After sitting out the past two games, Edmonton Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk will return as the team's starter Thursday against the New York Islanders.
Edmonton has gone 0-2-1 to start its season-long, six-game road trip, and Dubnyk has come under fire for his lack of stability in the crease.
"He hasn't played as well as we'd hoped," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said Thursday. "I talked to him this morning and he's ready to go out and battle."
Perceived as the team's franchise goaltender coming into the season, the 27-year old started four of Edmonton's first five games, going 0-3-1 with a 5.43 goals-against average and .829 save percentage. Those glaring numbers have led to speculation the Oilers could be looking to trade for an established starting goaltender.
That speculation wasn't aided by Dubnyk being kept out of the Oilers' past two games. In his place, backup Jason LaBarbera allowed seven goals in two losses.
"It's not like I forgot how to play goal," Dubnyk said. "It will be a couple of small adjustments that will make the difference. I just have to relax back there and take on every save one at a time."
Dubnyk will try to regain his confidence against an Islanders team that isn't looking to make too many changes despite losing three straight, including a 4-3 shootout loss Tuesday against the previously winless Buffalo Sabres.
"We played well in the third period," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "To me, it was one of our best third periods of the year. We didn't come out with two points, we weren't rewarded."
Evgeni Nabokov will start in net for the Islanders, and Colin McDonald and Matt Donovan will return to the lineup. Brock Nelson, Matt Carkner and Eric Boulton will sit.
Here are the projected lineups for the Oilers and Islanders:
Taylor Hall - Mark Arcobello - Jordan Eberle
David Perron - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Nail Yakupov
Ryan Smyth - Boyd Gordon - Ales Hemsky
Ryan Jones - Will Acton - Mike Brown
Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz
Anton Belov - Jeff Petry
Ladislav Smid - Nick Schultz
Scratched: Luke Gazdic
Injured: Jesse Joensuu (undisclosed), Sam Gagner (jaw), Ryan Hamilton (knee), Steve MacIntyre (knee), Corey Potter (back)
Kyle Okposo - John Tavares - Michael Grabner
Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Matt Moulson - Peter Regin - Cal Clutterbuck
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Colin McDonald
Lubomir Visnovsky - Thomas Hickey
Travis Hamonic - Andrew MacDonald
Matt Donovan - Brian Strait
Scratched: Brock Nelson, Matt Carkner, Eric Boulton