A good word to describe the Islanders' season would be "painful." Physically, emotionally, spiritually.
After Saturday night's 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, the Islanders again were licking their psychological wounds and looking to mend their bones.
Brock Nelson, who has played well since captain John Tavares' loss to a knee injury during the Sochi Olympics, had to be helped off the ice after blocking a shot that left him limping seven minutes into the game. Nelson returned for the second period and wound up playing almost 16 minutes.
Calvin de Haan, the fast-developing rookie defenseman, crumpled into the boards as he and Washington's Alex Ovechkin raced for the puck midway through the second period. Because he had to crawl toward the goal, Washington scored while he was down. He was helped to the locker room and returned in the third, but for only a minute, and will be re-evaluated.
Michael Grabner, playing for the first time since suffering a concussion March 10 that caused him to miss nine games, assisted on the Islanders' first goal but suffered an upper-body injury later in the first period and did not return. He had seen only five minutes of action in seven shifts. His availability is unknown.
Before the game, defenseman Travis Hamonic was presented the Sid Payne Good Guy Award, voted by local hockey writers. The late Sid Payne was the Islanders' beat reporter for the now-defunct Long Island Press during the team's first season in 1972-73 . . . One measure of success for the Islanders: Ovechkin, who leads the league with 49 goals, picked up only an assist.