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Islanders vs. Penguins Gameday: Networks change schedule for David Ullstrom

With the news of David Ullstrom's recall, both Versus and CBC have done the obvious thing and altered their schedule to fit this game on national TV. They're no doubt also excited by the prospect of another appearance by fellow Swede Anders Nilsson.

UPDATES: Indeed Nilsson gets the start, Blake Comeau and Nino Niederreiter are the forward scratches. Staple says Capuano cited 6 games in 9 days for Nino.

Pit-slim_medium             Nyi-thinblade_medium
Penguins (11-6-3) vs. Islanders (5-9-3)
7 p.m. | Vs., CBC, MSG+ | Audio: NHL -
Long national nightmare is over:

On the Penguins' side, they've activated some guy named Sidney Crosby, but he hasn't even played in like a year, so who knows what that's all about. I haven't seen any coverage.

Ullstrom though is someone whose recall looked more and more likely with each goal in his streak down in Bridgeport and with each lifeless performance from Islanders forwards expected to do better. The music stopped before Ullstrom got a shot last year -- Micheal Haley, for one, was called up to spin the Kris Letang turnstile -- so this is honestly exciting for player and fan.

And to be truthful, while the national media and Penguins fans will be caught up in the Crosby drama, that team has done just fine without him. (Which is scary, yes.) The Islanders' drama is of a more urgent matter: The team is bottom of the East and coming off an embarrassing 6-0 home loss to the Bruins. If this night doesn't turn on how they handle Crosby -- 62 points in 33 career games against the Isles -- and the rest of the Penguins, it turns on their thin margin of error being boosted ever so slightly by a 22-year-old Swedish forward getting his NHL debut and the return to the lineup of a 19-goal scorer from whom much better play is expected.

Yes, Jack Capuano said both Ullström and Kyle Okposo would be in the lineup [Staple tweet] -- and even "a thought" was given to Anders Nilsson -- so amid the all too familiar goalie injuries the Islanders now have a couple of forward options to scratch. Staple reports Ullström will be at wing, where he's played most of this AHL season, so cross Josh Bailey off your list of scratch candidates.

(And tune in or share in comments if/when you see news of the scratches.)


On the Subject of David Ullström

Ullstrom was drafted in the 4th round of 2008 (102nd) as one of those Swede forwards from whom you hope for smart two-way play with some skills to make him a you-never-know. His season has been marked by a very hot start with 12 goals -- only 3 of them on the powerplay -- but his shooting percentage in Bridgeport was 22.6%. Which of course is unsustainable both there and certainly in the NHL.

So expect him to do his job, provide a spark of smart hockey -- which the Islanders have lacked in the forward ranks on many nights -- but don't expect him to resume that 12 goals in 17 GP pace, nor its NHL equivalent. Just expect a guy who has worked hard and steadily progressed to earn this shot.

FIG Picks: Leave your First Islanders Goal picks in this thread.


Links and Things

Newsday: Matt Martin has been bright spot for Isles

More post-mortem: NYI FYI: Islanders Have Embarrassing Effort on Westfall Night; NYI FYI and The Islanders are who we thought they were | ProHockeyTalk and What's Wrong with the Islanders (THW) and even After an Embarrassing Loss, It’s Time to Make a Statement | IPB

General Hockey Stuff:

Now good luck tuning out the endless #87 deluge.