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Montoya, Ullstrom scheduled to practice

Al Montoya of the New York Islanders against

Al Montoya of the New York Islanders against the Chicago Blackhawks. (Dec. 8, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

As the Islanders stumbled home from two bad losses in Anaheim and Phoenix, there was a chance that some reinforcements might be waiting in the wings.

Goaltender Al Montoya and forward David Ullstrom, both out since Dec. 21 with concussions, are scheduled to practice with the team Monday. Montoya had been the Isles' No. 1 goaltender before Evander Kane caught him with a stick to the head in Winnipeg 19 days ago. Montoya had started 10 of the previous 12 games, and the Islanders were 6-4-2 in that span.

Evgeni Nabokov has started the past eight games in goal, and though he looked sharp in winning three straight, he allowed nine goals on only 45 shots in the two losses this past weekend and could use a rest.

Montoya won't be ready for Tuesday's visit from the Detroit Red Wings, and Anders Nilsson has been sitting as Nabokov's backup for two weeks, so he might not be a good choice to play.

But Kevin Poulin, the Isles' other goaltending prospect, is on a roll for Bridgeport and might, according to a source, get a call-up. Poulin set an organizational record with three consecutive shutouts last week and four consecutive wins overall. Poulin, who started and lost a 3-2 game to the Stars on Dec. 15, his only Islanders appearance this season, has a 2.77 goals-against average for Bridgeport.

Ullstrom, another rookie, contributed some offense and grit before catching Andrew Ladd's elbow to his head in overtime in Winnipeg. His return could allow Jack Capuano to send a message to a couple of his struggling forwards.

Ullstrom had some success on the wing with Josh Bailey and Matt Martin. Michael Grabner, playing in that spot with Bailey and Martin the last five games, has gone without a goal and looked out of sync and without his usual jump. Grabner might need a strong game Tuesday or risk sitting, as Kyle Okposo did earlier this season.

Rick DiPietro's latest injury should be known this week. After missing a month with a groin injury, he came off the ice from practice in Carolina on Tuesday with a different lower-body injury and got an extra medical opinion late last week. He won't be back anytime soon.

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