Not only did the New York Islanders put up a disappointing and frankly frustrating performance against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, but to make things worse they're likely out two players.
First, it was Mathew Barzal. The Islanders start center took an awkward contact along the boards in the offensive zone that led to the Kings' players falling on Barzal's leg. Barzal stayed down on the ice for a bit and needed help getting off the ice.
New York Islanders: Two players out with injury
A collective sigh of relief was heard coming from Long Island as he came back for a shift. After going to the room for a few minutes Barzal was back looked alright. But the relief was short-lived as Barzal returned to the room and would not return.
While we all struggled with the Barzal news, the MSG broadcast crew picked up on the fact that Zdeno Chara wasn't on the bench either. Chara's last shift of the game came at 9:38 of the second and ended just under a minute later.
Now, obviously, both have very different impacts on the roster. Barzal is the team's best player and top producer. In his last five games (including the 5-2 loss to LAK where he played 8:18), Barzal has six points. Go back to his last ten games and he's got nine points. Losing Barzal, even for one game is a huge blow for the Islanders.
How long he's out for isn't clear yet. But any game without Barzal is a game where the Islanders are significantly neutered offensively. Which compounds an already existing problem up-top for the Islanders.
Chara as you may know doesn't have the same impact on the lineup as Barzal has. But he's still a top-four defender for the Islanders. Losing him to injury does open up a spot for a left-shot defenseman. Sebastian Aho will take that spot. At least for now. If Chara is out for long I'd expect Robin Salo to get a call-up from Bridgeport pretty quickly.
If Chara is out long-term the Isles won't be able to move him at the trade deadline. Not that the return would have been anything to write home about, but something for Chara rather than nothing would be nice.
We'll hopefully find out soon how long either of these players will be out for. And hopefully, it's good news for both players.