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Bailey back from Saturday injury, in Isles' lineup

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey, who suffered a neck injury on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, will be in the lineup on Monday when his team faces the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Bailey was forced to exit Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 16:23 mark of the second period after taking a hard hit behind his own net from left wing Chris Kunitz.

"I feel good," Bailey told "I was a little nervous at first, and had to kind of gather my thoughts. I felt it in the neck right away and anytime you feel it in the neck, you get a little nervous."

Kunitz had just gotten a shot on Isles goalie Evgeni Nabokov from the left circle when the rebound skittered into the corner where both Bailey and Kunitz would ultimately meet. Kunitz drove himself toward Bailey and struck him between his back and left side. As Bailey was off balance, he went headfirst into the boards behind Nabokov's right shoulder.

Kunitz was issued a major penalty for checking from behind and a game misconduct on the play.

Bailey has seen replays of the hit and doesn't feel it was intentional.

"I was coherent through the whole thing, I just had the pain in the neck," he said. "The hit happened at a weird spot on the ice. I think if it happens at center ice, nothing even comes of it. He caught me off balance a little bit, near the boards. The puck took a weird bounce, so it was combination of a bunch of things that led to a scary play."

Bailey has five goals and nine points while averaging 15:32 of ice time in 25 games for the Islanders this season.

"That line of Frans [Nielsen], Josh and Oki [Kyle Okposo] has been generating a lot of offense and making good decisions with the puck and getting some results, which is nice," Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald told "They're all very skilled and they play a good defensive game, too. They have a lot of responsibilities, so it's a lot to ask of a line to go out and score goals and check against top lines, but we know they're more than capable of doing it."

The Islanders lost their third straight game on Saturday in which they were tied or ahead after two periods. The club is 1-14-1 when they score two or fewer goals, but have averaged 4.0 goals-per game in their 16 victories this season.

Here's the possible lineup for the Islanders against the Devils on Monday:

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Brad Boyes

Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo

Michael Grabner - Keith Aucoin - Eric Boulton

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Colin McDonald

Travis Hamonic - Andrew MacDonald

Thomas Hickey - Lubomir Visnovsky

Mark Streit - Radek Martinek

Evgeni Nabokov

Kevin Poulin

Injured: David Ullstrom (lower body)

Scratched: Matt Carkner

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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