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Filppula out four weeks for Islanders

Center sidelined with upper-body injury

by @NHLdotcom

Valtteri Filppula is out four weeks for the New York Islanders with an upper-body injury.

The center left midway through the first period of a 5-0 loss to the Boston Bruins at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday after being hit behind the Bruins net by defenseman Connor Clifton. He has 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) in 71 games after agreeing to a one-year contract with the Islanders on July 1.

Leo Komarov, Anthony Beauvillier and Tom Kuhnhackl are among the options to help replace Filppula in the lineup. Center Tanner Fritz was recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League after practice Wednesday. 

"We have a little bit of a plan going forward here, but it may be by committee here a little," coach Barry Trotz told the Islanders website. "Leo has played a little bit in the middle. We're still in the process of seeing who is available."

The Islanders (42-24-7) are two points behind the Washington Capitals (43-23-7) for first place in the Metropolitan Division with nine games remaining in the regular season. Should New York qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which begin April 10, Filppula could return toward the end of the Eastern Conference First Round.

"[Filppula has] been instrumental in our success this year," forward Anders Lee said. "He's got such a veteran presence and is so smart down the middle. He plays the right way and is always in the right spots. We have some big shoes to fill now with [Filppula] out. Until he can come back, we have a bit of a hole to fill."

Forward Jordan Eberle did not practice and is day to day with an upper-body injury. He will travel with the Islanders for a two-game road trip but is questionable for the game against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, MSG+, NHL.TV).

Forward Cal Clutterbuck practiced after leaving the Bruins game in the second period.

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