Matt Donovan has been a patient man the past two months, a healthy scratch for 30 straight games. Donovan finally got into a game Saturday night, only his 10th of the season.

"It's always tough when you don't play the games, but we've got back-to-backs," coach Jack Capuano said. "He's worked hard. He deserves to be in there."

Lubomir Visnovsky took a seat for the game, his sixth time as a healthy scratch in the past six weeks. With only 11 games left in the final 28 days of the season, Capuano should be nearing the end of needing to rest some of his regulars for the postseason.

There should be ample time for practices, too. The Islanders have only two games in the next 10 days, on the road in Chicago on Tuesday and then in Newark on Saturday, not playing again until a home game against Minnesota on March 24.

"We're trying to win every night, no question, but now you really have to start to plan things as we move forward," Capuano said. "We have to do the right things to have the health moving forward.

"I like to play, I don't like sitting around. We've proven that in our back-to-backs. Now, with the injuries we have, it's a good time to get a little bit of rest."

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National game at Coliseum

The NBC Sports Network audibled a few weeks ago into covering Saturday night's game between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, the only time the Islanders will be on the NHL's national television partner from the Coliseum in the regular season. They also were switched into the network's coverage from San Jose on Nov. 1.

When the broadcast schedule came out this past summer, the Isles were not slated for any appearances.