Injuries are forcing Jack Capuano to shuffle his defensive pairs for Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We’re missing some key guys, but it gives other guys the opportunity to step up,” Capuano said. “You just don’t like missing these guys at this time of the year.”
Ryan Pulock draws back into the lineup and Capuano said his inclination is to pair him with Brian Strait. Pulock adds an offensive presence to the pairing, as Strait is traditionally a stay-at-home defenseman.
“When you’re playing with a guy like [Strait] it gives you a little bit more room to get up in the play a little bit,” Pulock said. “If I get my chance to do that tonight I’ll be looking to do that. I have to focus on being good defensively.”
Pulock who played his first three NHL games on the Islanders’ road trip, will make his home debut on Tuesday. The rookie holds the distinction of scoring the first Islanders’ preseason goal at Barclays Center last season.
Jaroslav Halak will be between the pipes for the Islanders on Tuesday. Halak has won four of his last five games and is coming off a 22-save performance against the Rangers.
“[We’ll] go right back with him,” Capuano said of Halak. “It’s a big game for us and he’s a big-time goalie. He’ll go in there and play hard.”
Capuano said he expects to go back to the same forwards.
After playing six games on their seven game road trip, the New York Islanders were back practicing on Long Island on Saturday.
Mikhail Grabovski – who stayed home during the Islanders trip – was on the ice Saturday, but will not play Sunday vs. the Rangers. Grabovski was placed on IR with an upper-body injury on Feb.28 retroactive to Feb. 19.
“He went through practice, but he’s still some time away. The fact that he’s out there is a good thing, but you go through and have to battle a little bit. We’ll just see how he feels and progresses.”
Calvin de Haan did not skate on Saturday and is listed as day-to-day with an lower-body injury. Capuano ruled out de Haan for Sunday's game against the New York Rangers.
“He’ll be out, he’s day-to-day right now,” Capuano said. “A guy that doesn’t practice the day before for me, I don’t want to throw him right in the fire.”
The fire will come on Sunday at 5 p.m. when the Islanders visit Madison Square Garden and the New York Rangers for the first time this season. The Isles are 2-0-0 against their cross-town rivals this season with wins coming at Barclays Center in December and January.
Jack Capuano hit a career coaching milestone on Thursday night.
The Islanders’ bench boss picked up his 200th career NHL win, all with the Islanders.
In six seasons, Capuano is 200-168-53 (.538) and is second only to Al Arbour in games coached and games won for the Islanders.
Thomas Greiss will start in goal for the Islanders on Thursday night in Winnipeg.
Greiss is coming off a 31-save performance in the Islanders’ 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. The Islanders’ goaltender has won eight of his last 10 starts, going 8-1-1 over that span. Greiss only has one regulation loss in 2016.
Greiss was in goal for the first Islanders-Jets meeting this season, stopping 22-of-24 shots in a 4-2 win. The 30-year-old is 17-6-3 this season with a league-leading .931 save percentage.
With Greiss in goal, the Islanders are sending out the same lineup from Tuesday’s win. That means Dauphin, Manitoba’s Ryan Pulock will get a chance to skate in his home province.
“If I were to play in Winnipeg, I’d have a lot of family and friends there, so that would definitely be exciting,” Pulock said before the team’s road trip.
Well, it’s happening Ryan. Put on a show for them.
Jack Capuano is also shaking up his lines for Thursday's game. Brock Nelson will skate on the top line with John Tavares and Ryan Strome, while Nikolay Kulemin will center Shane Prince and Anders Lee.
Brock Nelson - John Tavares - Ryan Strome
Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Shane Prince - Nikolay Kulemin - Anders Lee
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck