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At the Rink blog

Isles juggle combinations as injury bug bites

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 11:24 AM

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist / At the Rink blog

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Al Montoya will be back in goal for the New York Islanders on Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. But the injuries that came home with the Islanders along with three wins and a shootout loss on their four-game road trip will force some shuffling in front of him.

Forwards Michael Grabner (groin) and Nino Niederreiter (concussion), both of whom were injured in Saturday's 5-4 win at Dallas, are out tonight. So is defenseman Andrew MacDonald, whose injured leg kept him out of games at Chicago and Dallas and will sideline him for at least another two weeks.

Rookie goaltender Kevin Poulin is up from AHL Bridgeport to back up Montoya after Rick DiPietro left Saturday’s game after two periods with a groin injury. The Isles' third veteran goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov, is still recovering from a groin injury sustained on Nov. 17. He has resumed skating, and Isles coach Jack Capuano said the team will know more tomorrow.

"Andrew will be out an extended period, and Nino is still going through all the phases with the concussion," Capuano said after the optional morning skate. "Grabs is definitely out. He's day-to-day. He didn't skate this morning."

Capuano isn't sure exactly who will play with whom.

"We're throwing it around a little bit," he said. "We'll probably move [Brian] Rolston up to start the game with Kyle [Okposo] and Frans [Nielsen]."

The Islanders called up forward Tim Wallace from Bridgeport. He'll dress along with center Michael Haley, a healthy scratch for the past three games. Defenseman Dylan Reese, called up to replace McDonald over the weekend, will also play.

The Islanders are back at the Nassau Coliseum after going 3-0-1 on a four-game trip that included wins in New Jersey, Buffalo and Dallas plus a shootout loss in Chicago.


I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round