GLENDALE, Ariz. - Early in the five-game road trip that concluded here Thursday night, Brian Strait said he was along mostly to bring his conditioning up to speed after missing six weeks with an upper-body injury.
Apparently he conditions quickly. Strait, out since Oct. 22, was activated off injured reserve and went into the lineup Thursday night, a shot in the arm for a defense that has been patching holes since Strait and Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) were sidelined on consecutive days in October.
"You can only do that one-on-one skating stuff so much. You need to get back into a game to get yourself in real game shape," Strait said after the Islanders' morning skate. "It's been tough, especially with the team losing."
Strait took Matt Carkner's spot in the lineup and Jack Capuano paired him with rookie Aaron Ness. Radek Martinek, who hasn't played since Nov. 29, went on IR with a back injury.
Strait had two assists in a 6-3 loss to the Coyotes.
Strome debut delayed
Ryan Strome has joined the Islanders, but his NHL debut will wait until Saturday against the Canadiens at Nassau Coliseum.
"We wanted to get him in here, get acclimated to our meeting, have some time to sit down with him," Capuano said. "The AHL is a good league, but this is a big difference up here."
Evgeni Nabokov was activated off IR and backed up Kevin Poulin.
Anders Nilsson, who had two solid outings (OT losses, to the Caps and Penguins) and two shakier ones (5-1 loss to the Blues, 5-2 to the Ducks), was returned to Bridgeport.