Travis Hamonic suffers suspension for sticking up for teammate

Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic crosses the blue line

Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic crosses the blue line with the puck looking for a shot against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

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Travis Hamonic missed Sunday's game, the result of his one-sided fight with the Devils' Ryan Carter on Saturday afternoon.

NHL rules say that a player who instigates a fight in the final five minutes of a game receives an automatic one-game suspension. Islanders coach Jack Capuano also was fined $10,000.

Hamonic attacked Carter after the Devils forward hit Andrew MacDonald legally but sneakily. MacDonald already was tied up with Stephen Gionta.

"I thought AMac was in a tough spot when Carter hit him," Capuano said. "Travis is one of those guys who's very emotional and he did what he felt he had to do. I have no problem with it."

Matt Carkner took Hamonic's spot in the lineup.

Nielsen returns, Martin still out

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Frans Nielsen returned after missing two games with a broken left hand. He was activated off injured reserve Sunday morning, with Mike Halmo returning to Bridgeport. Nielsen had an assist and played 20:16, including time on the power-play and penalty-kill units. The only thing that didn't go well was faceoffs; he lost the only two he took.

Nielsen played between Anders Lee and Josh Bailey, with Bailey taking nearly all the faceoffs.

Matt Martin (lower body) missed his third straight game but said he felt good. He's likely to be back Tuesday.

By the (ugly) numbers

The Islanders have held a lead in the third period in 18 of their 32 home games but have won only eight of those (8-4-6). They also are 8-5-4 when leading after two periods, a .471 winning percentage, which is last in the NHL. The 29th-ranked team, the Red Wings, has a .708 percentage (17-2-5).

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