Islanders first-line center Mathew Barzal caught a stick to the face at the end of the third period and didn’t return for the rest of Tuesday night’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Flyers.
With just under five minutes left in regulation, Claude Giroux’s follow-through on a shot came up high and struck Barzal hard in the face. The 23-year-old Barzal immediately fell to the ice grabbing his face in pain and there was some blood on the towel he was given by an Islanders trainer as he came off the ice.
As the Islanders rallied with two goals in the third to force OT, Barzal remained in the locker room for the remainder of the period and then overtime.
Islanders coach Barry Trotz didn’t have an immediate update on Barzal, but he was pleased with how the team adjusted to playing without him in the extra period. Jean-Gabriel Pageau did a lot of double shifting.
“I thought we responded pretty well with him out,” Trotz said. “Obviously, we worked our way back into that game. I don’t have an update but we’ll see where that is tomorrow.”
Right wing Jordan Eberle, who usually plays with Barzal on the first line, took a handful of shifts with Pageau and was also pleased with how their play panned out.
“We only had a few shifts together but they’re similar players, they’re quick through the middle,” Eberle said. “J-G is a great faceoff guy, he’s responsible in his own end. He’s been a great addition to our team. You look at the depth throughout our lineup, guys go down, guys step up and that’s what we’ve done for the most part all year.”
Barzal was later credited with the Islanders’ first goal of the game, which was originally given to Josh Bailey.
Flyers goaltender Carter Hart was spared by the refs of a delay of game call when he caught and froze the puck behind the net in OT. Once play officially stopped, the referees could be seen issuing Hart a warning.
Trotz said he did not inquire about the play.
After recording two goals in the Islanders’ Game 4 win over the Flyers and another in Tuesday’s loss, Brock Nelson now has 13 total playoff goals for the Islanders, which is the most by any Islander since 2000.