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 ET / 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 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 74 35 35 4 203 230 74
13 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 76 34 40 -3 74
R. Strome 75 15 32 19 47
K. Okposo 54 15 31 -10 46
F. Nielsen 75 13 28 9 41
B. Nelson 76 18 22 9 40
A. Lee 70 23 16 12 39
J. Bailey 64 15 23 4 38
J. Boychuk 66 8 25 9 33
T. Hamonic 66 5 25 16 30
N. Leddy 72 10 19 15 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 35 16 2 .915 2.39
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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