There are no guarantees that Anthony Beauvillier will return to the Islanders’ lineup Saturday night after a seven-game absence, but the left wing got closer to playing by rejoining the team for Friday’s practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow.
"That would be a game-time or game-day decision," coach Barry Trotz said of Beauvillier’s status as he tries to return from a lower-body injury. "I couldn’t tell you definitely in or out tomorrow at this moment."
The Islanders defeated the Bruins, 1-0, on Jan. 18 in their home opener. That stood as the Bruins’ lone regulation loss heading into their game against the Rangers on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
"We’ve got to stay out of the penalty box. They get a lot of offense from that," Trotz said. "They’re just a deep team. They don’t give you much five-on-five. You’ve really got to work for your chances. You can’t give up easy goals to this team because you’re not going to be able to get them back."
For Beauvillier to return to the lineup, he must be activated off injured reserve and the Islanders must create a roster spot for him.
They did place forward Leo Komarov on waivers for a second time this season to maintain his flexibility to be reassigned to the taxi squad if he clears by noon on Saturday. Komarov also cleared after being placed on waivers on Jan. 12, allowing him to be re-assigned to the taxi squad or to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport for 30 days.
The Islanders also re-assigned Andrew Ladd from Bridgeport to the taxi squad on Thursday. Ladd, 35, is in the fifth season of a seven-year, $38.5 million deal. Only $1.075 million of his $5.5 million salary-cap hit is buried with Ladd either in the AHL or on the taxi squad.
Komarov has played the last three games on Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s left wing along with rookie Oliver Wahlstrom. Michael Dal Colle is playing on Brock Nelson’s left wing, Beauvillier’s usual spot.
"I’ve been learning a lot from those two," said Wahlstrom, who has one goal in five games but has shown marked improvement defensively. "I want to work on my play without the puck and I’ve asked them a bunch of questions about it and they’ve been really helpful. We’re playing a pretty solid game right now, a good two-way game, and hopefully the chances start coming."
The streaky Beauvillier, who had a terrific postseason run with nine goals and five assists in 22 games, had one assist in five games this season before exiting a 2-0 loss in New Jersey during the second period on Jan. 24.
Notes & quotes: Defenseman Robin Salo, the 46th overall pick in 2017, agreed to a two-year, entry-level deal. The Islanders re-assigned him to Orebro of the Swedish Hockey League, where Salo, 22, has five goals and 20 assists in 39 games this season.