NY Islanders center JG Pageau returns to practice on Monday

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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The New York Islanders lineup is on the verge of getting a boost.

Third-line center JG Pageau was back on the ice and skating with the team at practice at Northwell Health Ice Center on Monday morning. Pageau was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury back on Feb. 16, retroactive to Feb 11.

The injury is believed to have happened in a 4-3 OT loss to the Montreal Canadiens. In that game, Pageau logged 12:56 TOI, well below his average of 18+ minutes a game. He did attend the team's next practice, where he got nicked up, but then was a late scratch and ruled out for the team's next game against the Ottawa Senators before being placed on IR.

The 30-year-old Pageau is in his fourth season with the Islanders after being acquired before the 2020 trade deadline. In 56 games, he has scored 10 goals and added 19 assists while doing a little bit of everything for head coach Lane Lambert.

Pageau has generally been on a line with Zach Parise on his left and rotating right wings that have included Kyle Palmieri and Simon Holmstrom, among others. With Pageau out, Parise has been lately playing on a line with Brock Nelson and Palmieri. Meanwhile, Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin have recently formed a new fourth line in the absence of Cal Clutterbuck with Hudson Fasching. That line appears to be one that could stick.

If Pageau returns to the lineup, it'll likely be Otto Koivula, who has been centering a line with Holmstrom and Josh Bailey. Koivula had one of his better games at the NHL level against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon. If Parise is ready to play on Tuesday versus Buffalo, Lambert will have to decide whether he slides in Koivula's place or mixes up the Nelson line for the pivotal match up against the Sabres at UBS Arena.