TORONTO - Michael Grabner said he felt it coming. No goals since the two he scored on opening night, no points in the last 12 games -- he sensed that a healthy scratch might be coming, and Grabner was indeed in street clothes for Tuesday night's game here against the Leafs.

"It hasn't been working for a while now, so maybe this will get me going," Grabner said after a longer-than-usual morning skate. It was the first healthy scratch (not counting games missed for the birth of his son) for Grabner since Oct. 9, 2010, just after he was picked up off waivers from the Panthers.

"I want to score goals and help the team win, obviously," Grabner said. "I haven't been doing that, so [being scratched] didn't seem too far off. I hope this helps me."

 

Vanek held out again

Thomas Vanek skated Tuesday morning, but his upper-body injury is still causing enough discomfort that the Isles' medical and coaching staffs felt another few days would be beneficial. So Vanek missed a fifth straight game, with a Friday return in Pittsburgh now the target.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"I want to be able to what I do to help the team, so three more days will help," Vanek said. "It's obviously frustrating for me."

 

Visnovsky makes trip

Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) joined his teammates for the three-game road trip, even though Jack Capuano said that the defenseman is "still not close" to returning, having missed a 14th straight game.

Visnovsky did some light off-ice work in the morning but still has not been cleared even to ride a stationary bike, so this is more a camaraderie trip. "For me, there's nothing better than being around the guys when you've been away a while," Capuano said.