GLENDALE, Ariz. - Johnny Boychuk played through a knee-on-knee hit from the Kings' Kyle Clifford on Thursday, but Boychuk could not play Saturday night and will be evaluated by the Islanders' medical staff when the team returns home Sunday.

Boychuk, one of the Isles' big additions a week before the season began when he was acquired from the Bruins for three draft picks, would be a big loss if he has to miss extended time.

He leads Islanders defensemen with two goals and seven assists and led all Islanders with an average of 21:57 of ice time through the first 13 games.

Brian Strait, a healthy scratch the previous three games, went back into the lineup and took Boychuk's spot alongside Nick Leddy.

Boychuk, 30, has not missed serious time since becoming a regular with the Bruins in 2009-10.

Griffin Reinhart, who played the first three games of the season with the Islanders before being sent down to Bridgeport to make room for Calvin de Haan's return, seemed the likeliest defenseman for recall if the Islanders were considering that route -- except Reinhart left Saturday night's Sound Tigers game in the second period with an undisclosed injury.

Bailey getting closer

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Josh Bailey could untie his skates with ease after his workout Saturday morning, now free of a brace for his broken left hand. Not needing the brace has helped him on the ice, too, as his stickhandling and shot have gotten stronger. He has skated with his teammates during the five-game road trip that ended here Saturday night.

Bailey missed his seventh game after suffering the break on a check against the Bruins on Oct. 23.

Should Boychuk need to go on injured reserve, the Islanders could simply activate Bailey off IR and place Boychuk on it without disrupting the roster much.