The New York Islanders gained one valuable point to add to their aspiring playoff push after regulation time expired with the game tied at three goals apiece on Saturday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. However, the New York Islanders lost more than a second point on Saturday night in the eventual shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres. The New York Islanders lost a player more valuable to their team than that other point might have been to their place in the standings.
New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic took a deflected puck to the face during Saturday night's game at Nassau Coliseum. A slapshot from Buffalo Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff deflected off the stick of Frans Nielsen and into the face of Travis Hamonic at 5:21 in the third period. Hamonic immediately fell to the ice and a pool of blood surrounded him faster than his teammates were able to skate over to him in assistance.
Hamonic was helped off the ice and rushed to the hospital, where he had to undergo surgery to repair a broken nose and receive stitches to close the wound produced by the force of the deflected puck. He will be sidelined with this broken nose injury for the next two weeks.
The Feb. 4 game marked Travis Hamonic's 113 consecutive NHL game. Travis Hamonic holds possession of the title of the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the New York Islanders. His streak comes to an end after playing 51 games in his sophomore NHL season.
Travis Hamonic has offensively tallied 12 points (1G, 11A) through those 51 games. However, his defensive attributes are the reason why the next two weeks will be a challenge for the already defensively weak New York Islanders team. Hamonic makes up one-half of the Islanders shutdown defensive unit, responsible for facing the highest opposition line each night, along with his defensive-pair Andrew MacDonald.
The New York Islanders maintained a one-goal lead prior to Hamonic's departure on Saturday night but were unable to protect the lead upon his absence.
(For more information on Travis Hamonic and his importance to the New York Islanders, see my previous article: "The Impact of Travis Hamonic")
As a result of the injury to Travis Hamonic, defenseman Aaron Ness was recalled on emergency basis from the New York Islanders' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Monday afternoon. Still, Travis Hamonic will remain a defensive void the New York Islanders will be unable to fill or replicate for the duration of two weeks. The New York Islanders will need to fight through at least seven games of adversity in the absence of one of their most significant players.
If the New York Islanders can fight through the absence of Travis Hamonic, the New York Islanders can fight through the standings in the battle of the playoff race. The New York Islanders are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference standings and 11 points out of the eight spot with 31 games remaining to play.
The next two weeks without Travis Hamonic begins on Tuesday night as the New York Islanders face the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia.