TAMPA, Fla. — The Islanders did not hint at the severity of defenseman Nick Leddy’s lower-body injury. Nor did they call anybody up from their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, perhaps suggesting that they are not worried about a long-term absence.
Either way, it meant rookie Noah Dobson was back in the lineup for Monday night’s 5-1 victory over the Lightning at Amalie Arena.
Leddy hobbled off the ice with 90 seconds remaining in Saturday night’s 3-1 loss at Dallas, seemingly unable to put weight on his left skate.
Coach Barry Trotz said he is day-to-day. “We’ve got a couple of days, so we’ll see where we are,” he said. The Islanders are off on Tuesday and will practice in Sunrise, Florida, on Wednesday before concluding their road trip against the Panthers on Thursday night.
Dobson, the 12th overall pick in the 2018 draft, played in his eighth game Monday. He logged 8:14, a season low for him and a team low for the game. He also was used in Leddy’s spot on one of the Islanders’ power-play units.
He is age-restricted from the AHL because of his junior eligibility, so the Islanders either must keep him on their roster or return him to his junior hockey team. The Islanders believe his development would be stunted in juniors.
Dobson was a healthy scratch the previous five games and for 12 of the previous 13. The last time he played before Monday, he struggled through his 13:34 of ice time in a 4-1 loss at Los Angeles on Nov. 27.
“I’m definitely going to keep it simple,” Dobson said before Monday night's game. “I thought I really didn’t do a good job of that in the L.A. game. I thought I struggled in that game after being out for a while. I can learn from that experience. I’m definitely more prepared this time.”
Dobson practiced on the first power-play unit during Monday’s morning skate. “It’s nice to get back on the power play,” he said. “It’s something I’ve done all my life.”
Trotz did not hesitate to challenge Victor Hedman’s apparent goal at 9:53 of the third period that would have cut the Islanders’ lead to 3-2, even though an unsuccessful challenge for offside would have given the Lightning a power play.
“Usually, our video guys have been spot on all year,” Trotz said. “When the referee came over, I said, ‘It was clearly offside. You can look at it and go from there.’ ”
The review to overturn the goal did not take long.
The Islanders reached 20 wins in 29 games, the fastest in team history . . . Semyon Varlamov’s start extended their goalie rotation to a franchise-record 29 games to start the season . . . Leo Komarov was the healthy scratch.