Frans Nielsen has been playing through pain from a lower-body injury he suffered during the Islanders' Feb. 22 loss to the Canucks. Jack Capuano decided to give his durable center Friday night off, with no word as to whether Nielsen will be available Saturday night.

"He'll be back in shortly," Capuano said. "We want to make sure we rest him appropriately."

Nielsen crumpled to the ice in the second period of a 4-0 loss three weeks ago after a hit by the Canucks' Derek Dorsett. Nielsen had to be helped off the ice and to the locker room but returned for the third period and hasn't missed a shift since. But he sat out Thursday's practice after a day off on Wednesday and the injury might have tightened up on him.

Michael Grabner, a healthy scratch on Tuesday, went back into the lineup and played alongside Brock Nelson and Nikolay Kulemin.

Tavares backs Boychuk

John Tavares obviously was pleased that Johnny Boychuk signed a seven-year, $42-million contract extension Thursday, adding another player to the fold long-term.

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"We're trying to keep taking steps to get to that next level," Tavares said. "He couldn't have fit in any better from day one, so it's definitely exciting."

Leddy on track

Nick Leddy did some off-ice conditioning work and Capuano said the injured defenseman, likely to miss another 10 to 14 days, is "on track. After three, four more days, we should have a better idea."

Leddy was injured in Monday's win over the Leafs and had his streak snapped at 320 consecutive games when he missed Tuesday's loss to the Rangers.