With a playoff spot already assured and a rash of injuries in the Islanders’ lineup, Jack Capuano said the main goal for his team is to get rested and healthy for Game 1 of the playoffs.
With that in mind, a handful of Islanders’ regulars - Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, Thomas Hickey and Marek Zidlicky – will be out for Saturday night’s contest.
“Guys want to get back in, they don’t want to keep sitting out until the playoffs start, but we have to do what’s best for our team,” Capuano said. “That’s what really comes first, is our hockey club.”
The replacements at forward are Alan Quine and Bracken Kearns, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ top two scorers. Kearns leads the Sound Tigers with 22 goals, 30 assists and 52 points, while Quine is second in assists (29) and points (48).
“Quine I’ve seen a lot of,” Capuano said. “He’s got real good speed and puts up a lot of points down there. He deserves an opportunity. Bracken is one of those guys, if you talk to them and us knowing him, he’s played in the NHL before because of his grit and determination and his desire to play hard. He checks really well and they deserve the opportunity.”
On defense, Adam Pelech will be in the lineup on Saturday, his first game since Jan. 14. The Islanders’ defenseman missed nearly three months with a blood clot and recently completed a conditioning stint with the Sound Tigers.
Kyle Okposo is also listed as questionable for Saturday’s game, as he and his wife are expecting the birth of their second child.
Christopher Gibson will start in goal for the Islanders. Gibson is coming off his first NHL win, a 29-save game against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
HAMONIC, HALAK, BERUBE SKATE:
Travis Hamonic, Jaroslav Halak and JF Berube all skated on Saturday morning. Hamonic and Berube both skated with the team during their morning session at Islanders Iceworks, while Halak took shots afterwards.
There is still no timetable for Hamonic and Halak, both of whom suffered regular-season ending injuries, or Berube, who has missed the Islanders last three games with a lower-body injury.