TEMPE, Ariz. — Kyle Palmieri and Anthony Beauvillier both drew back into the Islanders’ lineup on Friday after being out with injuries, but Palmieri barely made it to the end of the 5-4 loss to the Coyotes.
Arizona’s Nick Ritchie ran Palmieri into the boards at 10:29 of the third, sending him down to the ice and drawing a penalty for interference. Palmieri, who had been out since Nov. 21, was looked at in the locker room and eventually returned to the game for the final 17 seconds.
“I finished the game,” he said afterwards, confirming that he felt OK. “So not much to say about the hit.”
Islanders coach Lane Lambert said he didn’t see the moment live, and players were cautious about calling it dirty.
“Saw a puck was at his feet and then, I don’t know if he even saw Ritchie coming,” Zach Parise said. “I don’t know. We’ll have to see. I just saw Kyle’s head snap back. That’s what I saw on the replay.”
Beauvillier, who had been out since Dec. 9, got on the scoresheet for the sixth time this season with what was ultimately a consolation goal to make it 5-4 at 18:21. Palmieri, who finished with 10:46 of ice time, was a major part of the shift that led to Noah Dobson’s goal to tie the game at three at the end of the second period.
Hudson Fasching and Simon Holmstrom became the Islanders’ healthy scratches as the team carried just six defensemen, with Adam Pelech going on injured reserve. There was a scary moment in that regard, when Alexander Romanov took a puck to the groin on Clayton Keller’s third period goal and got attention from trainers, but Romanov was ultimately fine.
“Well you only use six [defensemen] in a game,” Lambert said before the game. “So up until this point, we’re fine.”
Lambert was happy with what he saw from the two injury returnees as well.
“I thought they were fine,” he said. “There wasn’t any real rust or anything like that from being out that long, so I thought they were OK.”
The Islanders have settled into a trend of not holding morning skates on gamedays, including Friday. Lambert connected that to the team’s improved starts to games.
“I think we’ve had some good starts, better starts. We talked about that earlier in the year about our starts,” he said pregame. “We have a lot of games coming up in the next eight days with some travel involved, so it just makes sense.”
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