Connect with us

New York Islanders

Kieffer Bellows Was Ready & Waiting, Did Everything To Stay In Lineup



New York Islanders, Kieffer Bellows

Regardless of how the New York Islanders season has gone, 23-year old Kieffer Bellows had not often been relied upon by head coach Barry Trotz as of late.

Kieffer Bellows had waited patiently for five games, 23 days to get back into the lineup, having last played against the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 25.

With Josh Bailey missing from the morning skate ice and the announcement coming that he is dealing with an injury (day-to-day) Bellows left the practice ice with the rest of his teammates, signifying that he would get into the lineup Thursday against the Boston Bruins.

Trotz spoke following morning skate about what had hindered Bellows’ ability to get into the lineup and progress as a regular in the NHL. It was more about Bellows’s strength as a left-winger and the lack of left-wing opportunity.

Whether it was honesty by Trotz or just a message to boost Bellows’s confidence, Trotz ended his answer with this:

“He’s probably ready to transition over to a little more full-time basis as much as possible. I think he’s capable of it.” Trotz said. And in my mind, just as like everybody, it’s just a little bit of consistency.”

Like many Islanders Thursday night, Bellows came to play.

In 14:53 TOI, Bellows registered an assist, had five shots, five hits, a block, and zero turnovers in the 4-1 win over Boston. He played on the left side of Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier.

His assist came off his best asset, his shot, on a shift with Mathew Barzal.

After reading a Barzal drop-pass, Bellows quickly got a low shot on Boston Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark. Bellows then crashed the net, and the puck bounced over to Barzal. Just like that, the Islanders had a two-goal cushion with under seven minutes to go in the third period.

This was not the first time Kieffer Bellows got a chance with Mathew Barzal.

Back on Jan. 17,  Bellows started the contest alongside Barzal, but Bellows struggled mightily to read Barzal, leading to missed opportunities.

But Thursday night he read Barzal’s play to a tee, and it paid dividends.

“He was good. And I would say in all three zones for me,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “Thought he, you know, in the d-zone, he had pretty good detail and good wall play. He was hard on the battles through the neutral zone. He had good details, and in the offensive zone, he was good.”

“He made a real solid play on the Barzal goal shooting the puck, and he played with firmness, and that’s the game that you want from Kieffer night in night out.”

Bellows was asked about his coach’s comments from earlier in the day and if that had any impact on his game.

“Just hearing that, you know, it gives me confidence to go out there and play my game, and you know, just play hard for these guys,” Bellows said during his postgame presser. “I think that’s just the main goal, is just go out there and play my game and, you know, hopefully stick, and do whatever it takes to help the guys win.”

Trotz preaches consistency, which has been Bellows’s biggest issue at the NHL level.

The Islanders need wins. And Bellows did everything on Thursday night to find his way back in the lineup on Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens, regardless of Josh Bailey’s status.