RALEIGH, N.C. - If he could press the restart button on his season, Colin McDonald would have taken the time to let his hip injury heal soon after it happened. That was in the Islanders' second game, against the Blue Jackets, back on Oct. 5.

McDonald tried to play through the pain and was ineffective, along with his regular "energy line" mates, Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin. McDonald returned to the lineup Thursday night after missing five games, finally ending the extended break he needed to take to regain strength in his side.

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"I've been fortunate to not be injured too much in my career and I saw guys who played hurt, played with injuries," McDonald said. "I thought I could do it. If I could do it all again, I probably would have been honest with myself."

McDonald returned to his usual spot with Cizikas and Martin, who were on the ice for three of the Caps' four power-play goals on Tuesday. That line had major impact in last season's run to the playoffs.

Ness returns to NHL

Aaron Ness got a brief taste of NHL life in 2011-12, playing nine games for the Islanders after spending most of that season with Bridgeport. He didn't get a call in the shortened 2012-13 season but now, with a couple of big injuries on defense, Ness got the call Thursday morning and went right into the Isles' lineup Thursday night, taking Matt Carkner's spot.

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Ness had a goal and three assists in nine games for the Sound Tigers, who have started slowly with a very young defense that includes first-year pros Andrey Pedan and Scott Mayfield, as well as former first-round pick Calvin de Haan, who is working back from a major shoulder injury.