Barry Trotz hinted at lineup changes as the New York Islanders hit the road for a five-game trip. On the first stop of the trip, Barry swapped Kieffer Bellows for Michael Dal Colle and Ilya Sorokin for Semyon Varlamov.
The forward swap will certainly anger a number of fans after tonight’s performance. The third line was basically a black hole outside of Pageau. Dal Colle pitched a standard performance and Ross Johnston brought little to the table as the Isles failed to find a way into the game.
Here’s a breakdown of how it all went down.
New York Islanders go down early
It started well for the Isles who picked up a power-play seven minutes into the opening frame. They tried to match their 66% efficiency from their last by launching a ton of rubber toward Scott Wedgewood with six shots on net on that power play.
Obviously, not a single one went in, but that’s the type of play you want to see from the Isles who’ve been dreadful on the power play for the past two seasons.
But things didn’t end well, the Devils were able to put two past Ilya Sorokin in two minutes. One was a Jack Hughes power-play snipe and the other was a Pavel Zacah tally on a broken play in front of the Isles goal.
Sit and Wait
With a two-goal lead, the New Jersey Devils approach to the game shifted from avenging their 4-1 loss on Thursday to a “sit and wait” approach. Through the second they sat four-player behind the puck and clogged up the neutral zone. Which makes it pretty hard for the Islanders to get anything going.
The Islanders still managed to control play when you look at the underlying numbers. They held a 54.55 CF%, a 66.67 HDCF%, and a 55.83 xGF% in the second frame. But even with that analytics advantage, the Isles looked like a gear back of the Devils.
If you tuned in for the third period, I’m sorry.
The Islanders were terrible in the third. Absolutely dreadful. They generated nine shots on net (at 5on5), two of which were dangerous. On their lone power play they had in the final period the Islanders had no shots on the net and spent most of the time fumbling the puck or putting it in Ryan Pulock‘s skates.
The Islanders were searching for energy the entire game and never found it. How that happens when you have guys like Matt Martin, Ross Johnston, and Cal Clutterbuck in the lineup is baffling. All there are there to set the tone and create energy neither one of them did that.
It was awful and looking at the Islanders lineup on the night you wonder how they couldn’t generate any sort of energy?
Scott Wedgewood (28 Svs, 1.00SV%): He wasn’t tested much but when he was he stopped it.
Jack Hughes (1G [GWG], 1SOG): Hughes wasn’t very effective on the night, but he only needed one opening and he took it.
Ty Smith (2A, 1SOG): Great start to a rookie season from Smith with two helpers tonight.
Mathew Barzal (MIA): The Isles fortunes are tied to their star center. When he isn’t clicking nor are they.
Michael Dal Colle (MIA): He played. I know he did, but look at his stat sheet and it’s all 0’s. Barry said he was serious to see Dal Colle, and I don’t know why. This is what a Dal Colle performance looks like.
Ilya Sorokin (2GA, 0.917SV%): He was at fault for the second goal the Devils scored.