Josh Ho-Sang took a spot on the Islanders’ second power- play unit for the second straight day during practice Friday at Northwell Health Ice Center. Coach Barry Trotz indicated Thursday not to read anything into that. But now you can start reading.
“We just said that if we’re going to put him in, then that would be the spot we’d put him,” Trotz said. “So we just said, ‘Let’s take a look at it.’ ”
So there’s at least a chance that Ho-Sang will make his NHL season debut Saturday night against the Red Wings at the Coliseum. The 22-year-old right wing was a healthy scratch for the first two games since his call-up Sunday from Bridgeport.
Another forward, Tom Kuhnhackl, returned to practice after missing the last three games with an undisclosed injury.
“Honestly, on lineup, I can’t even tell you,” Trotz said. “I’ve got to sort of reassess. But I think we’re going to have a couple of adds, be it maybe Tommy, and we’ll see what we do with Josh. We just had a little bumps and bruises, nicks and all that.”
Ho-Sang had 20 assists in 26 AHL games, but the 2014 first-round pick had only two goals. The Islanders’ power play needs a spark after going 1-for-28. The team has scored only 14 goals in a 2-4-2 skid.
Asked if he wants to see what Ho-Sang has got in a game, Trotz said, “Yeah, I think you do. I think there’s a curiosity to it.”
There’s also an outside curiosity over whether there will be a carryover of hard feelings after what happened in the Islanders’ 3-2 win at Detroit last Saturday. Captain Anders Lee took Niklas Kronwall’s shoulder to his face, causing a few lacerations. Josh Bailey countered by taking down Kronwall with his skates and fighting Dylan Larkin.
“Players have long memories,” Trotz said. “So I’ll leave it in the players’ hands.”
So is it over?
“We’re going to bring it like we always do,’’ Lee said, “and if there needs to be a response or anything like that, we’re ready to do it, as would they be. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s going to carry over, but it just was a week ago, too, I guess.”
The Islanders not only responded with retaliation but with a rally, scoring three straight goals.
“We did what we had to do, so kind of turn the page almost, I’d say,” Mathew Barzal said. “We got the two points. That game was, I think, huge for us just as a locker room, guys sticking up for each. It was a big moment for our team.”