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Islanders' Josh Ho-Sang wears 66 to honor Mario Lemieux

Dallas Stars' Esa Lindell (23) backs up while

Dallas Stars' Esa Lindell (23) backs up while defending as New York Islanders' Joshua Ho-Sang (66) moves the puck up ice during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 2, 2017, in Dallas. The game was Ho-Sang's first NHL career start. Credit: AP / Tony Gutierrez

DALLAS — Josh Ho-Sang’s NHL debut on Thursday night brought a question about why he wears No. 66. He’s only the sixth player in NHL history to wear that number and just the second since Mario Lemieux retired.

“I’ve been wearing it since I was 15 and I really admire Mario Lemieux,” Ho-Sang said. “Just the skill level he brought to the game, the excitement. Some people would say he’s a little more dynamic on the skill side than Wayne [Gretzky] . . . I know there are some people who aren’t too happy about [me wearing No. 66], but for me it’s like the way guys wear 10 and 23 [in soccer and basketball for Lionel Messi and Michael Jordan].

“It’s honoring [Lemieux] and just, I think a lot more people remember who he is now because they’re yelling at me about wearing the number, right? I think that’s cool too. There’s a lot of light being shined on an amazing player. By no means am I trying to be better than or trying to prove anything. For me, it’s definitely a tribute to a great player. If he asked me not to wear it, I’d definitely consider it, but I haven’t gotten any phone calls or anything. So for now I’m gonna wear it.”

Ho-Sang started Thursday night on the right side with Andrew Ladd and Brock Nelson, who centered Ho-Sang for a few preseason games in September.

“He makes some passes you don’t always expect, so it’s good to have played with him a bit before,” Nelson said. “He’s got tons of skill. So just try to get him the puck so he can make some plays and be ready to shoot.”

Clutterbuck, Prince in; Beauvillier out

Cal Clutterbuck and Shane Prince returned to the lineup on Thursday night, with Clutterbuck back after missing the last two games and 15 of the previous 20 with a pair of lower-body injuries. Prince missed the previous seven games with an upper-body injury.

Those two and Ho-Sang jumped in and Alan Quine and Anthony Beauvillier were out. Quine (upper body) remained on Long Island and will need two to three weeks, according to Doug Weight. Beauvillier fell ill Thursday morning and was scratched. Bracken Kearns had been the other forward in the lineup on Saturday, and he was returned to Bridgeport after the 7-0 loss to the Blue Jackets.

Weight said Travis Hamonic, who skated Thursday morning, is inching closer to his first action in two months. “We may see him after the weekend,” Weight said.

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