Islanders center Casey Cizikas sets for a face-off against the...

Islanders center Casey Cizikas sets for a face-off against the Maple Leafs in the third period of an NHL game at UBS Arena on Nov. 21. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Centers Casey Cizikas and Brock Nelson may be "days away" from rejoining the Islanders’ lineup.

Both participated in the morning skate before Thursday night’s 4-3 loss to the Predators. Cizikas is the last of eight Islanders to clear COVID-19 protocol after testing positive on Nov. 27.

Nelson (injured reserve/lower body) was expected to miss two to four weeks after being hurt on Nov. 21. He had resumed skating on his own.

"They’re skating with the group today so they’re days away, I would think," coach Barry Trotz said. "They’ve missed some time. They’re getting closer. It was a morning skate, so there wasn’t grind or contact. We’ll see where the doctors, the therapists, the strength coaches and the sports science department think these guys are at and then, hopefully, we get them sooner rather than later."

Defenseman Ryan Pulock (long-term injured reserve/lower body) is the other player still absent from the lineup.

But some normalcy is returning to the team after the COVID-19 outbreak and the injuries to Nelson and Pulock.

"There was a weird period there where we had guys out of the lineup, away from the rink," defenseman Scott Mayfield said. "It was tough, especially opening up the new rink without some of the guys that deserved to play in that game. As we get everyone back, it’s a good feeling. It’s fun in the locker room."

Take a seat

Anthony Beauvillier has gone 13 games without a point and Trotz did not give him a shift for the first 9:59 of the second period in reaction to his lazy play on the sequence that led to the Predators’ second goal.

Beauvillier did not contain Predators defenseman Matt Benning, whose initial shot was knocked in by Colton Sissons at 18:52 of the first period.

"They had full possession and he’s standing next to a D," Trotz said. "He decides to change. That D walks in and blasts it and they get a goal. That can’t happen. Beau has to raise his game. Not a lot of production. He’s lost way too many battles. That was sort of a little bit of a tipping point for me that maybe you have to watch a little bit."

One-sided fight

The Islanders’ Zdeno Chara, 6-9, 255 pounds, bloodied Yakov Trenin’s face when the two fought at 13:18 of the first period. Chara was coming to the aid of defense partner Sebastian Aho after the 6-2, 201-pound Trenin flattened him along the wall in the Islanders’ zone.

Hitting 100

Defenseman Noah Dobson, the 12th overall pick in 2018, played in his 100th regular-season game in his third NHL season. Dobson, whose game has noticeably grown of late, also has played in 20 playoff games.

"One hundred games for a defenseman is a really short time," Trotz said. "I think most people judge a young defenseman after they have 300 games in the league."

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