Calvin de Haan returned to the Islanders’ lineup Monday night after missing four straight games and nine of the last 11 with a suspected groin injury, though the defenseman said his second stint away was more out of caution than any serious problem.
“It hasn’t been ideal, but the training staff’s been good and they’ve been understanding, and so have the coaches,” de Haan said. “Sometimes this stuff takes a little longer to heal up. We’re in a good position right now and they want me to be healthy for the playoffs.”
De Haan initially was hurt during the Islanders’ win over the Red Wings on Feb. 15, missed the next five, returned to play in Vancouver and Winnipeg, then sat out again.
Jack Capuano had de Haan back in his usual spot, paired with Travis Hamonic, and those two were assigned the Panthers’ top line of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Jaromir Jagr on Monday night.
“I think him and Travis have played really well together against other teams’ top lines,” Capuano said. “ . . . I think it’s going to help Cal quite a bit having Travis on the right side.”
Brian Strait sat out to make room for de Haan’s return. Marek Zidlicky (upper body) still is not close to returning.
Mikhail Grabovski was removed from the injured reserve list yesterday, but he still missed his 10th consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Grabovski was hurt on Feb. 18 in New Jersey. Capuano kept the same 12 forwards for Monday night’s game that he used Saturday in Boston, with Steve Bernier and Eric Boulton the scratches.
Jagr makes Brooklyn debut
Jagr had success like no other visiting player at Nassau Coliseum, recording 28 goals and 49 assists in 52 games. His 154 points against the Islanders are by far the most he’s scored against any team in the NHL.
Monday night was his first time at Barclays Center. He missed the Panthers’ previous visit because of illness.
Jagr played his 1,616th game on Monday night, moving into sole possession of eighth place on the all-time games played list.