NEWARK, N.J. -- Nick Leddy's return after missing four games would have appeared to leave either Matt Donovan or Brian Strait, the Isles' two usual depth defensemen, out of last night's lineup.
Jack Capuano went a different route, sitting down Calvin de Haan. De Haan had been a healthy scratch in three of four games from Feb. 14-21, though that was more the result of de Haan missing two games after taking a skate to the face than de Haan simply being dropped from the lineup.
Capuano said he felt Donovan, who played for the first time in 30 games last Saturday against the Canadiens, didn't deserve to come out. "No matter who we take out, you guys have the right to ask the question," Capuano said, "We've got a few guys who aren't in. [Michael] Grabner hasn't played, Boults [Eric Boulton] hasn't played, Colin McDonald hasn't played."
Those are the extra forwards, though. Capuano has choices to make each night as his players return to health; Lubo Visnovsky (unspecified) and Mikhail Grabovski (concussion) still have not practiced but are skating on their own.
First lead in a while
Ryan Strome's first-period goal Saturday night gave the Islanders their first lead since Anders Lee scored in the opening period against the Rangers on March 10. The Isles had gone 216:02 of game time without holding a lead at any point during a game. . . Strome's goal gave him 44 points, tying him with Kyle Okposo for second on the team in scoring. Okposo held second behind John Tavares through his 22-game absence because of eye surgery . . . The Islanders play their next four games at the Coliseum, where they've lost a season-high four straight. The next three, home against the Wild, Kings and Ducks, are the last three games outside the Eastern Conference.