The Islanders handled this past week without both Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic pretty well, going 2-0-1 while allowing only four goals. One of the nicer surprises among the defense fill-ins was Adam Pelech, who was especially good against the Rangers on Thursday.
But the bad injury luck continues to strike and now Pelech, who was a late scratch on Sunday against the Canucks, is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury — one that could be a long-term situation for the 21-year-old.
Scott Mayfield, who stepped in for Pelech on Sunday and played well, remained with the Isles as they practiced Monday morning. The team doesn’t play until back-to-back games in Ottawa on Friday and home against the Flyers on Saturday, so there is still time to determine the extent of Pelech’s injury and decide on whether the Islanders need to bring up another defenseman from Bridgeport.
There was a small bit of good news on Monday. Hamonic, who has been out for 10 days with a hairline fracture in his foot, skated before the Islanders’ full practice, as did Boychuk, who has been out for three weeks with a shoulder injury.
Boychuk likely won’t return before next week’s All-Star break but Hamonic has a chance to be ready by this weekend if his skating continues to progress.
“Our back end, not having a couple guys, thought they played well again,” Jack Capuano said after Sunday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Canucks. “We could have won three in a row here.”
Notes & quotes: The NHL’s Department of Player Safety declined to hold a hearing with Mikhail Grabovski, who was given a boarding major and game misconduct in the first period of Sunday’s game for a hit on Canucks captain Henrik Sedin. Sedin left the game and won’t play again until after the All-Star break, having been sent home from Vancouver’s current road trip. The Canucks play the Rangers on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.