Jack Capuano shuffled his lineup Tuesday, sitting down his two rookies along with Colin McDonald, who is day-to-day with a hip injury.
Brock Nelson and Matt Donovan were expected scratches. Nelson was out to make room for Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who returned after a one-game benching in Nashville on Saturday. Donovan, who struggled in Chicago on Friday, sat for Matt Carkner again.
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But McDonald, who practiced on Monday, was a bit of surprise, though it doesn't appear to be a serious issue. Eric Boulton made his season debut in McDonald's place rather than Nelson to give the Islanders a counter to Buffalo's 6-8 enforcer John Scott.
Donovan said he understood not getting back in yet. He had a goal and an assist in his first three games but played a hesitant game against the Hawks' talented forwards on Friday.
"Everyone has games like that," Donovan said Tuesday morning. "You just try to put it behind you. If it takes sitting out a couple games, then that's what it takes. When I get back in, I'll make sure that doesn't happen again."
Kaleta gets 10-game ban
Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta was hit with a 10-game suspension by NHL VP Brendan Shanahan for a shoulder to the jaw of Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson last week.
Kaleta received a five-game ban last season for a hit from behind on the Rangers' Brad Richards and was suspended immediately following the game last week pending Tuesday's in-person hearing. He'll serve eight more games of the ban after missing two before the hearing.
Boulton makes a point
Boulton's second-period assist on Matt Martin's goal was Boulton's first point since April 7, 2011, a span of 67 games and three teams -- he had a goal against the Rangers for the Thrashers that night, played 51 scoreless games for the Devils in 2011-12 and then 15 last season with the Islanders.