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Wahlstrom Demoted to Fourth Line, Soshnikov Gets Chance with Barzal

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New York Islanders
New York Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom (Photo courtesy of New York Islanders Twitter)

New York, NY–The biggest question heading into the contest with the New York Rangers was if Cal Clutterbuck would be available for the New York Islanders after missing the final two periods Monday night in the 4-3 overtime win over the Calgary Flames.

When warmups began, Cal Clutterbuck was not on the ice, as Ross Johnston and Nikita Soshnikov both skating. And then the New York Islanders did their usual line rushes, and to our surprise, there were glaring chances made by Islanders head coach Lane Lambert.

The shock did not come from seeing Nikita Soshnikov in the lineup, as it was expected. It was the fact that Soshnikov was skating alongside Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal on the top line.

The last time Soshnikov played came against the Tampa Bay Lightning, in which he made a critical mistake at the end of the second period leading to a last-second goal by Nicholas Paul to give Tampa a 4-2 lead entering the third.

It was a back-breaking mistake.

Rapid Recap: Islanders Allow Back-Breaking Bolts Goal Late in Second, Lose 5-3

Nikita Soshnikov does bring speed, and the idea from Lambert is likely that he can keep up with Mat Barzal.

The other glaring chance to the lineup was the demotion of 22-year-old Oliver Wahlstrom, who took his line rushes with Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas. Wahlstrom only took three shifts in the third period on Monday night before being taken out of the rotation.

Prior to the game against the Rangers, I asked Lane Lambert what he had thought of Wahlstrom’s play and what he needed to see more of.

“He’s done the little things. He’s done the details. We’d like to see him get more shots on goal.”

Wahlstrom has seven shots over his last five games, with no goals.

Here’s the full lineup:

This story will be updated following the game. 

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