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New York Islanders

Islanders Practice: Barry Trotz Comfortable with His Lineup in Lee’s Absence



New York Islanders Barry Trotz

Don’t expect the New York Islanders lineup, or lines for that matter, to look much different when they hit the ice against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Despite some lineup shuffling since captain Anders Lee was sidelined for the rest of the season with an ACL injury, the Islanders bench boss appeared to find the group he’s comfortable with going forward. The Isles have won three straight games since Trotz mixed things up moving several players around, including putting Leo Komarov on the top line with Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle.

“I think we’re settled in right now,” Trotz said after the Islanders practiced on Friday in Pittsburgh. “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of change. I think I have a good handle on what’s working and which guys seem to compliment each other enough that gives us a good balance. And then a few guys that we needed to get going a little bit off…have got going with some of the changes.”

In particular, Anthony Beauvillier had snapped a lengthy scoring drought earlier in the week and has since scored the game-winning goal in back-to-back games for New York. Michael Dal Colle and Josh Bailey also have managed to find the back of the net since the lineup was shuffled by the Islanders bench boss.

Beauvillier had gone eight games without a goal before he scored in three consecutive contests. His move to the third line with Oliver Wahlstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau has seemed to help one of the Islanders more crucial forwards.

“He’s got a lot of speed to his game and I do whatever I can to win my wall battles and get the puck to him,” Wahlstrom said about Beauvillier’s new role on the third line. “He’s just been really good for us right now and it’s fun playing with the two French guys. I think we just have to keep going and Beau is hot right now.”

The New York Islanders had everyone on the ice at practice except for Michael Dal Colle on Friday. Trotz did not appear to indicate that Dal Colle would not play on Saturday in the Steel City.

If Dal Colle was to miss Saturday’s game, it would likely mean Kieffer Bellows getting back into the lineup.

However, aside from the odd injury, it doesn’t appear that Trotz will be messing with his lineup much for the time being. That will likely not make some Islanders fans happy, who do not like the idea of Komarov playing on the team’s top line.

While Komarov may not be a known goal scorer, earlier in the week Barzal praised what he has been able to do.

“I really feel like there’s chances to be had out there,” Barzal. “Having him is nice. He can take faceoffs for me. His presence down low he can strip pucks and kind of send me. … He does a lot of little things out there that make the game easy for me and (Jordan Eberle).