Injuries are forcing Jack Capuano to shuffle his defensive pairs for Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Marek Zidlicky is currently day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will miss Tuesday’s divisional contest and Calvin de Haan will miss a second straight game with a lower-body injury.
“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.