The New York Islanders will be looking to bring a physical presence to game two, but there is no room for Ross Johnston in the Islanders lineup.
If game one is any indication of how the first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals is going to be, then both teams better be ready for an extremely physical series.
Anders Lee set the tone for the game when he threw a late hit on Nicklas Backstrom, which wound up hurting Backstrom. Backstrom missed the rest of the game and is now out for game two, which upset both Capitals’ players and coaches.
After that hit was thrown, John Carlson charged at Lee and they both wrestled for a couple of seconds before the refs stepped in.
The rest of the game was filled with many feisty incidents including Matt Martin hitting Alex Ovechkin after the whistle, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck getting into it in front of the benches with Jakub Vrana and Tom Wilson and, finally, Wilson and Lee dropping the gloves and fighting.
Many Islander fans and reporters took to Twitter to say that Ross Johnston should be back in the lineup for game two. One of the reasons many fans think he should be in is because of the physical presence he brings on the ice Another reason is the fact that he dropped the gloves with Wilson back in 2018 after Wilson ran him.
Here are some of the tweets from the Islanders faithful
Who will Johnston Replace
For Johnston to dress in game two, that means someone in the Islanders in the lineup must get scratched. Who will that player be?
There is no way that Johnston will step in and break up one of the best fourth lines in hockey of Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Now you have to go up the Islanders depth chart to find a player for him to replace:
The only logical player for Johnston to step in for is Leo Komarov. BUT, there is one major thing that Komarov does that Johnston does not. That is Komarov kills penalties. Especially in the playoffs, special teams can make the difference in the game and Komarov is an asset to the Isles PK. Also, Komarov led both rosters in hits with seven in game one.
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With all this being said, the Islanders have won two straight games with the same lineup. Barry Trotz is a coach who likes to ride a winning lineup and not change anything up unless there are injuries. For that reason alone, Johnston will not be in the lineup.
I guess there are two questions here: 1) Who does Johnston come into the lineup for? AND 2) Why change up a winning lineup?
Isles Country: If you were on the Islanders coaching staff would you dress Ross Johnston for game two? Leave your comments below!
*All Stats Provided by the NHL*