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Islanders Kieffer Bellows named to opening night lineup

New York Islanders Kieffer Bellows (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)
New York Islanders Kieffer Bellows (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images) /
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Kieffer Bellows will be in the lineup for the New York Islanders 2021 season opener against the New York Rangers.

The big question swirling around the New York Islanders leading up to puck drop on their season opener against the New York Rangers was who would play with Jean-Gabriel Pageau on the third line.

Earlier in the day head coach Barry Trotz indicated that it could be one of the three forwards who are currently on the taxi squad that could be placed in the lineup. Those three forwards: Kieffer Bellows, Otto Koivula, and Austin Czarnik.

Everyone believed Trotz was talking about Kieffer Bellows. And it seems we were right with Bellows named to the opening night lineup.

Bellows Is In

According to Newsday’s Andrew Gross at the game the Islanders lineup against the Rangers for opening night is:

Lee-Barzal-Eberle
Beauvillier-Nelson-Bailey
Bellows-Pageau-Johnston
Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Pelech-Pulock
Leddy-Mayfield
Greene-Dobson

Varlamov (Sorokin)

I don’t care for Johnston and Martin playing in the same game, specifically against the Rangers. The last time that happened the Isles were in control of the game until both Johnston and then Martin got into fisticuffs and the game slipped away from the Isles (who lost 6-2).

But, Bellows is in. The Isles first-rounds pick from 2016 had a good 2019-20 AHL season and earned his call-up to the Isles at the end of the 19-20 season. Sure, he had to serve some sort of penalty for a PED violation, but that should be behind him now.

I expect Bellows to get somewhere around 10-15 minutes of ice-time including some power play time with the team’s second unit. If he can get on the scoresheet he might just keep that spot longer than anticipated.

It’s my expectation that Oliver Wahlstrom will be in the lineup for game two of the Islanders season and that Bellows will be the one to sit on the taxi squad.

The taxi squad has a minimum of four players so with Bellows coming out for tonight’s game Oliver Wahlstrom was moved to the taxi squad. Both are waiver exempt meaning both can come on and off the taxi squad easily.

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