The New York Islanders emergency re-called left-wing Arnaud Durandeau from Bridgeport on Sunday in a move that likely indicates that Mathew Barzal is unexpected to play on Monday night or could be a game-time decision when the Isles take on Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
Barzal exited Saturday's game in Boston after taking a hit from Craig Smith at the 6:05 mark of the first period. After heading down the tunnel following his shift, Barzal returned during a TV timeout to briefly test his leg before leaving the ice again. The loss of Barzal puts further pressure on a forward group that has become increasingly thin as injuries have mounted.
The Islanders were already without third-line center JG Pageau, placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury retroactive to Feb. 11, and Josh Bailey, who left Friday's 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins with an upper-body injury and did not return. The Islanders first re-called Otto Koivula and later center Andy Andreoff to replace Pageau; Ross Johnston was inserted back in the lineup when Bailey didn't make the trip to Boston.
The 24-year-old Durandeau was a sixth round pick (No. 165) of the Islanders in the 2017 NHL Draft. Through 48 games, the Montreal native has 13 goals and 20 assists. He finished the 2021-22 season with 15 goals in 64 games.
Islanders head coach Lane Lambert had been relying heavily on the team's top-two lines following the Pageau injury and had recently put Anders Lee on a line with Bo Horvat and Barzal as the lineup was shuffled around. The line showed promise on Friday night as Lee scored twice against Pittsburgh. Horvat will likely move to center, and Lambert may put Kyle Palmieri with them on the top line and have Brock Nelson center a line with Zach Parise and Simon Holmstrom.
We don't know yet if the Barzal injury is serious enough to keep him out multiple games, but as the injuries mount and more depth forwards and AHL players are put in the line-up, the already difficult task of making the playoffs comes more daunting and unlikely.