Brian Strait draws praise from Islanders coach Jack Capuano
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Brian Strait spent a long eight weeks waiting to get back into the Islanders' lineup. He got his chance Saturday, his first game since he broke his ankle Feb. 19 against the Flyers.
Strait took Matt Carkner's spot on defense. "I thought he looked good," Jack Capuano said of Strait, who paired with Mark Streit, played 15:56 and was a plus-1 in the 5-4 shootout win over the Jets. " . . . Against one of the quickest teams in the league, and he handled himself well."
Strait had been a coaches' favorite in his 15 games from the start of the season until his freak injury, performing well enough to earn a three-year contract after being plucked off waivers from the Penguins two days before the start of the season.
That the 25-year-old was starting to prove he belonged in an NHL lineup when he got hurt took some time to get over.
"I'd say it was about a week," Strait said. "When you feel like you're playing good hockey and you go out with a long-term injury, it's hard not to feel frustrated."
The Isles would have gotten only a single point had it not been for Lubomir Visnovsky's impromptu goal-tender impression in overtime. After Grant Clitsome's shot hit the post, the rebound went right to Kyle Wellwood, who had a hat- trick goal on his stick -- but Visnovsky went down and made a solid save with Nabokov out of the crease.
"I just try to play like Nabby," Visnovsky said. "No problem. I stop the shot, we stay in the game. I was mad at myself for taking the penalty [late in the third period], so maybe I help out a little bit with that play."