COLUMBUS, Ohio - Considering the recent injuries suffered by the Islanders' defense, "depleted" seems an understatement.
The Islanders beat the Blue Jackets, 4-3, on Josh Bailey's goal at 2:58 of overtime Saturday night, but for the second straight game, they were forced to recall a defenseman from Bridgeport on an emergency basis.
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On Thursday, Mark Flood made his NHL debut in place of Dustin Kohn (concussion) and last night, 20-year-old Russian defenseman Anton Klementyev filled in against the Columbus Blue Jackets for the injured Bruno Gervais, who is day-to-day with a groin strain.
Heading into the game, the Islanders' defensive corps had a combined total of only 726 games of NHL experience - and only 12 games combined among Flood, Klementyev and Dylan Reese.
Since then, Radek Martinek was lost to a season-ending knee injury, Brendan Witt was placed on waivers and assigned to Bridgeport, Andy Sutton was traded, Andrew MacDonald was sidelined for four weeks with a broken foot, and Kohn and Gervais were hurt recently.
Although Witt was a consideration, the Islanders decided to give young players an opportunity, especially with MacDonald nearing a return.
"Obviously, we have some defensemen who are hurt and out of the lineup,'' general manager Garth Snow said, "but this is a great opportunity for some of our young players to get experience in this push down the stretch."