#Islanders ’ Johnny Boychuk exits game after taking high hit

#Islanders ’ Johnny Boychuk exits game after taking high hit

August 2, 2020 | 12:07am

Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk took a late and high hit from Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson shortly into the second period Saturday evening and didn ’t return for the remainder of the game.

Head coach Barry Trotz didn ’t have an immediate update on Boychuk, but he did address the penalty, which was reduced from a five-minute major to a two-minute minor after it was reviewed by the referees.

“Trust me, as I said to the referees, I have a total respect for them, their job, because we as coaches have to do it during the Phase 3 and scrimmages,” Trotz said on a Zoom call following the Islanders ’ 2-1 win. “When I looked at it, at first, Johnny ’s head was down, and I thought he got him pretty good with the hit on the head.

“They looked at it and they reviewed it, I trust their judgment, I won ’t agree with it because of the fact that I want to protect my players. But I thought it was borderline.”

On the subsequent power play, the Islanders capitalized to go up 2-0 as Anthony Beauvillier found the back of the net at 3:39 of the second period.

Anthony Beauvillier (not pictured) scores a goal on the Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky during the Islanders' 2-1 win on Saturday,Anthony Beauvillier (not pictured) scores a goal on the Panthers ’ Sergei Bobrovsky during the Islanders ’ 2-1 win on Saturday,Getty Images

“You hate to see a guy go down and then when you have the opportunity on the man-advantage you want to capitalize for him and for the team and for momentum,” said Brock Nelson, who had a team-high five shots. “Right now, especially with all the scenarios we have going on and the time off and coming back, special teams is going to play a huge part.”

With the possibility of not having Boychuk for Game 2 on Tuesday, the Islanders turn to a deep pool of defensemen. The defensive pairing of veteran Andy Greene and Noah Dobson, who drew high praise throughout training camp, were healthy scratches, as well as defensemen Thomas Hickey and Sebastian Aho.

The Islanders now have two days until they take the ice for Game 2 of the play-in series.

“We ’re going to reassess, we ’ll look at the game, we ’ll take a step back and look at the game a little differently than from the bench and try to dissect,” Trotz said. “One or two adjustments, there ’s a couple things that I know that we can improve upon right now that we can hopefully add to our game.”

There are 10 current Islanders who also faced the Panthers in the first round of the 2016 playoffs.

Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Hickey, Nick Leddy, Matt Martin, Brock Nelson, Ryan Pulock and Thomas Greiss were all part of the Islanders team that defeated Florida in six games.

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