Matt Martin was activated off injured reserve and was back in the Islanders’ lineup for Thursday night’s 4-3 overtime win against the Penguins at Barclays Center.
The burly left wing said he holds no ill will toward the Senators for his nine-game absence after slamming his left knee against an open door on that team’s bench in the Isles’ 4-2 win at Ottawa on Oct. 25.
Linemate Cal Clutterbuck reacted immediately in that game, tussling with defenseman Mark Borowiecki, yelling at the Senators’ bench as he was assessed an additional 10-minute misconduct and continuing to express his displeasure with the circumstances the next day.
“I think that was obviously a natural reaction from Cal when you see one of your teammates in a situation that could have been avoided,” Martin said. “By no means do I think it was intentional. I know that coaching staff pretty well over there.”
Senators coach D.J. Smith was a Maple Leafs assistant during Martin’s two seasons in Toronto.
“It was an unfortunate accident,” Martin said. “I would have liked for the latch to have been closed [on the door], but by no means do I feel it was done on purpose. It was unfortunate but, for myself, I’m happy I dodged a bullet a little bit.”
He first practiced with his teammates last Friday, then was cleared for contact on Monday.
Martin reclaimed his usual spot on Casey Cizikas’ identity line with Clutterbuck — “It’s definitely fun, the way we play together,” Cizikas said — and said it was crucial for him to re-establish his physical presence.
“I have to play the game a certain way,” Martin said. “Ideally, you get out there and put it to the test early and make sure it’s good. That will build confidence and a sense of what you can handle.”
Martin logged 7:15, his low for the season other than his truncated 5:17 at Ottawa, and was credited with four hits. He played just one shift in the third period — Clutterbuck did not have any — as coach Barry Trotz shortened his bench to three lines.
The Islanders’ 33 points set a franchise record for the most through a season’s first 20 games…Left wing Anthony Beauvillier extended his goal streak to four games and he added an assist…Derick Brassard’s assist on Beauvillier’s power-play goal extended his point streak to five games (one goal, eight assists)…Noah Dobson, Ross Johnston and Leo Komarov were the healthy scratches. Komarov was scratched for the second time in three games after playing all 82 games last season . . . On Friday, the Islanders will depart for San Jose, where they will start a three-game California swing against the Sharks on Saturday night . . . After playing each other three times in 15 days, the Isles and Penguins will not play their fourth and final regular-season game until March 15.