Patrick Roy turns to the NY Islanders' centers of attention to spark offense

2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - New York Rangers v New York Islanders
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - New York Rangers v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Desperate times call for desperate measures.

The New York Islanders are in urgent need of a spark, wins, and goal-scoring. In an effort to try and get all three, head coach Patrick Roy will be starting Monday's game in Dallas with a top line consisting of their top three goal scorers: Mathew Barzal, Bo Horvat, and Brock Nelson.

The moves come after Roy put the three together during the third period of Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. "They bring speed, and I’m very curious to see [how they do]," Roy said after practice in East Meadow on Sunday. "I really liked the energy that they brought in that third period, so it’s very tempting to continue.”

The move has an impact on all line combinations with Anders Lee moving to a line centered by JG Pageau that includes Kyle Palmieri. Meanwhile, a returning Casey Cizikas is elevated to the third line with Pierre Engvall and Simon Holmstrom. With Oliver Wahlstrom being the extra skater, Kyle MacLean centers the fourth line with Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck.

Brock Nelson
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - New York Rangers v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Per Newsday, Barzal, Horvat, and Nelson have accounted for 38.3% of the team's goals this season. The trio does have plenty of familiarity with each other from being on the top power-play unit, but playing an entire game together will bring new dynamics. It will concentrate the team's most skilled playmakers together, which could make the scoring changes produced by the rest of the lineup more scarce. That, however, is a risk Roy is willing to take to jumpstart the team after two consecutive losses and a mediocre 4-5-3 record since he took over as head coach.

"Brock's a really good player, and I think we're just trying to get a spark here offensively," Horvat said after practice. "Obviously, he brings that element to our line, so if we get the chance to play together tomorrow, I'm really looking forward to it."

The Islanders scored five goals in their Stadium Series matchup with the New York Rangers and then five more in a 5-4 overtime win in Pittsburgh. However, since then, they went over five periods without a goal before scoring two, with the goaltender pulled in the third period on Saturday.