The stomach bug that’s been circulating in the Islanders’ locker room released its grip on Johnny Boychuk, allowing the defenseman to return after missing Tuesday night’s game. But Ryan Strome fell ill and was out of Thursday night’s lineup.
Boychuk’s return to health meant Scott Mayfield took a seat as a healthy scratch, perhaps unjustly, after he scored the opening goal of Tuesday night’s 4-2 win over the Rangers. Mayfield has a goal and two assists in his last two games (although those games were six days apart).
“It’s tough for him. He’s been in and out,” Jack Capuano said. “We talked about his game out of camp. He’s a slow starter but he’s come up and not only given us a physical presence. He’s got the confidence now to be a contributor offensively for us as well.”
Strome’s illness opened a spot for Anthony Beauvillier, who had missed the previous three games as a healthy scratch. Beauvillier took Strome’s spot between Andrew Ladd and Shane Prince.
Hitchcock changes it up
Longtime coach Ken Hitchcock, who will leave the Blues in the hands of associate coach Mike Yeo after this season, decided to alter the usual NHL gameday plans by canceling the team’s morning skate.
“We just didn’t think sitting on the bus 40 minutes each way was good for our guys,” Hitchcock said before Thursday night’s game, the lone Barclays Center visit of the season for the Blues. “If it works, we’ll try it again.”
Hitchcock has 772 coaching wins, 10 shy of Al Arbour for third place on the all-time list. He was asked about this being his final visit to Long Island/Brooklyn.
“Last trip? I’m going to coach in the NBA next,” he joked.