The already depleted Islanders suffered another injury blow in Thursday night’s 4-1 win over the Rangers, likely losing Anders Lee for several weeks to a fractured leg.
Lee was hit in the leg by teammate Johnny Boychuk’s shot in the first period at Madison Square Garden. He skated to the bench and tried to take a couple more shifts but clearly had trouble putting weight on his leg. He left the game after the first period and initial tests showed a break. The Islanders declined comment late Thursday night and Lee, who has 15 goals, will go for more tests on Friday.
The Islanders already were missing Travis Hamonic (knee), Mikhail Grabovski (concussion symptoms) and Jaroslav Halak (groin) long term and were without regulars Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, Brian Strait and J-F Berube against the Rangers.
Martin sat out Thursday night’s game with an upper-body injury that isn’t considered serious. He skated at the Garden on Thursday morning but was held out for precautionary reasons with the Isles already in playoff position and some players in need of rest.
Jack Capuano bristled at the idea that his team would be trying to steer itself into a preferred first-round matchup by sitting out healthy players in the final three games, Thursday night included.
“We’re not going to call up guys just to call them up,” Capuano said. “I respect what these guys have done. We have some guys that are dinged up for sure, so we’ll have to take a look at that.”
Injured Isles skate
Halak and Berube skated in full goaltender gear at IceWorks on Thursday, though neither took any shots on goal. Halak’s groin injury initially was to take six to eight weeks to heal, and it’s just past the four-week mark now.
Berube, who apparently was injured in Saturday’s 5-0 loss to the Penguins, has skated the past several days and seemingly will be ready to return by next week and back up Thomas Greiss to start the postseason.
Perhaps the most important injured piece is Hamonic, who suffered a right knee injury a week ago. He skated lightly, without gear, Thursday to test out his injured knee while trying to get back as quickly as possible in time for the postseason.