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Visnovsky back for Isles; Nabokov to dress

by John Kreiser

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky will be back in the lineup for the New York Islanders when they host the Boston Bruins on Monday after missing more than three months with a concussion.

In addition, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was activated from injured reserve and will dress for the first time since leaving the Islanders' 7-3 victory against the Dallas Stars on Jan. 6 with a lower-body injury. Coach Jack Capuano said Nabokov will back up Kevin Poulin against the Bruins but might start Wednesday when the Islanders play the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium as part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

"Kevin will be in net [Monday]," Capuano said after the morning skate. "[Nabokov] is getting where he needs to be. He'll back up. [Visnovsky], if things go well, and they did this morning, he'll be back in."

Visnovsky last played Oct. 19 when he sustained a concussion against the Carolina Hurricanes. In eight games he has one goal, two assists and a plus-3 rating.

"He's been skating for a long time now," Capuano said. "We would never put him in a situation where there was any doubt. But he's been skating. He's had contact for a week or more. He's ready to go. Obviously it's about the pace of the game and the big bodies Boston has. He's going to see right away. But there's no better time than now. He's been waiting, he’s been working hard, and no matter who we're playing against it's going to be a little bit of a test for him."

Visnovsky said he is eager to get back and provide some help to a team that's scrambling to get back into the Stanley Cup Playoff picture. The Islanders begin the day seven points behind the Detroit Red Wings, who hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

"I'm very excited," Visnovsky said. "Of course I'm nervous too. We'll see what happens [Monday]. I hope my body is OK, my head is good. I just want to help my team."

The return of Visnovsky and Nabokov has resulted in a pair of moves, with defenseman Matt Donovan and goaltender Anders Nilsson returned to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League.

Defenseman Travis Hamonic (concussion) skated at practice but still isn't ready to play.

The Bruins, coming off a 6-1 road win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, are in first place in the Atlantic Division but the Islanders have won both games between the teams this season -- 3-1 at the Coliseum on Nov. 2 and 5-3 at TD Garden on New Year's Eve.

"They played well," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of the Islanders. "Their whole game was there and you have to give them credit. I've said for a long time that they're an up-and-coming team that has a lot of young players with a lot of skill that are developing every year and becoming better and better with experience.

"I don't feel personally that we've shown our best against that team; not to take away the credit that they deserve but this is an opportunity for us [Monday] to do that. We've been playing better hockey lately and it's up to us to bring our game [Monday] and hopefully avenge those two losses."

Julien said center Ryan Spooner, who missed the game against the Flyers due to the flu, is ready to go. Center Chris Kelly, who has been out with a broken ankle, could play Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.

Here are the expected lineups for both teams:


Thomas Vanek - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Peter Regin - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey

Michael Grabner - Brock Nelson - Cal Clutterbuck

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Colin McDonald

Brian Strait - Andrew MacDonald

Calvin de Haan - Thomas Hickey

Lubomir Visnovsky - Matt Carkner

Kevin Poulin

Evgeni Nabokov

Scratched: Eric Boulton, Radek Martinek

Injured: Travis Hamonic (concussion)


Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Carl Soderberg - Ryan Spooner - Loui Eriksson

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk

Matt Bartkowski - Dougie Hamilton

Torey Krug - Kevan Miller

Chad Johnson

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Jordan Caron, Zach Trotman

Injured: Chris Kelly (ankle), Adam McQuaid (lower body), Dennis Seidenberg (knee)

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