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Islanders: Johnny Boychuk Expected To Return in Round 1

DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 17: Johnny Boychuk #55 of the New York Islanders plays the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 17, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 17: Johnny Boychuk #55 of the New York Islanders plays the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 17, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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After going down with an injury in Game 1 of the Panthers series, Johnny Boychuk is expected to be ready for the Capitals series starting Wednesday.

It was a short-lived experience for Johnny Boychuk in the Qualifying Round as the New York Islanders took on the Florida Panthers. Mike Matheson ended his series after a blatant hit up high early in the second period of Game 1.

After practicing yesterday, the assumption is that Johnny Boychuk is good to go on Wednesday for Game 1 against Washington. In the return to play, the teams are not allowed to disclose injuries or illness information so it was a vague update from the Islanders.

“We had everybody (at practice) today,” is what Barry Trotz said. It’s fair to assume that means that Boychuk, who played 64 games during the regular season will be inserted back into the lineup.

Andy Greene was a fine replacement for Boychuk on the third pair in Games 2 through 4. He picked up an assist in Game 2, was a plus-2 for the series, and averaged about 18 minutes a game in the series.

Boychuk and Nick Leddy, his d-pair partner for the last six seasons, bring a steady force to the Islanders’ blue line. Yes, they aren’t the 2015 version of themselves anymore, and they are arguable the Isles weakest pair, but if those two are your third-pair defensemen you’re in great shape.

Both Leddy and Boychuk were around the last time the Islanders took on the Capitals in the playoffs. If you remember correctly, the Isles d-core was decimated with injuries in that series, but those two were mainstays.

Boychuk averaged 26 minutes a game in that series as he was playing monster minutes along with Nick Leddy who was getting 24:40 a night. Neither of them will likely need to play more than 20 minutes this go around, but having the two of them reunited is definitely a positive for the Islanders heading into this series.

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Expect a tight series between the two teams as Trotz knows the Caps well, and the Caps know his system well. It should be a good one.

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