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Mathew Barzal in COVID Protocol; Will Miss Tuesday’s Game vs. Detroit

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Mathew Barzal

Just when it seemed the New York Islanders COVID-19 woes had been behind them, they got hit with bad news on Tuesday. Mathew Barzal was put into protocol, head coach Barry Trotz revealed on Tuesday morning.

Barzal didn’t take part in the morning skate on Tuesday morning prompting reporters to ask about the Isles star’s status for their showdown with the Detroit Red Wings. The loss of Mathew Barzal is a significant setback for an Islanders offense that had just started to get its feet under it.

The 24-year-old had been riding a six-game points streak (1 goal, 8 assists) and was a big factor in the turnaround of the power play.

“I think we’ve been doing everything in terms of all the protocols that we need to do,” Trotz said when asked what his concern level was. “It’s a virus. Someone picked it up and we move on.”

The Islanders have been through the wringer when it has come to COVID-19 this season. New York had its season paused in November after up to eight cases had been detected among Islanders players. Casey Cizikas had been the final Islanders player to come out of COVID protocol before Tuesday’s news about Mathew Barzal.

The COVID outbreak played a hand in the Islanders 11 game-losing streak, which included seven straight losses at their new arena at Belmont Park.

Tuesday’s news hasn’t changed much of the Islanders’ approach to their meeting at Little Ceasers Arean with the Detroit Red Wings.

“Mat’s been really good on the power play for us. Our power play has been getting some traction and rhythm,” Trotz said. “We’ll miss him there, but a good option in a guy like (Brock Nelson) and (Anthony Beauvillier) maybe Possibly going in there. They’re good options, but Barzy has done a real good job. In terms of gameplan, it doesn’t change a whole lot. Detroit plays a certain way. The only thing that’s really different from them is Tyler Bertuzzi is in tonight versus he wasn’t in against us last time. … Other than that it won’t change the gameplan.

“We’re still going to have to play the way we play just with the guys that are available.”

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