After watching Saturday’s game from the press box, Ryan Strome will be back in the lineup Monday night for the New York Islanders.
Strome, who has five points in seven games, was scratched after the Islanders’ 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Friday night, a move intended to jolt the team rather than punish an individual player. The Islanders did beat St. Louis 3-2 in overtime on Saturday, and now Strome will resume his post alongside John Tavares on the top line.
“The team lost, you have to look at what happened and I guess I was the guy,” Strome said. “I didn’t think it was going to be me, but you have to play better and if you don’t like it, prove it and that’s what I am going to do.”
Strome said he would play with a little more fire Monday, so it’s fitting that the Islanders take on the Calgary Flames. The Islanders forward said he appreciated the open communication with head coach Jack Capuano, as both stressed the importance of consistency in the forward’s game.
“I know what I’m capable of. It’s just a matter of consistency,” Strome said. “I have to do it every game, not every other game, or every third game. It’s every shift, it’s part of being a pro. It’s my biggest challenge, facing another obstacle now and I have to overcome it.”
Capuano scratched Strome for one game last March and Strome responded by scoring seven points (3G, 4A) in the final 11 games of the regular season and another four in the playoffs. That’s the desired result of Saturday’s move.
“He’s very motivated,” Tavares said. “I know he’s going to respond well, he handles adversity very well … he’s only going to get better from it and learn from it.”
“He’s a top-six forward in this league,” Capuano said. “He’s going to continue to be a top-six forward in this league.”
HICKEY OUT WITH LOWER-BODY INJURY
Thomas Hickey was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury Monday, suffered in Saturday night’s 3-2 OT win over the St. Louis Blues. There is no official timetable, but head coach Jack Capuano said he’s going to be out for a little while.
Marek Zidlicky draws back into the lineup and will likely skate alongside Brian Strait – Hickey’s partner in St. Louis. Capuano said losing Hickey – who only missed one game over the previous two seasons – was a tough blow.
“He’s one of the guys we rely on back there,” Capuano said. “He’s a veteran guy and he flies under the radar a little bit. He takes hits to make plays, he’s a smart, intelligent player, he breaks the puck out extremely well. In today’s NHL you need guys like that on the back end. It’ll give other guys a chance to come in and do the job. It’s a big loss for our hockey club.”
HALAK, ORTIO IN GOAL
Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders tonight, while Joni Ortio gets the start for Calgary.