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Islanders’ Johnny Boychuk plays for first time since Dec. 31

New York Islanders' Johnny Boychuk skates during a

New York Islanders' Johnny Boychuk skates during a morning team practice at Nassau Coliseum on Monday, April 13, 2015 Credit: James Escher

DETROIT — Joe Louis Arena is on its way out; the old barn will be replaced by a new arena nearby for the 2017-18 season. The crazy scene before the start of Saturday’s third period either added to its charm or served as a reminder why the building needs replacement.

The arena Zamboni caught one of the metal pegs that holds the net in place as it was cleaning the ice after the second period and dragged it, causing a deep gouge in the ice that went from the goal line to the blue line. The game was delayed 33 minutes while the ice crew filled the hole and hoped it would freeze.

The on-ice officials consulted with the NHL Situation Room in Toronto as well as both coaches and captains before choosing to resume the game, with the teams switching ends midway through the third.

“Tough to get any momentum going when you’re sitting there that long,” Travis Hamonic said. “I can’t say I’ve ever seen that happen.”

Had the game been unable to continue, Jack Capuano said he was informed that the third period would have been played in Brooklyn on Feb. 15, when the Red Wings visit Barclays Center.

“It was just about the safety of the players,” Capuano said.

Boychuk returns

Johnny Boychuk played for the first time since Dec. 31, having missed 11 games with a shoulder injury. He played only 16:52, a low total for him, and didn’t see any power-play time.

“Coming back after that layoff against a real fast team like this, I thought he played well,” Capuano said.

To make room on the roster for Boychuk, the Isles sent Scott Mayfield back to Bridgeport. Boychuk took Brian Strait’s spot and was paired with Nick Leddy.

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