With two games remaining in the Islanders' season, center Josh Bailey has been sidelined with facial fractures suffered when he was crushed into the boards by Penguins forward Alexei Ponikarovsky during Thursday night's 7-3 loss to Pittsburgh. His recovery is expected to take four to six weeks.
The NHL levied a two-game suspension against Ponikarovsky, who received a boarding major and game misconduct after cross-checking Bailey from behind while the latter made an attempt to play the puck 3:01 into the third period.
Based on his salary and the terms of the collective-bargaining agreement, Ponikarovsky will forfeit $21,813 and miss the remainder of the Penguins' regular season.
Bailey, who politely sidestepped questions about the chippiness of Thursday's game after receiving stitches to close a nasty gash in his right cheek, finished his sophomore season with 16 goals and 19 assists. Bailey scored on a backhanded deflection of Mark Streit's point shot at 6:49 of the second period to pull the Islanders within 4-3.
On the bright side, Bailey will miss only two games. However, if AHL affiliate Bridgeport makes it to the postseason, Bailey will not be able to play for the Sound Tigers and gain playoff experience, as the organization originally planned.
Notes & quotes: John Tavares' assist on Matt Moulson's first-period goal gave him his 50th point of the season. Tavares currently ranks second among rookies with 50 points (22 goals, 28 assists). Colorado's Matt Duchene has 55 points (24 goals, 31 assists) . . . Richard Park (eye) is questionable for Saturday's game against the Devils . . . With two games remaining for each, the Devils and Penguins are tied with 99 points.