The Islanders didn't have to dip into Bridgeport's roster yet again to fill the void left by Dylan Reese's sprained left MCL. Milan Jurcina, who missed the previous two games with a lacerated left elbow, was well enough to return Thursday night.

With Jurcina on the mend and rookie Aaron Ness playing only his second NHL game, Jack Capuano had to lean on Mark Streit and Andrew MacDonald for a third consecutive game, despite having the full complement of six defensemen.

"They're going to get the bulk of the minutes," Capuano said of Streit, who played 27:07 Tuesday against the Flyers and 25:50 last night, and MacDonald, who played a season-high 29:19 in the 1-0 shootout win Tuesday and 22:06 Thursday night.

MacDonald lost his defense partner for the second straight game Tuesday, when Reese caught a rut trying to defend a scoring chance late in the second period. He will miss at least a month.

Travis Hamonic (broken nose/facial laceration), who was injured by a deflected puck Saturday and had surgery Sunday, is "still in pretty rough shape," according to Capuano. Hamonic is still several days away from skating.

Thursday night, Streit rotated between partners Steve Staios and Mark Eaton, and Eaton took shifts with Ness. Jurcina stuck with MacDonald, and the pair was on for the first two Canadiens goals.

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Mottau takes a spin

D Mike Mottau (concussion), out since Jan. 2, got on the ice for the first time since he was sidelined . . . Brian Rolston (healthy scratch) and Marty Reasoner (broken thumb) also skated . . . The Islanders will host the Kings tomorrow afternoon, when former captain Kenny Jonsson will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame.