Jack Capuano bucked the trend and decided to play Jaroslav Halak on consecutive nights, giving Halak the start against the Lightning Saturday night less than 24 hours after Halak made 17 saves in beating the Red Wings in Detroit.
"He saw 18, 19 shots [Friday night], he played another solid game," Capuano said. "He's playing real well right now, so we'll go back with him."
There's certainly no disputing who the Islanders' No. 1 goaltender is. After beating the Lightning, 3-1, Halak has won 15 of his last 17 starts and has allowed two or fewer goals in all but three of those outings.
Chad Johnson was supposed to be the go-to goaltender for back-to-back situations like . Johnson has made only four starts since Nov. 6 and has allowed 18 goals in those four games. His .868 save percentage is the lowest in the NHL for goaltenders with at least 10 appearances.
With only one game in the next seven days, Capuano felt it was worth a shot Saturday night, which was the Islanders' seventh set of back-to-back games this season.
The Islanders host the Canadiens on Tuesday before the league-wide three-day holiday break.
Nabokov welcomed back
Lightning goaltender Evgeni Nabokov didn't play Saturday night, having been in goal for a 3-2 shootout loss to the Devils on Friday night in Newark. The Lightning went with Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Nabokov, an Islander for the previous three seasons, got a video tribute on the Coliseum scoreboard in the first period.
Too bad he didn't see it: As the video played and the Coliseum crowd cheered, Nabokov wasn't sitting in the customary backup goaltender's chair in the visitors' runway.
Ben Bishop, the Lightning's No. 1 goaltender, skated Saturday and appeared close to returning from a minor injury suffered earlier in the week.