While the Islanders lost a pair of games to the Calgary Flames in split-squad action Tuesday, there were some encouraging signs from the Isles’ prospects, players who are likely to begin the year in Bridgeport.
In Regina, The Islanders went on to lose to the Flames, 4-2. Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee have been together for the better part of the last two weeks, practicing as a line almost exclusively. They were all together in Regina on Tuesday, and though they did not score a goal, saw action against the highest level of competition as a cohesive unit. Brett Gallant and Johan Sundstrom played on a line with Eric Boulton, and Gallant dropped the gloves with Flames forward Brian McGrattan late in the first period. Gallant was ninth in the AHL last season with 202 penalty minutes, though McGrattan set an AHL record which still stands with 551 for the Binghamton Senators in 2004-05. Ken Reiter replaced Evgeni Nabakov in net midway through the game and allowed two goals on 22 shots.
Meanwhile, in Calgary, the Islanders tried to mount a comeback late, but fell by a final score of 5-3. Chris Bruton, signed from Peoria in the offseason and a Calgary native, assisted on the first goal of the game, scored by Michael Grabner. He also dropeed the gloves against Zack McKelvie in the second period. With time running down and the Islanders trailing 4-2, Matt Donovan tried a wraparound that was stopped, but Riley Wetmore punched in the rebound. Anders Nilsson played the second half of the game in net and stopped 11 of 13 shots.
The Islanders continue their preseason slate on Thursday with a game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.