The NY Islanders have had their share of early season injuries, specifically within their top-4 defensemen. Scott Mayfield and Adam Pelech have been battling lower-body injuries, and neither seems 100%.
Mayfield blocked a shot off the stick of Rasmus Dahlin on opening night, causing him to miss the ensuing seven games. A few games later, Pelech awkwardly collided with Aliaksei Protas of the Washington Capitals at the blue line, suffering what looked to be a hip injury.
Mayfield returned to the lineup on November 2 - the same day Pelech went down. Pelech has since been in and out of the lineup, battling what is likely the same injury.
"I'm getting there," Mayfield said post-game last night regarding his health. "It's kind of a battle out there right now."
Aside from the lower-body injury he's been struggling with, Mayfield took an awkward hit into the boards last night, leaving him shaken up a bit. No penalty was called on the play, but one could have easily been given.
Both Mayfield and Pelech, who typically eat minutes at even strength and on the power play, have been seeing significantly less ice time of late.
In Mayfield's first two games back, he played over 20 minutes but has seen those numbers reduced over the last four. He's picked up some other knocks in that time, which have left him skating gingerly off the ice, and hasn't eclipsed the 20-minute mark since, playing a season-low 15:32 in the Islanders' loss to the Capitals on Saturday.
Similarly, Pelech, who has been the Isles' workhorse on the blue line the past few seasons, is seeing less ice time than he's used to. Returning on Nov. 7 against the Minnesota Wild, Pelech played a season-low 18:45 and missed the next two games before returning last night.
The Isles defense has been struggling significantly recently, allowing at least four goals in each game of their current five-game skid. Not having two top-4 defensemen at 100% plays its part in the Isles' recent run of poor play, but every team faces injuries throughout the season, with the difference being how the team reacts to them. The Isles, right now, are not reacting well.