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Colin McDonald returns for Islanders

Islanders right wing Colin McDonald follows through on

Islanders right wing Colin McDonald follows through on a shot during the team's first preseason practice at the Barclays Center. The team will call the arena home at the start of the 2015-16 season. (Sept. 12, 2013) Credit: James Escher

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Kevin Poulin goes into the Isles' net on Thursday against the Hurricanes, Colin McDonald goes back in the lineup after missing five games and Aaron Ness makes his season debut on defense.

A few changes for Jack Capuano and the Isles for their game here.

Poulin, who stopped 26 shots in a 3-1 win over the Bruins on Saturday, was an assumed change. So was the return of McDonald, who tried to play through a hip injury and only ended up being ineffective, with just one goal and no assists plus a minus-7 rating in nine games.

“If I had it to do all over again, I’d have sat out those games early on,” said McDonald, who was hurt throwing a hit in the Isles’ second game of the season against the Blue Jackets. “I’ve been fortunate enough not to be hurt much in my career and you see guys play hurt all the time. I figured I could do it. Now this will feel like my first game because I never got into the flow of the season.”

Ness was officially recalled from Bridgeport on Thursday, mostly as a precaution if Matt Donovan (hip) could not go. Donovan skated on Thursday morning and Capuano said he was strongly leaning toward Ness going in regardless, possibly for Matt Carkner.

The Isles need some fresh legs on defense, having gone with the same six players the past six games. They are 3-3-0 in those six.

Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) also skated in Thursday’s optional skate, but he may not be able to play. Either Clutterbuck or Brock Nelson will come out of the lineup to make room for McDonald’s return.

For Carolina, Justin Peters makes his seventh straight start in goal with both Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin out at least two more weeks. Long Island native Mike Komisarek will be a healthy scratch.

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