Barry Trotz’s rare line change pays off for islanders
Barry Trotz told reporter he could ‘play fantasy hockey‘ whatever he wanted when the Islanders head coach asked him why Kyle Palmieri wasn’t skating on the front row with Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle .
But Trotz changed your tone on Saturday night after the Islanders clinched a 3-2 win over the Lightning to tie the Stanley Cup semi-final series at two wins apiece, in a game the 58-year-old played. revamped his first trio early to feature the aforementioned trio.
“It’s something that I have envisioned in every game,” Trotz said. “These will be low scoring games. I don’t think we can get into a track and field competition with this team. the [Lightning] finish so well. I had the last change, I felt there was more cadence in this game. I felt it would be an easier change for me. We’ll see what we do in the next game.
After trading Leo Komarov for Palmieri for most of the first two periods, the top line enjoyed a good zonal time against the Lightning. According to Natural Stat Trick, Palmieri, Barzal and Eberle created three scoring chances in 7:31 of ice time together. Trotz made the adjustment once the Lightning started to invade the Isles area early in the first period.
Trotz has been called upon to explain why he will not make the change permanent. Considering that Palmieri and Barzal have been on the ice together for four goals in 21:51 these playoffs, according to Natural Stat Trick, there’s no doubt that both forwards have a chemistry. While adjustment is Trotz’s choice when Komarov needs a breather after being shorthanded, the coach apparently likes to keep his lines balanced.
The Palmieri-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Travis Zajac group had success in this elimination race – especially against the Lightning.
However, when an offensive spark was needed, the front row was the first to be shuffled.
After repelling 28 of the 30 shots he faced in Game 4, Isles goalkeeper Semyon Varlamov earned his 17th playoff victory, tying Glenn Resch for second on the all-time list of the franchise.
“Varly, I thought, when it was 3-2, a little earlier when they had their push, he must have made a huge save on [Nikita] Kucherov coming down to the rear, ”Trotz said. “He got off the bench and they found him. I thought Varly had made a huge stop there.
The Islanders have improved to 5-3 at home in the playoffs and are 13-9 at home in the last three playoffs under Trotz. The Golden Knights are the only other team with more home playoff wins, with 15.
With a goal in Game 4 on Saturday, the Lightning’s Brayden Point extended his goal streak to seven games, marking the longest by a Stanley Cup playoff player since Claude Lemieux enjoyed a similar-length streak. over 24 years ago.