Oliver Wahlstrom is unlikely to return to the Islanders’ lineup for Saturday night’s Game 1 of their second-round series against the Bruins at TD Garden.
"He’s day-to-day," coach Barry Trotz said Friday. "He’s probably doubtful for tomorrow. He’s still doing some rehab."
Wahlstrom, a key component on Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s third line as well as the second power-play unit, suffered an unspecified injury going hard into the wall in the third period of Monday’s Game 5 of the first-round series against the Penguins.
Wahlstrom’s absence allowed Travis Zajac to make his Islanders playoff debut in Wednesday’s 5-3 Game 6 series-clinching win at Nassau Coliseum. Zajac, who played 1,024 games for the Devils before being traded to the Islanders along with Kyle Palmieri on April 7, logged 11:55 with an assist while also saving a goal when he swiped Kasperi Kapanen’s chance off the goal line.
Trotz said Friday he believes players should not lose their spot in the lineup because of injuries.
"But there comes a little bit of a caveat to that," Trotz said. "For players that have been there a long, long time and he gets injured, you really don’t lose it. But if a player has been there for 20 games and done a good job, I don’t think it holds as much weight."
Wahlstrom, the 11th overall pick in 2018, had 12 goals and nine assists in 44 regular-season games and a goal and two assists in five games against the Penguins.
"He’s a unique player for us," Trotz said. "A type of player we need in our lineup for a number of different reasons: For his size, his ability to score, the power play. Travis brings an element of experience. He’s quietly competitive and very detailed. But, Travis can earn his way into someone else’s spot as well."