Breaking: Islanders Forward Rejoins Practice After 23-Game Absence

It was a sight for sore eyes this morning at New York Islanders practice, as for the first time in nearly two months, a key member of the team was back on the ice with the squad, just in time for the playoffs.  

This is the star forward's first time skating with the team since going down to injury back on Feb. 18. At the time, the 25-year-old was putting together another rock solid season for the Isles, with 51 points in 58 games (14 goals, 37 assists). The lower-body injury caused Barzal to miss the team's last 23 games. 

The timing for his return to the ice with his teammates couldn't be better, of course, as they went through their first postseason practice in advance of their first-round meeting with the Carolina Hurricanes. Barzal intends to play in Game One. 

It's expected that Barzal will rejoin Bo Horvat as the first-line RW. Those two were clicking before Barzal went down, to the tune of 11 points in seven games.

Somehow, the Isles put together a 14-7-2 record down the stretch without Barzal, a lot of that thanks to the incredible run of goaltender Ilya Sorokin, who has posted a 1.86 GAA with a .934 SV% in his last eight games, and overall went 13-5-2 while Barzal was out.

But they will certainly be welcoming Barzal back with open arms. 

 Photo: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports