New York Islanders center Brock Nelson was back on the ice for his team’s practice on Thursday before their trip to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets.
“[It was very good to see him back at practice]. He seems like he’s OK,” head coach Lane Lambert said. “So that’s good.”
The star forward, who has 30 goals this season, was forced to leave Tuesday’s 7-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs with 1:12 to go in the first period after he took a hit from behind by Noel Acciari that sent him face-first into the boards.
After laying on the ice momentarily, he got up under his own power and went straight down the tunnel to the locker room. He would not return.
While he suggested that he sat the rest of the night for precautionary reasons, he nor the Islanders are officially saying he’s a go for Friday night in Columbus.
“It was nice to get out there,” Nelson said. “I felt good yesterday and I felt better again today this morning. So I just wanted to go out there and keep going. Right now I feel pretty good so hopefully, I’ll be ready to play.”
Skating on Thursday though is a vital positive sign for Nelson’s status with just 10 games left in the regular season. The Islanders have done well to bolster their standing in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, holding the No. 1 Wild Card spot with 82 points — and that’s without star playmaker Mathew Barzal for the last 13 games while Bo Horvat hasn’t scored in each of his last nine games.
“We just have to stay sharp and try and round out different areas of our game,” Nelson said. “We’ve done some good things to get us in a good spot in this race and now we just take this one at a time. Every game is crucial.”