Mathew Barzal’s availability for Thursday night’s Game 6 was all but confirmed by the coach.
It just happened to be Flyers coach Alain Vigneault with the most detailed report, not the Islanders’ Barry Trotz.
“I have no concern about Barzal,” Vigneault said on Wednesday, an off day for both teams. “I came up in the elevator with him last night. I was happy to see and talk to him and see it was nothing serious. That could have been a real bad accident. But, fortunately, the young man is all right.”
The Islanders’ top-line center exited after being bloodied near the right eye by Claude Giroux’s inadvertent high stick at 15:13 of the third period in Tuesday night’s 4-3 overtime loss at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The Flyers staved off elimination in the second-round series.
Trotz placed his level of concern for Barzal’s Game 6 availability as “probably moderate.”
“I think everything is trending in the right areas,” Trotz said. “So, hopefully tomorrow I’ll give you a more specific answer. But everything is trending in the right direction right now.”
Barzal scored his fourth goal of the postseason, giving the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 1:20 of the second period on the power play. The Islanders staged their two-goal rally to force overtime after Barzal was forced from the game.
Still, not having Barzal would force a reshuffling of the Islanders’ line combinations.
“He’s got that game-changing ability, that elite speed and ability to create plays,” right wing Cal Clutterbuck said. “That would be missed. But we’ve got capable guys that can fill in, too.”
Vigneault was less certain about the availability of his top-line center. Sean Couturier exited after the second period following a collision with Barzal.
“I don’t know more than I knew yesterday,” Vigneault said. “He’s still being evaluated.”