Jaroslav Halak assured reporters he was feeling fine Monday, despite sitting out the day's practice.
Jack Capuano also assured reporters that Halak was fine after Tuesday's morning skate, despite naming Chad Johnson the night's starter in goal.
Halak may still be fine, but he wasn't in uniform Tuesday. The Islanders did not designate a body part for Halak's ailment, simply calling it maintenance day, but that maintenance kept Halak from even backing up Johnson against the Canadiens.
Kevin Poulin, who has spent the entire season with Bridgeport, got the emergency recall in the afternoon to back up Johnson against Montreal. Poulin had to fly down from Montreal, his hometown, as the Sound Tigers were already on their holiday break.
The Islanders and the rest of the NHL are off the next three days before the team reassembles to travel to Buffalo for a game against the Sabres on Saturday. There are no team activities permitted over the break, so Halak will presumably rest whatever's bothering him.
Poulin has a 9-6-4 record, .924 save percentage and 2.54 goals-against average in 19 games for the Sound Tigers this season. The 24-year-old has made at least five appearances for the Islanders in each of the past four seasons.
A good break regardless
The Islanders (23-11) were headed for a happy holiday break, compared with recent seasons. The Isles brought these records into the three-day break the past three full seasons: 11-20-7 (in 2013-14), 11-16-6 (in 2011-12) and 8-18-6 (in 2010-11).
The last time the Islanders were above .500 heading into the break was in the 2007-08 season, when they were 17-15-2.