Cal Clutterbuck finally returns to Islanders' lineup
The Islanders activated Cal Clutterbuck off injured reserve and reinserted the agitator into the lineup for Saturday night’s 5-1 loss to the Capitals at UBS Arena after he missed 20 games with an upper-body injury.
“It felt like it had been a while,” said Clutterbuck, who logged 12:36 with four hits. “I got better as the game went on. Some excitement and a little nervous energy heading in, but that’s what it’s all about. So I’m glad to get back.”
Clutterbuck started on Josh Bailey’s right wing with Pierre Engvall. Bailey was moved to the middle on the fourth line with Otto Koivula out day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Coach Lane Lambert started shuffling his lines in the second period and Clutterbuck also took some shifts on Bo Horvat’s top line with Anders Lee. “He’s a pest out there,” Horvat said. “He’s hitting everybody in sight.’’
“I thought he was fine,” Lambert said. “He had four hits and he does what Cal does. I thought he played pretty well.”
Clutterbuck has missed 33 games this season and hasn’t played more than 59 games since 2018-19.
The Islanders celebrated Bryan Trottier’s legacy on Saturday night. Lambert has fond childhood memories of the Hall of Famer. Both are from Saskatchewan.
“Playing against him was an honor,” Lambert said. “The cool thing for me was when I was, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and living in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, I played with his brother, Rocky. Bryan would come back and skate with us in the summer. When you’re 13 and Bryan Trottier is out on the ice with you, that was probably the most amazing thing.”
D Alexander Romanov played in his 200th NHL game . . . Lambert said he expected C Jean-Gabriel Pageau (injured reserve/upper body) to accompany the team on its upcoming three-game California swing. Pageau again participated in Saturday’s morning skate but missed his 12th game. . . . D Parker Wotherspoon and LW Ross Johnston remained healthy scratches.