There will be a number of compelling returns Saturday night as the New York Islanders play host to the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The most obvious will be defenseman Mark Streit, who served as the Islanders' captain for three seasons before signing this past summer with the Flyers. This will mark Streit's first game back on Long Island and he should figure prominently after being promoted this past week to the top unit on a power play that ranks 29th in the League with an 8.1 percent success rate.
"He was an integral part of our team. He was our captain. He moved on," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said after practice Saturday. "We wish him luck but we have a job to do tonight and that is focus on the Flyers."
The Flyers spent plenty of time practicing their power play Saturday and should benefit greatly from the return of forward Scott Hartnell, who missed four games with a reported rib injury. In order to make room for Hartnell in the lineup, the Flyers sent forward Tye McGinn down to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms. Hartnell will skate on a line with Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek.
The Islanders will also have a welcome return to their lineup, as forward Michael Grabner will be back after serving his two-game suspension for a hit on Nathan Gerbe of the Carolina Hurricanes. With the speedy Austrian back in the lineup, Brock Nelson will be a healthy scratch for the Islanders.
"Anytime you get a guy with that kind of speed, it backs off the opposition's defense. He's a guy we can rely on in our top nine forwards and is one of the top penalty killers in the League," Capuano said of Grabner. "I know he's ready to get back in the lineup."
Steve Mason will be in net for the Flyers, making his seventh start in Philadelphia's last eight games. Kevin Poulin gets the start for New York, marking his second start of the season and his first since a 25-save performance in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 11.
"I really like his work ethic over the last couple of weeks," Capuano said. "He played really well in Chicago. Gave us a chance to win that game and made some big saves at big times. He gets another opportunity tonight.'
Forward Eric Boulton will also be back in the lineup as Colin McDonald sits.
Here are the projected lineups for the Flyers and Islanders:
Michael Raffl - Vincent LeCavalier - Claude Giroux
Scott Hartnell - Brayden Schenn - Jakub Voracek
Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds
Zac Rinaldo - Maxime Talbot - Adam Hall
Braydon Coburn - Nicklas Grossmann
Erik Gustafsson - Kimmo Timonen
Luke Schenn - Mark Streit
Scratched: Jay Rosehill, Hal Gill, Andrej Meszaros
Michael Grabner - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey
Matt Moulson - Peter Regin - Cal Clutterbuck
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Eric Boulton
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey - Radek Martinek
Matt Donovan - Matt Carkner
Scratched: Brock Nelson, Colin McDonald
Injured: Brian Strait (upper body), Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion)