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Islanders' Tavares out with lower-body injury

by Brian Compton

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- John Tavares' streak of 246 consecutive games played will come to an end Saturday night.

A lower-body injury will force the New York Islanders captain to sit out against the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and Islanders coach Jack Capuano didn't want to discuss it in great detail.

The Islanders are listing Tavares as day-to-day. Capuano said the injury wasn't sustained during a 3-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, but rather something that's been lingering.

"I'm concerned, obviously," Capuano said Saturday morning. "You know what Johnny is to our hockey club. He's not only our leader, but obviously his play speaks for itself. But at this particular time, he's not ready to go. We're not going to put him in a situation where he can further hurt himself.

"You just be cautious with it, and hopefully he'll feel better tomorrow."

With Tavares out, Brock Nelson, a first-round selection (No. 30) at the 2010 NHL Draft, will center New York's top line with Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo. Nelson, 22, has three goals and six assists in 28 games. He had 25 goals and 27 assists in 66 games for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the American Hockey League last season.

"I've got to come ready to play," Nelson said. "It's the same game, so you don't really overthink it. You just go out and play and be confident."

This is the first time Tavares has been out since October 2010, when he sustained a minor concussion in the season-opener against the Dallas Stars. He missed the next three games and has played every one since.

"Obviously, we're going to miss Johnny," Okposo said. "He's one of the best players in the world. Anytime you get a guy like that that's out of your lineup, it's a blow to your team. But it gives other guys an opportunity to step up."

Islanders center Casey Cizikas will be in the lineup Saturday. Cizikas missed practice Friday due to personal reasons.

New Jersey lost 2-1 in a shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Firday at Prudential Center. Adam Henrique had the goal for the Devils and Martin Brodeur stopped 29 of 30 shots. Cory Schneider is expected to start in goal against the Islanders.

Left wing Ryane Clowe returned to New Jersey's lineup Friday for the first time since sustaining a concussion Oct. 13. He did not record a shot on goal in 10:38 of ice time.

Devils captain Bryce Salvador will return after missing the past 31 games with a foot injury. The 37-year-old sustained the injury in a game against Columbus on Oct. 22. He has two assists in nine games this season.

"Sal's our captain … he brings some things that we don't have enough of in our group in general," New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said. "Grit, he makes you pay a price to play against, and we miss that element. We need him back in."

Here are the probable lineups for the Devils and Islanders:


Dainius Zubrus - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr

Mattias Tedenby - Patrik Elias - Steve Bernier

Reid Boucher - Adam Henrique - Michael Ryder

Ryane Clowe - Andrei Loktionov - Stephen Gionta

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Eric Gelinas - Marek Zidlicky

Anton Volchenkov - Bryce Salvador / Jon Merrill

Cory Schneider

Martin Brodeur

Scratched: Tim Sestito, Jacob Josefson, Cam Janssen

Injured:  Adam Larsson (lower body), Peter Harrold (foot), Ryan Carter (lower body), Damien Brunner (knee)


Thomas Vanek -- Brock Nelson -- Kyle Okposo

Michael Grabner -- Frans Nielsen -- Josh Bailey

Matt Martin -- Ryan Strome -- Cal Clutterbuck

Peter Regin -- Casey Cizikas -- Colin McDonald

Andrew MacDonald -- Thomas Hickey

Calvin de Haan -- Travis Hamonic

Brian Strait -- Matt Carkner

Evgeni Nabokov

Kevin Poulin

Scratched: Eric Boulton, Aaron Ness

Injured: John Tavares (lower body), Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion), Radek Martinek (back)

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