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Islanders: Potential Lineup Changes For Game 4

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 16: Oliver Wahlstrom #26 celebrates with Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New York Islanders after Palmieri's goal in the first period in Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 16, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 16: Oliver Wahlstrom #26 celebrates with Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New York Islanders after Palmieri's goal in the first period in Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 16, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
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After losing back-to-back games, we may see Islanders coach Barry Trotz make some changes to the lineup looking for a spark. Now, I understand Islanders fans want to see Kyle Palmieri up top with Mathew Barzal but I still find that unlikely.

Let it be known that I personally am not opposed to the idea, I just think that Barry has made it abundantly clear that he wants someone who can take faceoffs with Mat Barzal.

With that in mind, I tried to find a “best of both worlds” if you will in terms of trying to figure out what the lineup could look like if the Islanders wanted to make some changes. Let’s take a look at the current lineup and see where the changes could come from

Islanders current lineup

Komarov – Barzal – Eberle

Beauvillier – Nelson – Bailey

Zajac – Pageau – Palmieri

Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

Of the 12, only two really have a chance of coming out and that’s Leo Komarov and Travis Zajac. Both are veterans that Barry Trotz tends to trust in big spots but if he’s looking for more juice, they’re the two obvious candidates.

At times during the regular season, Barry Trotz has scratched both guys so he’s proven that it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Proposed changes

Zajac – Barzal – Eberle

Beauvillier – Nelson – Bailey

Palmieri – Pageau – Wahlstrom

Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

In this scenario, the Islanders keep someone up top who can take faceoffs with Barzal. Actually, Zajac is significantly better at taking faceoffs with a 52.6 FO% vs Leo Komarov’s 45.9 FO%. He also provides a little more offense to his game than Uncle Leo.

Line two and Line four stay the same for obvious reasons, and Oliver Wahlstrom returns to the lineup on line three with the two reliable veterans. It’s not a perfect lineup but I think this is the closest we’ll get to a compromise.

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I love Barry Trotz, and in the end, I trust him, but I am absolutely beginning to question the logic behind Leo Komarov up top, especially as his FO% continues to drop.

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