The NY Islanders are preparing for their second game of the season without one of their defensemen today, as they'll host the Arizona Coyotes tomorrow at UBS Arena. Taking two points was a terrific way to start their 2023-24 campaign, but it may have come at a cost.
Scott Mayfield was missing from practice today after blocking a shot in the waning minutes of Saturday’s game as the Isles were defending a 3-2 lead against the Buffalo Sabres.
With the Sabres pushing offensively, Mayfield’s partner, Alexander Romanov, got to the bench for a change, but Mayfield was caught out on the ice as the Sabres carried the puck into the zone once again. On the ice for over a minute, a botched clearance by the Isles saw the puck slide towards defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who unloaded a powerful slap shot, which Mayfield took off the ankle with 2:07 remaining. As the puck exited the zone, Mayfield stayed on all fours before hobbling to the bench.
The Sabres struggled to keep the puck in the offensive zone, preventing Devon Levi from getting to the bench for the extra attacker, as the Isles held on for the victory.
The Isles are carrying seven defensemen on the roster, as Samuel Bolduc started the season in a suit instead of on the ice. However, swapping Bolduc for Mayfield isn’t a simple one-for-one move, being that Bolduc plays the left side while Mayfield plays the right. Sebastian Aho is capable of switching to the right side (his off-side), but that would require more shuffling of the defensive pairings.
Another option for tomorrow would be going with 13 forwards and five defensemen, possibly giving Julien Gauthier his debut in the blue and orange.
This could all be just a precautionary day off for Mayfield, as Lane Lambert stated after the Buffalo game that the defenseman was OK. As mentioned on X by Stefan Rosner of The Hockey News, Mayfield is day-to-day, per Lambert. Lambert says there is swelling, and he'll be a game-time decision tomorrow.