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New York Islanders

Mathew Barzal Practices With Islanders Following Two-Day Absence

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AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie

East Meadow, NY– Mathew Barzal was back on the ice with the New York Islanders Friday morning at Northwell Health Ice Center as the team continues to prepare for its matchup with the New York Rangers in the NHL Stadium Series on Sunday.

Back in his usual spot on the Islanders’ top line, Barzal returned after sitting out the last two days of practice while undergoing maintenance.

 

“It was something just minor, so it was really nothing,” Barzal said. “It was just being overly cautious. If it was anything serious, I wouldn’t have skated today.”

Barzal said the issue first occurred during the Islanders game against the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday night. Barzal played the entirety of the game, logging 26:11 of ice time and participated in the shootout, missing a shot that would’ve kept the Islanders alive.

If the Islanders had a game over the last few days, Barzal said he would’ve played. But with four days off, there was no need to push.

“We had a couple of days off…it was just just precautionary,” Barzal said. “I probably should have skated yesterday, but we’re just overly cautious with the days off between games.”

Not skating yesterday meant Barzal didn’t practice at MetLife Stadium. He was present, but only for a team photo. As soon as the camera shutter flickered, Barzal moved over to the bench and took in the day as a spectator.

“It hurt me not to be out there,” Barzal said. “I would love to have been out there. I was jealous. It was just cool to be with the boys and go outside, feel the air, see the rink and feel how big it is isn’t there.”

In 52 games, Barzal is the Islanders’ leading scorer with 56 points and 15 goals. After missing the final 24 games of the regular season last year with a lower-body injury, he has played in all but one game this season. Given the magnitude of the Islanders’ next game, there was little chance Barzal was going to allow himself to miss another.

“Yesterday was a little tickle just with how cool it’s going to be,” Barzal said. “I can’t wait until the stadium is full. It’s going to be amazing.”

The Islanders and Rangers meet for the first time this season on Sunday at 3 p.m.

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