The news appears to be positive about Mat Barzal.
The Islanders star forward left Tuesday’s Game 5 loss early after he caught stick to the face. Claude Giroux was moving the puck and his follow-through went under Barzal’s visor, but the 23-year-old seems to be OK to play in Game 6 on Thursday.
“I think everything is trending in the right areas,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz told reporters on Wednesday. “Hopefully by tomorrow, we’ll be able to give you a more specific answer on that. Everything is trending in the right direction.”
The incident occurred late in the third period before the Islanders scored twice in the final five minutes to force overtime. Mat Barzal was down on the ice before a trainer ran out to put a towel on his face. Barzal skated off the ice under his own power.
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While Trotz’s words were encouraging, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault provided a bit more insight into Barzal’s condition.
“I have no concern about Barzal,” Vigneault said. “I came up in the elevator with him last night. I was happy to see and talk to him. See there was nothing serious. That could have been a real bad accident. Fortunately, the young man is all right.”
Mat Barzal picked up his fourth goal of the postseason on Tuesday night. He was credited with the game’s first goal, which had originally been given to Josh Bailey. Barzal has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 14 playoff games this year.
The young forward has four points over the last five games and his goal in Game 5 was Barzal’s first of the series. The Islanders are well aware of what they would be missing if Barzal wasn’t in the lineup
“With Mat everyone sees what he brings,” Cal Clutterbuck said about Barzal. “That game-changing ability. Elite speed and the ability to create plays. That would be missed, but we’ll see where he’s at tomorrow and we’ll go from there. We have capable guys that can fill in too.”
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