The Islanders will be without two mainstays in Matt Martin and Frans Nielsen. Nielsen made the trip to Pittsburgh with the rest of the team and took part in the optional morning skate at Consol Energy Center, according to Newsday's Arthur Staple. Tyler Kennedy will take Nielsen's spot in the lineup for the time being.
Jaroslav Halak will return to the net for the Islanders and the defense will remain the same.
I was a bit surprised to see Frans Nielsen make the trip, take part in morning skate and then not play. But, then again Mikhail Grabovski did a similar thing on Tuesday -- traveling with the team to Philly and then did not play -- so it's not unheard of. It would seem to be a positive sign that Nielsen did make the trip and did participate in the skate.
The extra time off will certainly do both Nielsen and Matt Martin some good as they gear up for a trip to the postseason. They are two important pieces for the Islanders -- albeit in different ways -- and have been components to the team's success this season. The Islanders will get Cal Clutterbuck back into the lineup, so it is always a good thing to see players getting healthy and back into games for the team.