Barry Trotz might bring some lineup changes to the New York Islanders for game two at home vs. the Caroline Hurricanes. Here are three changes he could make.
Speaking to media after game one, New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz was asked if he needed to change much in light of the loss. His response was that he didn’t feel he needed to change much, but he could tinker with the lines.
(Fast-forward to the 2:30 mark of the post-game press conference for the bit about the lineup.)
I don’t personally think that Barry needs to change much. The Islanders were the better team on the night. They created 12 high-danger chances to the Hurricanes seven. Petr Mrazek, however, was up to the task in game one, stopping all 31 shots he faced.
If not for a mistake in overtime, perhaps the Islanders come away with the win.
There wasn’t a glaring deficiency in the Islanders roster. If Barry is going to make any changes he’ll tinker around the margins. Here are three options I think he might go for.
Beauvillier to Line Two
Anthony Beauvillier was one of the Islanders better forwards in game one. He had four shots on goal and two hits in just over eleven minutes of ice time. Maybe bumping him up next to Brock Nelson on the second line could give the Islanders a small gain up front.
Again, the Islanders looked good against the Hurricanes in game one. But if Barry can take that uptick in form from Beauvillier and give him a bit more ice-time, maybe it manifests itself into something special.
Tom Kuhnhackl to the Scratch Pad
Kuhnhackl has been absolutely fine for the Islanders. He’s been able to show why Lou Lamoriello went out to get him in free agency. His previous Stanley Cup playoff experience has enabled him to ground this team when they’ve found themselves in stressful situations.
But with Michael Dal Colle on the scratch pad, Trotz has a young and hungry player that’s waiting for his opportunity to get his first taste of NHL playoff hockey.
Barry could opt to swap the two out.
With Johnny Boychuk out, Nick Leddy spent most of his night with Thomas Hickey (13:46 in all situations). Hickey is a fine defender, but he isn’t exactly the same type of player that Johnny Boychuk is.
The Leddy-Hickey pair was a 36.36 percent Corsi for and 35.13 percent in expected goals for. Away from Hickey Leddy’s numbers jump to 58.82 and 77.11, respectively (all stats from NaturalStatTrick.com).
Mayfield, a right-handed defenseman, held a 55.56 CF% and a 67.81 percent in expected-goals for. He’s also more physical and likely to stay behind as Leddy maraud forward. Just like Boychuk. A Leddy-Mayfield pair feels more natural than Leddy-Hickey, maybe Barry makes the switch.
Changes Not Necessary
The changes aren’t necessary. The Islanders were better than the Hurricanes on the night. But a solid Petr Mrazek and a few bad bounces and the Isles couldn’t find their way onto the scoresheet. That won’t hold going forward.
The Islanders will solve Petr Mrazek and Barry probably knows that. Come puck drop on Sunday he might not opt to make any changes at all.