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Islanders stick with same lineup for Game 2 vs Lightning

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 13: Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders celebrates with his teammates after their 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game One of the Stanley Cup Semifinals during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on June 13, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 13: Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders celebrates with his teammates after their 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game One of the Stanley Cup Semifinals during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on June 13, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? That’s the approach Barry Trotz is taking with his New York Islanders lineup as they get set for Game 2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

While rookie Oliver Wahlstrom took part in the pre-game skate with the team he isn’t likely to start for the Islanders. In the spot he’d normally occupy will be  Travis Zajac. A spot the 15-year NHL veteran has occupied since game six against Pittsburgh.

And while Wahlstrom could certainly help the Isles power play that struggled mightily in Game 1, Trotz isn’t about to rock the boat with his lineup to give the Isles PP a bit of help

New York Islanders icing familiar lineup for Game 2

Because going into Game 2, the Isles are running a four-game winning streak. Again, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Which is all this is about really. It’s not a reflection of Wahlstrom’s talent or the impact he could have on the power play. It’s that this lineup is pulling out wins at the most important stage of the season.

For tonight Barry is going with what he knows works:

Komarov-Barzal-Eberle
Beauvillier-Nelson-Bailey
Zajac-Pageau-Palmieri
Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Pelech-Pulock
Leddy-Mayfield
Greene-Dobson

Varlamov (Sorokin)

Again, this lineup just works. Is Zajac more productive than Wahlstrom? No. He has two points in eight playoff games while Wahlstrom has three (in five games). But having Zajac on Pageau’s line just works. It balances out the lineup well and has allowed the Islanders to not only push aside the Boston Bruins with three straight wins, and get an important away win against the Lightning.

If you’re calling for Wahlstrom to be in this lineup instead of Zajac, I understand where you’re coming from, but consider those four wins in a row. I’m sure you can find any number of stats that show Wahlstrom is better than Zajac. You won’t find anyone that will argue against that. But at the end of the day, getting the ‘W’ is all that matters and that’s what this lineup is doing.

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