PITTSBURGH — Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Cal Clutterbuck continue to inch toward a return from the injured reserve list with the Islanders — making the trip with the team to Pittsburgh for Thursday night’s massive tilt against the Penguins.
Both are still considered day-to-day by head coach Lane Lambert and did not participate in line rushes at the start of the team’s morning skate, which is an early indication that they’re not ready to return. Both of them did, however, cycle in on penalty-kill work.
“They’re getting close,” Lambert said. “It’s a boost for sure, they’re two very good players.”
The 30-year-old Pageau has been on injured reserve since Feb. 11 after suffering an upper-body injury, but he returned to practice on Monday to at least indicate that he’s approaching a return. He cycled in on the fourth line and did work on the penalty kill during that skate.
Clutterbuck was placed on IR on Jan. 23, also with an upper-body injury, with Thursday being his first practice with the team in roughly six weeks.
There is still no clarity in regards to the timetable for star playmaker Mathew Barzal, who has missed the last seven games with a lower-body injury that is keeping him out on a “week-to-week” basis, as described by Lambert. The 25-year-old was spotted at practice last week where he appeared to be walking with no assistance.