Thirty games into the 2011-12 season, Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano would still like to see more production from his "bottom six". Not fond of the words "third" or "fourth" line because Josh Bailey
and Marty Reasoner
's lines both receive relatively equal playing time, Capuano said he'd like to see both lines start to chip in more offensively.
"At some point, we have to get some scoring here," Capuano said. "We’ll see how it goes during the game (switching Nino Niederreiter
and Tim Wallace) and maybe even flip flop a few other things."
While Niederreiter played a team-low of nine minutes on Saturday and recorded two hits in his first game back following a concussion, Capuano has alluded to the rookie's future as a top six forward after calling him a great kid and a big body who gets pucks to the net.
"The thing with Nino is, if we’re talking about putting him in a top six role, it’s going to take him a little bit of time coming off the concussion and the two injuries that he had to get his conditioning level to where it needs to be," Capuano said.
Another impact player who returned from injury last game was defenseman Andrew MacDonald
. Capuano couldn't help but talk about the influence he has on the Islanders defensive core.
"He’s one of those guys, when I look back at his career and where he’s come from, he deserves everything he’s earned up until this point," Capuano said. "He’s playing well. He gave us big minutes in Saturday's game, but his positioning and his stick angles were able to break up some key plays for us."
MacDonald's one shot scored a key goal for the Isles, letting them take the lead into the third period, while he registered two blocked shots and time on both special teams' units.
With more difficult games approaching, the Isles will need more from not just their returning players, but from all their lines.