Johnny Boychuk, New York Islanders
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An ailing Islanders blueline finally gets some relief as veteran defenseman Johnny Boychuk, double nickels, has been activated from injured reserve.

While the Islanders and fans may want to see a little more defensive improvement, they’ll gladly welcome back Johnny Boychuk for their contest against former Islander Frans Nielsen and the Detroit Red Wings.

Boychuk, who has missed 18 games with a lower-body injury, will be a welcome sight on the ice if for no other reason than his shot-blocking ability. He leads the team, averaging 2.3 blocked shots per game and his 77 blocked shots are second only to Adam Pelech, who leads the team with 91, though he’s played 17 more games than Boychuck this season.

His presence should help stop the unfettered barrage of shots opposing teams have launched at goalies Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss in his absence.

Thursday night, the Islanders kicked off a series of back-to-back contests by dropping one of their most disappointing games in recent memory, 4-3 to the Buffalo Sabres in regulation.

Sure, the Isles came back to tie it at three, and it’s also true that they limited the Sabres to 18 shots on goal, their lowest total so far this season. However, they left with no points and a damaged morale on the front set of back-to-backs.

With the Islanders blueline battered and brittle, extra bodies are welcome in any form. Scott Mayfield is out for at least four weeks after taking a P.K. Subban slapshot to the leg.

Mayfield’s injury adds to the list of defensive injuries that include Calvin de Haan, Devon Toews, and now most recently Mitch Vande Sompel, who was injured this past week against the Hartford Wolf Pack and remains out indefinitely.

General manager Garth Snow wasn’t stretching the truth in any sense when he said that no help would come from Bridgeport in regards to getting the Islanders into the playoffs.

The trade deadline is just over two weeks away, and while there hasn’t been a lot of reassurance for the Islanders’ blueline in the last couple of days, there’s still plenty of time for news to change on the trade front.

Regardless of that, the Islanders are happy to welcome back Boychuk likely alongside Nick Leddy, who hasn’t quite looked like himself since his partner’s absence.

Puck drop against the Red Wings is at 7 p.m. ET tonight on MSG+.

Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.