NASHVILLE — The Islanders faced the Predators on Thursday night without Mikhail Grabovski and Casey Cizikas.
Cizikas was a game-time scratch and is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury; coach Jack Capuano said he will have a better sense of Cizikas’ status today.
Grabovski was sent home Wednesday after reporting a physical problem after playing 17 minutes against the Penguins on Tuesday — his first game back after missing 10 with an injury.
Capuano was not sure what was wrong with Grabovski. “I thought he played pretty well,” he said before Thursday night’s 4-2 loss to the Predators. “He just came to the medical people the following day and had a couple of issues that he conversed with them about and we decided to send him back and get it checked out.”
Nelson back in lineup
Brock Nelson was back on the ice after being a healthy scratch in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, ending a streak of 202 regular-season games. He scored the Islanders’ second and final goal in the third period.
“It’s tough,” he said of sitting out. “It’s never fun watching a game, especially when you’re healthy. It’s tough. There’s nothing you can do. It’s out of my control. Just come back and play hard and try to help the team.”
Capuano said the benching was more a matter of wanting to deploy fresh legs and give other players a chance than a reflection on Nelson’s play.
Pulock nets milestone
Ryan Pulock scored the first goal of his NHL career. It came at 6:02 of the second period on a wrist shot from the point that eluded Pekka Rinne with the help of a screen from John Tavares.
“Obviously not the outcome we wanted, but for myself to get the first one out of the way, it’s one I’ll remember forever, for sure,” Pulock said. “I was just able to walk in the middle and find a bit of a lane and there was a lot of traffic in front. It was one of those ones that kind of had eyes and it found its way . . . I’ll take it any way it comes.”
Isles were backing SBU
The Islanders had a sentimental favorite in their NCAA pool — their fellow Long Island-based Stony Brook Seawolves, who lost to Kentucky, 85-57, on Thursday night.
“You know what, for a Long Island team, a small team, I think it’s pretty impressive what they’ve done,’’ Capuano said, “and I wish them the best of luck. Obviously, they’re up against a top seed in that bracket [in Kentucky], but when you play hard and you focus and when you’re in a one-game situation, anything can happen.”
Said Matt Martin, “Obviously, we wish them good luck.”