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Capuano impressed in Ullstrom’s NHL debut

David Ullstrom led the Sound Tigers with 12 goals and 14 points at the time of his recall

Tuesday, 11.22.2011 / 5:41 PM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Capuano impressed in Ullstrom\u2019s NHL debut
David Ullstrom played for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday night, where he was leading the team in scoring with 12 goals and 14 points. Sunday morning, he was on a plane headed to Pittsburgh to make his NHL debut.

Talking about his early season success, Ullstrom said, “This year I came in a little bit more comfortable right off the hop. I got lucky and scored some goals down there. I think I’ve come a long ways since I came last year for sure.”

Though he didn’t score a goal in his NHL debut, Ullstrom was one of the bright spots in the Islanders shutout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night.

Sidney Crosby moves the puck in front of David Ullstrom on November 21, 2011 at Consol Energy Center. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
“It was exciting to get out there and play against those guys, but obviously it was a tough loss,” Ullstrom said in the locker room following Monday night’s game. “I was just trying to work hard and be in the right spots and be reliable, work hard.”

Compiling four hits, two shots and winning two of three faceoffs in 13:30, that kind of work ethic is exactly what Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano has been looking for.

“I thought David played well,” Capuano said. “Between him and Matt Martin, they had 13 or 14 hits on the sheet, but when you break the video down they had more than that.”

Capuano added, “He had energy, it was good to see him shoot the puck and have a little puck possession. He was obviously a little nervous in that atmosphere, but I thought he played well and he skated well and did some good things for us.”

Ullstrom, who played all of last season at center, has played the first few weeks of the 2011-12 season on the left wing. Monday night, he resumed that position alongside Martin and Josh Bailey.

“Growing up, I played a little bit of winger, little bit of center,” Ullstrom said. “My last year in Sweden, my first year pro, I played on the wing a lot so it’s not anything I think of. I can play wherever they need me.”

Playing on the wing is actually beneficial to the 22-year-old’s game.

Kris Letang moves the puck in front of the defense of Frans Nielsen and David Ullstrom on November 21, 2011 at Consol Energy Center. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
“I can use my speed a little bit more on the wing, forecheck and create turnovers that way,” Ullstrom said. “And it obviously changes how I hit and my overall offensive game. I like to play on the wing. I feel really comfortable there.”

Last season, the Jonkoping, Sweden native made his North American debut after playing professionally for his hometown team, HV 71 of Jonkoping during the 2009-10 season. Coming to North America can be an adjustment for European players making the transition to the smaller ice surface, but Ullstrom actually sees it as more of an advantage than a hindrance.

While the numbers indicate a solid rookie season, he finished fourth on the team in points (41) with 17 goals and 24 assists in 67 games - Ullstrom’s first North American season proved to have its share of adversity as he found it difficult to consistently contribute offensively.

Coming into his second year, Ullstrom changed how he prepared.

“I just came in mentally ready and I knew what to expect,” Ullstrom said. “As far as training camps go and stuff like that. I came in more comfortable this year. I worked on my strength and conditioning (last summer) and overall strength. So I just came in good shape and I was mentally prepared.”

So even though he didn’t get the Islanders out of their scoring slump, his comfort level with the team gave him the ability to be more relaxed when it came to playing his game.

“I was just trying to do my best and I know I did,” Ullstrom said Monday night. “This is a great league and there are a lot of good players so you have to be at your best level every shift. It’s all about details and habits.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 47 22 24 -1 46
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 47 9 25 17 34
B. Nelson 47 15 15 6 30
F. Nielsen 47 9 17 5 26
J. Boychuk 37 4 20 17 24
J. Bailey 35 8 14 9 22
N. Leddy 47 7 14 15 21
N. Kulemin 47 11 9 1 20
A. Lee 41 13 5 8 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 26 9 0 .913 2.37
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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