The Islanders’ 4-1 win over the Rangers on Thursday night came at a steep price. The team confirmed on its Twitter account Friday morning that Anders Lee, who was struck by Johnny Boychuk’s slap shot in the first period, is out indefinitely with a broken left fibula.
Tests performed Friday will determine whether Lee will need surgery, but his season most certainly is over regardless of how far the Islanders go in the postseason.
Lee had 15 goals and 21 assists in 80 games, a drop-off from his 25-goal rookie season a year ago. But the big winger had been coming on strong the past two months, scoring eight goals in his last 28 games, including three game-winners, almost all from his usual spot in front of the opposing goal.
That’s where he was Thursday night when he couldn’t avoid one of Boychuk’s big shots. Lee tried to play two more shifts but could not continue. The fracture was diagnosed before the team left Madison Square Garden with its third straight win.
The Isles still are without Travis Hamonic (knee), who skated lightly and without equipment Thursday, and Jaroslav Halak (groin), who skated with equipment but did not take any shots Thursday. Mikhail Grabovski has been feeling concussion symptoms for several weeks and has not done any hockey activities of late. Those three regulars are unlikely to be ready for the start of the playoffs.
Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, Brian Strait and J-F Berube were out Thursday night with minor injuries, though Calvin de Haan returned after missing a game with a lower-body injury.
The Islanders still don’t know whom they will play in the first round of the playoffs. If they pick up three or more points in their final two games at Barclays Center (Saturday night against the Sabres and Sunday against the Flyers), they will face the Penguins in the opening round. If the Islanders get no points or any amount fewer than the Rangers, they will face the Panthers next week. If the teams tie in total points, the Rangers have the tiebreaker advantage based on regulation and overtime wins.