Noah Dobson injury potentially puts major damper on NY Islanders playoff push

Apr 4, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson (8) passes the puck
Apr 4, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson (8) passes the puck / Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The path to the post-season is becoming clearer for the New York Islanders after the team recorded their sixth straight win, a 3-2 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, but their ability to make any playoff noise potentially suffered a devastating blow.

24-year-old emerging star Noah Dobson, who just became only the second defenseman in team history (Denis Potvin) to record 70 points in a season on Tuesday, left the game at 5:33 of the first period and did not return with what Patrick Roy described as an “upper-body injury" after the game.

Replays of Dobson's final shift of the game were inconclusive as to where and how the injury occurred. The best guess is that Alexander Romanov’s stick swung around and hit him on the left hand/wrist. The contact didn't appear significant, but it was serious enough that it forced the Islander to play with five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

"He's obviously extremely important to this team," Adam Pelech said of Dobson. "He's been having a great year for us, so it's tough to lose him so early. But the whole team really did a good job of picking up the slack." While at even-strength the team did dictate play and allowed only 14 SOG to the Canadiens, special teams was another story.

Without him in the lineup, the power play looked completely out of sorts, with Sebastian Aho forced to serve as the quarterback of the unit. They were 0-for-4 and had difficulty simply getting set up and gaining zone time all night. “It was tough [to lose him],” Kyle Palmieri, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime on Thursday night, said. “He’s our QB on PP 1, he plays a lot of minutes for us and he’s having a great season, so hopefully he’s OK.”

Dobson had been coming out of his late-season slump in a big way with goals in consecutive games against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators, followed by a two-assist performance versus the New York Rangers on Tuesday night. If he remains out for an extended period of time, Robert Bortuzzo would draw back into the lineup, and Aho would be asked to take on more responsibility on the power play as he did on Thursday.