MONTREAL - Thomas Vanek stayed with the Islanders to finish off the last stop of the four-game road trip, but his condition still is a bit of a mystery.
Vanek sat out Sunday's game against the Canadiens because of the upper-body injury he suffered on the first shift of Saturday night's 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets in Columbus. He was injured when he was tripped by Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and fell awkwardly. A source indicated there are no concerns about a broken bone, but he isn't likely to play when the Isles return home to face the Predators on Tuesday.
"He's here, but he's pretty sore," Jack Capuano said before Sunday's game. "We'll have to evaluate him again when we get home."
When the Islanders traded for Vanek, part of his allure was his durability. He missed only 16 games with the Sabres in the previous three seasons, and his only major injury in nine NHL seasons was a broken jaw near the end of the 2008-09 season that forced him to miss nine games.
Clutterbuck still ailing
Capuano said Cal Clutterbuck, who missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury, will be evaluated again on Monday. Clutterbuck was close to playing in Raleigh on Thursday but was a late scratch; now his injury has become a concern.
Nelson with top line
After sitting out on Saturday as a healthy scratch for the sixth time this season, Brock Nelson went back into the lineup, starting on the top line in Vanek's spot. "I just need to go out, stay focused and not take it for granted," said Nelson, who scored the Islanders' second goal Sunday night. "You don't want to just stand around and watch. Just do all the same things I've been doing."