Matt Donovan got back in the lineup Thursday night, just in time to see a good friend across the ice.
Donovan, a healthy scratch the previous two games for the Islanders, and Oilers center Mark Arcobello both were in the lineup. Donovan lived in Arcobello's house in Connecticut last season when he played for the Isles' farm team in Bridgeport. Arcobello, a Milford, Conn., native and Yale alum, was spending his year near Donovan's hometown, playing for the Oilers' AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.
"We met through [former Sound Tiger] Sean Backman and it was great to have a house to live in last season thanks to him," Donovan said. "Then when our season ended, I spent some time with him when I went home [to Edmond, Okla.]. It's great we're both up here now."
Arcobello was an undrafted free agent out of Yale and went from Stockton of the ECHL to Oklahoma City on a minor-league contract. At 25, he made the talent-laden Oilers out of camp and now is centering Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle on Edmonton's top line. With his two first-period assists, Arcobello tied for the league lead with eight assists in eight games.
"This is my first NHL game on the East Coast, so that will be fun," said Arcobello, who had 15 friends and family at the Coliseum for the game. "It's good to see Matt, too. But no friends on the ice tonight."
Colin McDonald went back into the lineup after missing Tuesday's game with a minor hip injury. Eric Boulton joined Brock Nelson and Matt Carkner as the healthy scratches. Said McDonald, "I wanted to play, but the smart thing to do was give it an extra day of rest."