It was clear throughout the Islanders’ Stanley Cup semifinal against the Tampa Bay Lightning that third-line center, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, was hampered by an injury.
The invaluable and versatile forward — who was an engine for that third line all season amidst a carousel of revolving wingers around him — missed the last 13 minutes of Game 2 against the Lightning, which is when the injury is believed to have happened.
It limited his game and with it, the effectiveness of that third line that featured Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac — two vital trade-deadline acquisitions acquired in April after captain Anders Lee was lost for the season with an ACL injury.
Even with the Islanders’ season over after falling just one win short of a first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1984, Pageau was still unwilling to disclose what happened in Game 2.
“I would prefer not to discuss it,” he said during exit interviews on Sunday.
Normally, exit interviews are the time in which teams and players disclose what injuries they were playing with — a sort of warped tradition within the NHL.
“We’ll see. Obviously, I was a little banged up,” Pageau said. “Everyone was at this point. It’s not easy to play games every two days. Not a lot of time to recover between the games… We’ll see what’s going to be next in the next few days.”
After recording 13 points in the Islanders’ first 12 playoff games this postseason against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins, Pageau didn’t record a point in the seven games against the Lightning.