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Mathew Barzal Sits Out Islanders Practice For Second Straight Day



AP Photo/Adam Hunger

East Rutherford, NJ– Mathew Barzal stepped on the ice with his New York Islanders teammates at MetLife Stadium for a group photo on Thursday and promptly left the ice as practice began.

Watching from the bench as a non-participant, it was the second straight day Barzal missed practice due to maintenance while the team prepared for its matchup with the New York Rangers in the NHL Stadium Series on Sunday.

“I’m pretty confident he’s going to be in the lineup on Sunday,” Islanders head coach Patrick Roy said. “As of right now, it’s just maintenance.”


Pretty confident is not an absolute. What is, though, is that the Islanders cannot afford to carry on without Barzal.

After missing the final 24 games of the regular season last year with a lower-body injury, Barzal is the Islanders’ leading scorer and has skated in all but one game this season.

Barzal played the entirety of the Islanders’ last game against the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday, logging 26:15 of ice time and missing a shot that would’ve kept the team alive in an eventual 2-1 shootout loss.

With Barzal not participating in the practice, Hudson Fasching filled in on the Islanders’ top line for his first appearance with the team since suffering a lower-body injury on Jan. 25 against the Montreal Canadiens.

“I’m excited to be back,” Fasching said. “It’s a big game to be ready for at the very least.”

The scale of the spectacle aside, describing Sunday’s game as big for the Islanders undersells its importance as they sit outside the playoff picture with just 29 games remaining on their schedule.

“Sundays is about winning a hockey game, and we need to win badly,” Matt Martin said. “It’s an important game for us, and every game is going to be important from here on out. We need to definitely come in with a good attitude and be committed to winning.”

The Islanders’ matchup against the Rangers at 3 p.m. EST on Sunday is their first against their arch-rival this season. It will cap off the two-day event for the NHL  in what’s expected to draw a combined crowd of close to 140,000 spectators to the Meadowlands this weekend.