Vanek was hurt early in the first period of a 5-2 loss at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday after he fell awkwardly in a collision with Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky 23 seconds into his first shift of the game. He will be reevaluated after the team returns to Long Island.
"He's pretty sore," said Islanders coach Jack Capuano.
"You have to go out and stay focused, keep moving, don't stand around and watch. Don't take it for granted," Nelson told Newsday.
For the Canadiens, center Gabriel Dumont will make his season debut after being called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League on Saturday. He will center the fourth line between Ryan White and Travis Moen, bumping George Parros out of the lineup for the first time since he returned from a concussion Nov. 1.
“They want me to bring energy,” said Dumont, who had four assists and 20 penalty minutes in 12 games with Hamilton this season. “I want to be a player who’s annoying to play against. I know my role.”
The Islanders will be looking to salvage something out of a four-game road trip that has begun with three straight losses by a combined score of 12-4. Six of those goals against came on 12 power play opportunities for their opponents, an area that will need to improve against Montreal’s third-ranked power play unit.
But defenseman Josh Gorges insists the Canadiens are far from panicking, they simply to need to make subtle improvements to the way they’re currently playing.
“The recipe for success is here, we know what it takes,” he said. “We don’t need to change anything; we just need to be better.”
Here are the lineups for the game Sunday: