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THE CHALLENGE BECOMES GREATER

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Zhitnik out for season, Asham out 4-6 weeks

The Islanders, winners of their last four games, absorbed two major blows to their playoff push during last night's 6-1 win over the Devils at the Meadowlands. No. 1 defenseman Alexei Zhitnik suffered a fractured ankle that will sideline him for the remainder of the season. Forward Arron Asham suffered a high ankle sprain and will be lost to the Islanders for 4-6 weeks.

Bruno Gervais has been recalled from Bridgeport (AHL) to join the Islanders' blueline for their next game, Thursday night in Atlanta. Rookie forward Jeremy Colliton has also been recalled from the Sound Tigers.

"Any team would miss valuable players like Z and Ash," said Islanders head coach Brad Shaw. "But as a coaching staff we're treating today's news the same way we approached last week when we moved some veterans for prospects. This is another opportunity for very talented young players to step up. We have a lot of confidence in Bruno and Jeremy. Our approach for the Atlanta game does not change from the previous four -- let's do everything in our power to get the win."

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