The New York Islanders are in action today against the second-ranked team in the East Division, the Washington Capitals. It’s the first big test in a while for the Islanders who’ve played the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils seven of their last eight games.
Along with a date against the second-ranked Caps, the Isles are going through a rough time with injury and COVID absences.
Anders Lee is out indefinitely and two other players missed out the last game after going on the NHL’s COVID protocol list. Both Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Noah Dobson missed the lastIsles win against the Devils because of COVID.
New York Islanders boost with the return of Jean-Gabriel Pageau
The team didn’t state why they missed, but today we found out that Pageau was removed from the COVID protocol list. Why he was included could have been for a few reasons, a false-positive being one of them.
There’s no word on Noah Dobson just yet, but he could be in the same situation. Hopefully.
Adding Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the lineup is a huge upgrade over Austin Czarnik as the third-line center. No disrespect to Czarnik, but Pageau is a better player in every aspect.
Having him back in the lineup restores the Islanders four-line rotation.
Lee’s absence is a tough situation made slightly easier with the emergence of Kieffer Bellows next to Barzal and Eberle. For Oliver Wahlstrom, he gets his center back. Wahlstrom has been fine without Pageau, but getting the player who’s helped him along in the first few steps of his pro career can only be seen as positive.
With a HUGE four-point night against the Capitals on the schedule for tonight being able to run four lines is a big boost in their hopes to retain the top spot in the Eastern Division.