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New York Islanders

Ruslan Iskhakov To Make Playoff Debut For Islanders In Game 4 Versus Carolina

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AP Photo/Seth Wenig

ELMONT, NY– Ruslan Iskhakov made his NHL debut in the final game of the regular season for the New York Islanders and will now make his playoff debut in what could be the final game of the postseason.

With the Islanders trying to stave off elimination in Game 4 of their opening-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, the 23-year-old Iskhakov will replace the veteran Matt Martin, per Islanders head coach Patrick Roy.

“I love the energy that he brought in the Pittsburgh game,” Roy said of Iskhakov ahead of Game 4. “Yeah, he is small. But I feel like he doesn’t know he’s small. He plays hard, and I’m curious to see what he can bring to us.”

Iskhakov will begin the game skating on the Islanders’ fourth line alongside Kyle MacLean and Cal Clutterbuck, although Roy didn’t rule out the possibility of shifting him higher in the lineup later in the game.

The decision to insert Iskhakov into the lineup is due to Martin suffering a lower-body injury. Martin is the Islanders franchise leader in total playoff games played among active players.

“If he wasn’t injured, he would’ve played,” Roy said of Martin. “I have so much respect for what he has brought to this organization and the way he’s been playing. But sometimes those things happen. Every team is subject to it, so it’s a good opportunity for others to step up.”

The Islanders will need every player in their lineup to step up on Saturday as they enter play down three games to none in their best-of-seven series with Carolina.

Semyon Varlamov will be in goal for the Islanders, opposite Frederik Andersen for the Hurricanes.

Puck drop for Game 4 between the Islanders and Hurricanes is scheduled for just past 2 p.m. EST at UBS Arena.

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