BOSTON — Islanders captain Anders Lee, who is roughly three months removed from season-ending ACL surgery on his right knee, skated by himself Monday morning at TD Garden.
Head coach Barry Trotz made it clear that Lee would not be ready to compete in the playoffs, but it’s a good sign that the top-line winger will be ready for training camp ahead of the 2021-22 season.
Lee did some light drills at center ice, presumably testing how his knee holds up while skating sharp edges. He also took some redirection reps in front of the net, the spot he usually occupies during five-on-five and on the power play.
After scoring 12 goals and seven assists in 27 regular-season games, Lee was ruled out for the remainder of the season in March.
“Can you imagine Anders Lee in this series and [Oliver] Wahlstrom (lower-body injury) in this series?” Trotz said ahead of Game 4 Saturday. “That would be beneficial, but they’re not, so we just play with who we have and we like who we have so they’ll get the job done.”
Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov earned his fourth straight starting nod in Game 5 Monday night.
Since his rocky performances in Games 2 and 3 of the first-round series against the Penguins, Varlamov has been steady for the most part. Until the Islanders’ series-tying 4-1 win over the Bruins on Saturday, the Russian netminder had allowed a goal on one of the first three shots he faced in his first four playoff starts.
“If you know anything about Varly, there’s probably not a guy that’s more low maintenance,” Trotz said. “There’s probably not a guy that understands himself, and the game, the process of being a goalie in the NHL [better]. His demeanor gives you that confidence that he gets that it’s a hard thing. Goaltending is one of the those positions where, if you don’t have that trigger where you can just sort of understand why maybe you didn’t have the night that you did or your goal goes in that you don’t expect, how to shake those off, then you find goaltenders really go into those long slumps or never even get a career going because they can’t let it go.”
Heading into Game 5, Varlamov had a 2-3 record this postseason with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.
The NHL announced Game 6 of the Islanders-Bruins series at Nassau Coliseum is set for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.