With Travis Hamonic out at least the next 10 days because of a hairline fracture in his foot, the Islanders defense is suddenly in patchwork mode.
Johnny Boychuk is already out through the end of the month with a shoulder injury, so the Islanders need to find a way to replace their two best righthanded shots and two of the three defenders who average over 21 minutes a game.
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This happened last season as well. Boychuk missed nine games from Nov. 26-Dec. 19 with a knee injury and Hamonic missed six games with a concussion from Dec. 2-19. The Islanders went 3-3-0 during that stretch, with rookie Griffin Reinhart and extra Matt Donovan filling in.
“It is kind of like last year,” Nick Leddy said. “We had a few injuries there to the same guys and we needed some other guys to step up.”
Adam Pelech remained in the lineup for a third straight game since his recall and Marek Zidlicky, who sat out Saturday’s ugly loss in Philadelphia, took Scott Mayfield’s spot. Mayfield was recalled when Hamonic’s injury was deemed more serious on Friday.
“It’s tough when you take two guys out of the lineup who play 20-plus minutes in big situations like those two,” Jack Capuano said. “If you’re that guy going in, you need to make the most of your opportunity.”
Pulock getting a look?
One of the reasons Capuano took Mayfield out was how little transition play he saw from the defense on Saturday. The Islanders have given Pelech and Mayfield looks, but not yet Ryan Pulock, their first-round pick in 2013 who was named an AHL All-Star for the second consecutive season.
“I talked a bit with [GM] Garth [Snow] about Pulock this morning,” Capuano said. “He’s still learning, he’s still young but he does have that offensive ability and a big shot. We’ll see how it goes.”
Pulock, who turned 21 in October, has six goals and 11 assists in 36 games for Bridgeport after scoring 17 in 54 games last season.