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.”
Capuano is also tinkering with his lineup, putting Mikhail Grabovski, Steve Bernier and Brian Strait in for Brock Nelson, Shane Prince and Ryan Pulock.
“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.”
Grabovski returns to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 19 (10 games) after being sidelined with an upper-body injury. Bernier draws in for the first time since Feb. 25 (8 games) and Strait returns after sitting out Monday’s contest vs. Florida.
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