Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau plays the puck against the Hurricanes during...

Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau plays the puck against the Hurricanes during the third period at UBS Arena on March 19. Credit: Brad Penner

RALEIGH, N.C. — Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s absence lasted only one game.

The versatile third-line center was back in the lineup for Monday’s night’s 5-3 loss to the Hurricanes in Game 2 at PNC Arena after missing Saturday’s 3-1 loss in the series opener because of a lower-body issue.

He was a game-time decision for the second straight time. This time, Pageau was able to participate in the morning skate — the first time he was on ice with his teammates since exiting the regular-season finale on Wednesday — and skate during pregame warmups.

“I’m fine,” said Pageau, who logged 15:17, setting up Anders Lee’s second-period power-play goal but finishing a minus-3 without a shot. “If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t play.”

Pageau centered Lee and Pierre Engvall on the third line, a spot occupied by rookie Kyle MacLean in Game 1. MacLean returned to his usual fourth-line spot centering Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck.

“He’s another guy that’s a really solid two-way center,” MacLean said. “Centermen like that are great for me to watch. He’s really smart, good positionally. Pager with the faceoffs has been great for me. He’s always giving me little tips.”

Pageau, who plays on the power play and penalty kill, had 11 goals and 22 assists in 82 games and led the Islanders by winning 55.4% of his faceoffs. He’s the Islanders’ lone righthanded center. 

Two in a row

Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour showed no hesitancy in going back to Frederik Andersen as his starting goalie after Andersen made 33 saves in Game 1. It marked the first time Andersen has started consecutive games since returning on March 7 from a blood-clotting issue that had kept him out since Nov. 2.

Brind’Amour said he and goalie coach Paul Schonfelder did not have any concerns about the workload.

“Not really,” Brind’Amour said.

Andersen went 9-1-0 with a 1.30 goals-against average, a .951 save percentage and three shutouts after returning.

He allowed three goals on the first nine shots he faced.  

Isles files

With Pageau returning, Hudson Fasching came out of the Islanders’ lineup after logging 14:18 with two shots in Game 1 while skating on Brock Nelson’s second line with Kyle Palmieri. Simon Holmstrom was elevated to that spot after playing 9:37 with one shot as he centered the fourth line in Game 1.

“I liked Simon’s game against these guys,” coach Patrick Roy said. “Game 1, I thought he played well. He was heavy on the puck. They’re both are going to play. We just feel like going with him tonight.”

Hurricanes right wing Jesper Fast (upper body) remained out of the lineup after missing Sunday’s practice. Brind’Amour did not sound hopeful that Fast’s return is imminent. “He’s pretty much the same,” Brind’Amour said. “Until he starts getting out there to practice, he’s definitely a no-go.”

Goalie Jakub Skarek, defensemen Samuel Bolduc and Sebastian Aho and forwards Oliver Wahlstrom and Ruslan Iskhakov were healthy scratches for the Islanders. Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce exited in the second period with a lower-body injury.


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