Amid the Islanders’ postgame celebration of a 6-1 win over John Tavares’ Maple Leafs on Thursday night at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum was the sobering realization that Johnny Boychuk barely avoided having his neck slashed by a skate blade.
Boychuk was ushered to the dressing room, bent over and holding a blood-soaked towel under his chin late in the second period after being caught by Mitch Marner’s skate blade.
The defenseman returned to the bench to start the third period and wound up logging 17:12. But the incident was not quickly forgotten.
“Thank the Lord on that,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “That could’ve been a very ugly scene. He got a little bit of a scratch right there. But you talk about a life, you never know. Like a game, it’s a matter of inches. This one was not even inches. This was a matter of milli-inches. I think it’s very sobering for him. You see Johnny’s face, he’s pretty white right now. He realizes how close he comes to maybe something serious.”
The most infamous skate-cut incident in the NHL came when Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk had his carotid artery severed on March 22, 1989, a life-threatening injury.
Thomas Greiss is expected to start in net on Friday night against the Capitals at Nassau Colisum. He made 19 saves in a 2-0 win at Washington on Jan. 18. It will be Trotz’s third game against the team he led to its first Stanley Cup last season . . . D Scott Mayfield had four shots in 23:26 after being a healthy scratch on Tuesday to accommodate Thomas Hickey’s return from long-term injured reserve. Hickey sat out Thursday . . . RWs Cal Clutterbuck and Jordan Eberle each had two assists . . . Friday marks the Islanders’ first back-to-back home games since Jan. 21-22, 2017.