ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Islanders left two regulars behind to start the five-game, Western Conference swing of the current seven-game road trip and it appears that at least one of those regulars won’t be joining the team any time soon.
Calvin de Haan’s lower-body injury, suffered in the 4-1 Isles win over the Red Wings on Feb. 15, will keep him off the ice back on Long Island for the next few days, according to Jack Capuano.
That means the likelihood of de Haan meeting up with the Isles as the traverse western Canada over the next nine days is extremely unlikely.
“It’s a matter of Cal getting back to where he needs to be,” Capuano said. De Haan could end up missing seven or more games despite what was considered a minor injury when he left that win over the Wings after the second period.
The coach decided against giving Ryan Pulock a shot to make his NHL debut on Tuesday here against the Wild, going instead with the same six defensemen who played in Friday’s 1-0 win over the Devils.
But Capuano promised that Pulock would get a chance shortly. “You will see Ryan Pulock on this trip,” Capuano said. “He’s worked extremely hard and he’ll get a chance.”
Bernier gets his chance
Steve Bernier replaced Mikhail Grabovski, the other regular who stayed behind, among the forwards on Tuesday. Bernier came off a career-best 16 goals last season with the Devils, but Tuesday was just his 17th game this season. He’d been a healthy scratch for 21 of the previous 22 games.
“I know what I have to offer and I just need to show that now when I have a chance,” Bernier said. “I chose to come here for a reason, it’s a good team and I can be a part of that... I can’t say it’s easy to sit out for so long.”
Grabovski has an upper-body injury and he may join the team this week if he’s physically ready.
Bernier started Tuesday’s game on the fourth line with Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas, while Cal Clutterbuck started with Anders Lee and Brock Nelson. It was only the third time this season the Isles’ well-known fourth line wasn’t together, and the first time when Martin, Cizikas and Clutterbuck were all in the lineup.