The 24-year-old defenseman will take the spot of Lubomir Visnovsky on the blue line. Donovan has played in just nine games this season and has three points on the year.
"He's been working extremely hard and he's had a great attitude," head coach Jack Capuano said about Donovan. "He deserves to be in there, so he gets that opportunity tonight."
The Islanders are without Nick Leddy for the next two weeks and Capuano wants to give guys the chance to rest, so he sees this as the perfect time to get Donovan back in. Visnovsky, 38, will get the chance to get some extra rest with the Islanders not playing again until Tuesday in Chicago.
"There is no question," Capunao responded to a question about Visnovsky getting extended rest. "We have a couple of guys like that. Frans last night we rested and we try to win every hockey game, don't get me wrong. It's our goal to win every game we play, but we have a opportunity now if you look at the schedule -- and I never look ahead. Now you really have to start to plan things as you move forward."
Ryan Strome will sit out of tonight's game against the Habs.
Capuano labeled the decision as another opportunity to rest players. He said that it wasn't just the older players that need to get some time to recuperate.
"Young guy -- and I've always said this in the American League -- you don't need to play every game," Capuano said. "You really don't. You want to play every game, it's an 82 game season. Down there you're playing three and three, and sometimes your playing four in seven nights. We have the opportunity now and it might be another guy that sits the next game on a back-to-back.
"They need an opportunity too. Young guys sometimes hit a wall, I don't think any of our young guys hit a wall, but it's always a good opportunity to take a step back. Watch a game and you're going to get right back in there."
Frans Nielsen will take Strome place and Capuano will move Brock Nelson to center the third line.
Michal Neuvirth will start in net. He is 1-0-1 with the Islanders since arriving at the trade deadline and in his last outing he made 22 saves in the Islanders 4-3 overtime win over Toronto.