New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert revealed just hours before puck drop that center Jean-Gabriel Pageau will not be available for Tuesday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury that landed him on injured reserve Feb. 11.
It remains unclear if he’ll be traveling with the team for their Thursday clash against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
Pageau returned to practice on Monday — the first time he hit the ice with the Islanders since suffering his injury against the Montreal Canadiens. He cycled in on the fourth line alongside Otto Koivula and worked on the penalty kill.
His absence ensures that Koivula will get at least one more night in the Islanders’ starting lineup, though these are some of the most pivotal games of the season to be without one of their top two-way forwards. The Sabres are four points behind the Islanders, who hold the No. 1 Wild Card spot, with three games in hand entering Thursday night.
The Penguins sit just one point back of New York with three fewer games played, as well.