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Islanders defense adjusts with loss of Andrew MacDonald

Brian Strait of the Islanders carries the puck

Brian Strait of the Islanders carries the puck against Steve Bernier of the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Coliseum. (Feb. 16, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

There was a pretty stringent adjustment period for the remaining Islanders defensemen in Game 5, their first without Andrew MacDonald. Brian Strait took MacDonald's spot on the top defense pair with Travis Hamonic and acquitted himself decently in the 4-0 loss, but MacDonald, out for the remainder of the postseason with a broken hand, was certainly missed.

"Everybody just had to pick it up, we all had some more responsibilities," said Strait, who ended up playing 21:29 in Game 5, four seconds fewer than he played in Game 4, when MacDonald was hurt. That had more to do with the score of Game 5 than anything. "I got some new duties, [Radek Martinek] had some PP time, we all had a little PK time. A-Mac did a lot of things for us."

Jack Capuano adjusted his defense again for Game 6 Saturday night, putting Matt Carkner back in the lineup in place of Thomas Hickey. Carkner played Games 2-4. Hickey, who emerged as a capable player during the regular season, had his struggles in his two games this series.

His roughest moment was Sidney Crosby's slick move past him for the Penguins' third goal in Game 5.

MacDonald needed surgery on his hand on Tuesday night, when it was broken by a Douglas Murray shot in the second period of Game 4. His recovery is 6-8 weeks.


Penguins keep same lineup

Dan Bylsma made no changes from his Game 5 lineup, sticking with Tyler Kennedy and Joe Vitale over Jussi Jokinen and Beau Bennett up front and Simon Despres over Mark Eaton on defense.

New York Sports