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Boychuk reportedly escapes without damage to eyesight after taking skate to the face

The Islanders defenseman was struck in the area of his right eye by the skate of a falling Artturi Lehkonen. Multiple reports have indicated that the skate missed Boychuk's eye.

It appears as though New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk has escaped without a serious, career-threatening injury following a frightening incident Tuesday night in which he was clipped in the face by the skate of Montreal Canadiens winger Artturi Lehkonen.

The injury occurred midway through the third period of the Canadiens’ 6-2 victory over the Islanders Tuesday following a collision between Boychuk and Lehkonen in front of the New York crease. Attempting to clear the winger from the front of the net after a Canadiens shot attempt sailed over the net, Boychuk bumped with Lehkonen and knocked him to the ice. As he was falling forward, Lehkonen’s skate came up and appeared to catch Boychuk hard in the area of his right eye.

Following the game, Islanders coach Barry Trotz said Boychuk was being evaluated, but no update was available. However, NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty reported Tuesday night that the cut Boychuk suffered was to his eyelid and not his eye. Not long after, Boychuk’s brother, David, Tweeted that it was “really tough to see a loved one involved in a scary moment like tonight. Thankful for the big guy looking out for JB tonight.” In a reply, it was indicated Boychuk required stitches and implied that he had suffered a cut to his eyebrow. In addition, former NHLer and current broadcaster Colby Cohen reported Boychuk "has a bad cut but his eyesight is okay."

Asked about the incident post-game, Lehkonen said he had seen the replay and called it “a pretty scary situation.”

“Obviously, I feel terrible about it,” Lehkonen told reporters. “My skate hit him in the face and I really hope it didn’t hit him in the eye or anything like that. It was scary, for sure. I felt it right away that it hit somewhere high.”

Once a top-three defenseman for the Islanders, Boychuk has slid into a depth role over the past two seasons. Apart from sitting out one contest as a healthy scratch, the 36-year-old has appeared in every game for New York this season, notching two goals and 11 points with an average ice time above 17 minutes.

If Boychuk is sidelined for any considerable amount of time, and as of this writing there is no indication as to when he could return, it will be another blow to an Islanders blueline that is already without Adam Pelech. Pelech was second in average ice time among all New York defensemen at the time he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. In the time since his injury, which occurred before New York’s first game in January, the Islanders have the fifth-lowest points percentage in the NHL.

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