BOSTON - Ryan Strome came into last night's game in an unfamiliar place: near the bottom of the point totals for the Islanders. It was his eighth game since being recalled from Bridgeport on Dec. 11, but Strome had just two points, both assists.
It was a reminder of the adjustment period nearly every player goes through in the jump from the AHL to the NHL. Strome put up 33 points in 23 games with the Sound Tigers -- he was still tied for second in AHL scoring entering last night -- but the emphasis on quick decision-making at the NHL level has taken some time to get used to.
"I can really notice on some of the two-on-ones," Strome said. "In junior or in the AHL, you can think about what you want to do for a little longer. Up here, you've got to make up your mind or else someone's right on you."
There is also emphasis on play away from the puck that all NHL coaches demand. Strome has had a couple of lapses, including a costly one when he got caught flat-footed in the neutral zone and let the Devils' Adam Henrique blow past him to score a tap-in goal Saturday.
On offense, Strome hasn't cracked the top power-play unit, though the PP came into the game 0-for-8 in the previous four games, so that could change.
"I feel like when the points come, they'll come in bunches," Strome said. "That's just the way it works. If I wasn't generating anything at all, I'd be worried."
Michael Grabner made the lineup after missing Sunday's win in St. Paul with an illness. Josh Bailey (upper body), who left Saturday's game in the third period after crashing into the boards, missed a second consecutive game.