The New York Islanders will have to wait until Saturday to turn things around after a rough five-game road trip.
Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres was postponed just hours after the NHL had to postpone their Tuesday matchup at Nassau Coliseum with Buffalo. Weather-related travel delays prevented the proper COVID contact tracing and testing protocols to take place and Taylor Hall and Rasmus Ristolainen were put on the COVID protocol list Tuesday evennning.
Buffalo’s season is on pause until atleast Feb. 8 and the league is working to reschedule those game, which included what was supposed to be Thursday’s second game of the year between the Islanders and Buffalo.
“Going into this year we understood that something like this might happen,” Anders Lee said before news of Thursday’s cancellation broke. “And it’s come into our schedule now. Now we just adjust and go forward.”
What this all means for the Islanders is that they won’t play again until Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders have managed to stay away from any COVID issues during the course of this season so far.
Up until Tuesday, their only direct brush with any virus related issues was when Josh Bailey was briefly put on the COVID protocol list. He was quickly cleared from it.
“I think you just want to be safe and obviously you don’t want to have this turn into something where we have a bunch of guys coming down with it,” Lee said. “Just one of those things you kind of take the safe way. Obviously canceling today’s game is one step forward in that and I think everyone is just trying to make the right decisions here.
“Like everything else you just want guys to be safe.”
The Islanders will play three of their next four games at home beginning with Saturday’s matchup with Pittsburgh. Only their Monday showdown with the New York Rangers will be on the road during that span.
“We’re excited to get home and get on our home ice,” Lee said. “Get back to playing the way we want to and righting the ship. As we know with a lot of this stuff we have to be flexible. It’s understood and just follow protocol and that stuff. We’ll figure this out and whenever our next game is we’ll be ready to go.”