Islanders play shorthanded after surprise illness

Florida Panthers v New York Islanders
Florida Panthers v New York Islanders / Al Bello/GettyImages

With the New York Islanders in Washington for their final road game, they only ice a lineup with 17 skaters. That's one less than the usual 18 skaters. This could be a big problem as the Isles get set to play a playoff team. Something they've had an issue with all year long.

Two players were out with an illness Zdeno Chara and Brock Nelson both missed out the game with a non-COVID illness. But the Islanders only made one call up, and that was Robin Salo. Why didn't they call someone up for Brock Nelson?

New York Islanders play shorthanded after surprise illness

Well, they didn't know he'd miss. Brock Nelson was at the team skate before the game and practiced with the team. The Isles clearly thought Nelson would be good to go for puck drop. With Pageau back after COVID, the Islanders let prospect Otto Koivula return to the AHL.

If the New York Islanders had known that Nelson wasn't going to be good to go they'd have kept Koivula.

With Pageau out of the lineup for five days due to COVID, Koivula took his spot on the team as the third-line center. Did he do well? In the three games filling in for Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Koivula scored a point, put four shots on net, was -1, in 10:45 of average ice time. So, did he do well? Meh, he was OK.

With Nelson out and no replacement in for him, the Islanders will face the Captials (a playoff team) a man down. Not good.

Although silver lining, the players who are in the lineup will see their ice time jump up. Specifically guys like Barzal, Pageau, and Cizikas who play center. This could be a good thing or it could be a disaster for the winless-in-five New York Islanders.