Your source for behind-the-scenes New York Islanders hockey news and information.
Wishart in, Hillen questionable, Nielsen out, Montoya starts, Grabner's back
Let's start with the defensive injuries du jour....
In Thursday's 6-2 pounding of the Rangers, both Ty Wishart (right) and Jack Hillen (left) suffered shoulder injuries. Wishart skated this morning and will play tonight. Hillen did not skate, so he remains questionable for tonight. If he is unable to play, the Islanders will be forced to recall a defenseman from Bridgeport on an emergency basis.
Frans Nielsen is out with concussion-like symptoms, suffered after a hit into the boards from Rangers sniper Marian Gaborik. According to the Islanders, he is day to day.
With Nielsen's absence leaving a hole down the middle, Josh Bailey will center the team's second line of Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo. Blake Comeau will slide to the middle and play the pivot for the first time since juniors.
Comeau regularly takes faceoffs in practice, however, and said he has no problem stepping into that role tonight.
Montoya gets his second straight start after earning the first star in his 25-save effort against his former team.
After missing the past two games to be with his girlfriend, Heather, while she was in labor with the couple's first child, Aidan Johann Grabner, Michael Grabner returns to the lineup tonight to face the Carolina Hurricanes and his fellow Rookie of the Year candidate Jeff Skinner.
His first priority before the game, however? Sleep. The proud poppa estimates he's had about 8 hours over the last four days.
In a year full of milestones, however, Grabner said his newborn son (9 pounds, 20 inches) is by far his biggest accomplishment.
"It was the best day of my life."