Ninety stitches later, Johnny Boychuk still got lucky.
The Islanders defenseman took a skate blade to the eyelid Tuesday night at Barclays Center in a 6-2 loss to the Canadiens, but avoided a more serious injury, team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said Wednesday.
“Johnny Boychuk is OK,” Lamoriello told reporters. “There’s been no damage to his eye. He had quite a night. First of all, you don’t know what happens. He felt the skate blade get his eye. But fortunately it just got the eyelid. It took 90 stitches to fix. A plastic surgeon took care of it.”
Boychuk was battling with Artturi Lehkonen in front of the Islanders net in the third period when Lehkonen fell forward and his skate came up high, clipping Boychuk in the face. Boychuk fell to the ice, grabbing at his left eye and squirming briefly before racing straight to the locker room.
The scary injury will sideline Boychuk, at least until his eye opens up again.
“He’ll be fine,” Lamoriello said. “It’s just a matter of time with the eye opening up and him feeling good.”
Last year, a skate blade cut Boychuk in the neck and again he avoided serious damage.
Boychuk is also the third Islander to get cut by a skate blade this season. Winger Cal Clutterbuck got cut on the wrist and center Casey Cizikas suffered a lacerated leg.