The Islanders may be without fourth-line stalwart Matt Martin for the short term as he missed Friday night’s 3-1 loss to the Capitals at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum with an upper-body injury and was listed as day-to-day.
But coach Barry Trotz expects another veteran left wing, Andrew Ladd, back in the lineup for Sunday afternoon’s game against the Flyers after he was a healthy scratch on Friday.
Ladd was activated off long-term injured reserve — a suspected ankle injury had kept him out since Nov. 15 — and returned to the lineup for Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Flames. He also played in Thursday night’s 6-1 win over the Maple Leafs and had an assist in each game.
“It wasn’t based on play,” Trotz said. “We’re asking him to play three games in two and a half days. I don’t think that’s the best scenario.”
Tom Kuhnhackl slotted in for Ladd on the third line and scored the Islanders’ goal. Burly Ross Johnston, in his first game since Jan. 12, logged 9:14 of ice time and was credited with five hits.
Facing the Capitals? ‘Old hat’
In retrospect, Trotz wasn’t trying to be prophetic. If anything, the coach believes he was a bit premature in telling his former team, the Capitals, that they would have to get through the Islanders in their quest for a second straight Stanley Cup.
The teams met for a third time Friday night at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum vying for first place in the Metropolitan Division, with the Capitals' 3-1 win moving Washington into a tie for the top spot.
Trotz was invited into the Capitals’ dressing room to receive his Stanley Cup ring and address his former players before the Islanders’ 4-1 loss at Barclays Center on Nov. 26.
“You can do it again, too,” Trotz told the Capitals that night. “You’ll have to go through the [expletive] Island, OK?”
“With all due respect, that was really early in the year,” Trotz said Friday. “I said it with the belief that hopefully we can get to the stage where you have to go through us. That was probably Game 20 in the year [actually 23]. You’re not sure where you’re going to fit.”
Trotz called coaching against the Capitals the first time “strange” and his first return to Washington, where he spent the previous four seasons, for a 2-0 win on Jan. 18 “awkward.”
Friday, though, was “old hat.”
D Thomas Hickey was a healthy scratch in favor of Scott Mayfield for the second straight game . . . LW Anthony Beauvillier played in his 200th NHL regular-season game.