The Islanders recalled defenseman Dylan Reese on an emergency basis from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Thursday. Reese, who leads Sound Tigers defensemen with 12 points (10 assists) in 21 games, could fill in for Andrew MacDonald, who is day-to-day with a right leg injury after blocking a shot late in Tuesday's win over Buffalo.
"We told our guys when they left training camp, 'When the phone rings, you've got to be the best player,' and Dylan was playing the best hockey as far as the D go," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said.
Reese had six assists in 27 games with the Islanders last season and is excited about possibly making his season debut Friday in Chicago after he was the last defenseman cut during training camp.
"I wanted to make the team out of camp, and that wasn't in the cards," Reese said. "If I get in, I get in, and I'm going to give it my best effort and do all I can to stay here and help this team right the ship and get on the right path."
MacDonald skated before Thursday's practice. Capuano said he will be looked at Friday and that he has a chance to play against the Blackhawks.
"We don't want to throw somebody in there, put them at risk," Capuano said. "He was walking around pretty good [Thursday], he skated . . . We'll see how it goes."
Reese was paired with Travis Hamonic in practice, but Capuano said the defensive pairings could change if MacDonald is unable to play.
Homecoming for MontoyaAl Montoya came up big in Tuesday's win, especially during a five-on-three penalty kill spanning 1:34 of the third period. Montoya stopped 30 of 31 shots and has allowed only four goals in the last three games.
Capuano would not commit to Montoya, a Chicago native, getting the start Friday, but he complimented his play. "Al has played extremely well the last few games he's been in there," he said.
If Montoya gets the start, he said it would fulfill a dream to play in his "home base."
"I've always wanted to [play in Chicago]. It's always been a dream," he said. "Trying not to think about it too much, think about it after it's over. Never thought this day would come and it's here and it's exciting. Hopefully the first of many."