Andrew Ladd dropped the gloves for the first time as an Islander on Saturday, trading blows with Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky late in the second period. Ladd has had more than a dozen fights in his 12-year career, and he knew the timing was right.
Ladd threw a huge hit on Dubinsky that angered the former Ranger, who had just been knocked down by another Islander. Dubinsky slashed Ladd’s stick in half and they had a spirited bout that not only gave Barclays Center some life after a dismal second period for the Islanders but also gave them a power play. Dubinsky got the extra minor for the slash.
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“I hit him, he slashed me, I figured he wanted to go,” Ladd said. “It was kind of that point in the game when we needed a little bit of a spark.”
Doug Weight praised Ladd’s overall game; he was one of the few Islanders who acquitted himself decently.
Casey Cizikas’ first game since Feb. 21 wasn’t his best, but he provided a huge help in the faceoff circle, where the Islanders have struggled in the 11 games he missed.
Cizikas, who came back from a broken hand, won four of five draws, all in the third period and three in the defensive zone. Weight had Cizikas on the wing to start the game but reunited the Nikolay Kulemin-Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck line for the third. Cizikas gutted out a few draws, winning all three in his own end.
“He took a couple and looked over at the bench — I don’t think he’s feeling too great, but he’s a warrior,” Weight said. “That line had a big impact on the third.”
Stephen Gionta sat for Cizikas and Alan Quine was scratched to allow Anthony Beauvillier back in. On defense, Scott Mayfield played in place of Thomas Hickey, who was a healthy scratch. Beauvillier had an assist on Travis Hamonic’s goal and Mayfield had one on John Tavares’ score.