Michael Grabner stayed off the ice on Saturday, but it wasn't a setback in his recovery from hernia surgery. This is part of the process for a player who basically missed all of training camp before undergoing surgery on Oct. 9, just before the start of the regular season.
"He's missed a lot of hockey," Jack Capuano said of Grabner, who'd been skating on his own for nearly two weeks before joining team practices early this past week.
Grabner still is building up his conditioning while everyone else is in midseason game shape. Between that and the 13-6-0 record the Islanders brought into Saturday night's game, with 12 forwards that have been going quite consistently, there certainly is no reason to rush Grabner back.
The Islanders have four games in six nights next week, so it would seem unlikely that he'll squeeze in enough serious practice time to be back before the calendar turns to December.
Martin on the board
Matt Martin was the last Islanders forward to score a goal this season, finally getting in the column with the opening goal on Friday in Pittsburgh. Playing the physical fourth-line role filled by Martin, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck doesn't always lend itself to goal-scoring, but that trio each had a goal in the past two games entering Saturday night.
"The physical style can take a lot out of you," said Martin, who played his 300th NHL game Saturday. "Our job is to get pucks deep, create some havoc and wear the other team's D down. When the goals can come, it's a nice bonus."
Boychuk feeling 'OK'
Johnny Boychuk's legs appear to be magnets for trouble of late. His latest ugly hit came from the Penguins' Steve Downie, who connected with a leg-on-leg hit to Boychuk's left leg on Friday in Pittsburgh.
That's the third such hit Boychuk has taken to one of his legs this season. He missed a game two weeks ago in Phoenix after taking a leg-on-leg hit from the Kings' Kyle Clifford.
"It's part of the game. It happens," Boychuk said. "This was the other leg. It's OK."