PHILADELPHIA — Johnny Boychuk returned to action after missing 12 games with a badly bruised foot, but it did not go the way he or the Islanders would have hoped. But the Isles defenseman still was encouraged about being back on the ice after missing nearly a month because of something he does often — blocking a shot.
“Yeah, it was a lot longer than we thought it was going to be, but I’m ready now,” Boychuk said Thursday morning.
Boychuk blocked a shot against the Blackhawks on March 2 and hobbled to the bench. It was the 126th shot block for him this season. He’s shaken those off before, but not this one.
Before last night’s game, he said he wouldn’t hesitate to step in front of another one.
“You can’t worry about it,” he said. “You have to play the way you know how to and do anything you can to help the team.”
Scott Mayfield came out of the lineup to make room for Boychuk’s return, with Thomas Hickey remaining a healthy scratch.
The Isles forwards remained the same, with Shane Prince the only extra forward to make the trip.
Barzal sidelined in WHL
Mathew Barzal, who made the Islanders out of training camp but played only two games before being sent back to Seattle of the Western League, had a stellar season for the Thunderbirds but has been out of action for three weeks as Seattle began its playoff run.
Barzal reportedly has mononucleosis after posting 10 goals and 69 assists in 41 games for Seattle and hasn’t played in his team’s first-round playoff series, which it leads 3-0 over Tri-City. There’s no timetable for his return.