Casey Cizikas returned after missing three games because of an upper-body injury, but the Islanders didn't have to make any hard decisions about who came out of the lineup.
Michael Grabner, back for only five games after missing two months because of hernia surgery, sat out Monday night's game against the Devils with what coach Jack Capuano called a lower-body injury. Grabner had two goals in those five games but seemed to lack his usual bursts of speed. He could be experiencing some residual pain and soreness from the surgery, which he had on Oct. 9.
Cizikas was injured 10 days ago during the Islanders' 6-4 loss to the Blues at the Coliseum. Thomas Hickey leveled Blues star Vladimir Tarasenko, who flew out of control and inadvertently whacked Cizikas across the face with his stick.
"It's never fun watching," said Cizikas, who was back skating within a day of the injury but did not make the trip to St. Paul and St. Louis last week. "It's time to get back at it."
Cizikas, who got an assist on Matt Martin's tying goal, took his regular spot centering Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck to start the game. Ryan Strome moved back to the wing alongside Anders Lee and Brock Nelson.
The Islanders did not need to make a corresponding move when Cizikas came off injured reserve as they were one short of the 23-man active roster limit.
Hamonic, Boychuk out
Travis Hamonic and Johnny Boychuk skated on Monday morning, but Capuano opted for caution.
"They're getting close, but not yet," Capuano said. Hamonic missed his sixth straight game and Boychuk missed his ninth straight, both with upper-body injuries.
Brian Strait (personal reasons) also remained away from the team, missing his second straight game.
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