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Islanders' Johnny Boychuk receives 90 stitches after taking skate to face

Islanders' Johnny Boychuk receives 90 stitches after taking skate to face
New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (R) suffered a cut around his eyelid after being hit in the face by Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen on Tuesday night. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

March 4 (UPI) -- New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk needed 90 stitches to close a gash around his eyelid after being hit in the face by the skate of Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen.

Islanders team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters Wednesday that Boychuk suffered no damage to his eye. The team didn't provide a timetable for his return.

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"Johnny Boychuk is OK. There has been no damage to his eye," Lamoriello said. "Fortunately, it was just the eyelid that took 90 stitches to fix. A plastic surgeon took care of it.

"I don't want to exaggerate with the stitches because they do very small stitches, but there were 90 of them. He'll be fine. It's just a matter of time with the eye opening up and him feeling good."

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Boychuk and Lehkonen were in front of the Islanders' net when Lehkonen appeared to lose his balance and fell forward. The fall caused his legs to kick backward, and his right skate connected with Boychuk's face as he looked downward.

Boychuk immediately crashed to the ice and covered his face with his gloves before skating off in visible pain.

In a tweet posted Wednesday, Boychuk thanked those who offered positive messages after the scary injury.

"Thank you to everyone for the positive messages and thoughts! I am extremely grateful," Boychuk wrote on Twitter. "Please know they did not go unheard. Luckily for me the skate only cut my eyelid. Sorry for the late response...facial recognition wasn't working... Thank you again my friends."

The Canadiens beat the Islanders 6-2 Tuesday night.

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