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Andy Greene proves to be the right decision for Islanders

Islanders defenseman Andy Greene skates during an NHL

Islanders defenseman Andy Greene skates during an NHL summer training camp session at Northwell Health Ice Center on July 22. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Islanders acquired longtime Devils captain Andy Greene on Feb. 16 as a replacement for Adam Pelech, feared lost for the season with an Achilles’ tendon injury.

Then, the season was paused for four and a half months because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Pelech healed, pushing Greene from the lineup.

But Johnny Boychuk was unavailable for the Islanders’ 4-2 win over the Panthers in Tuesday’s Game 2 of their best-of-five series at Toronto with a suspected head injury suffered in Saturday’s Game 1 and Greene logged a solid 16:07 with an assist and blocked shot in his spot paired with fellow lefty Nick Leddy.

“We acquired him to play big minutes,” said coach Barry Trotz, who dressed Greene over rookie Noah Dobson after both participated in the pre-game warmups. “It was a difficult decision not to start him in Game 1.”

Greene helped set up the Islanders’ first goal by Matt Martin at 6:12 of the second period pinching into the right corner to forecheck.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been on the right side,” Greene said. “Playing on the off-side, it’s really important to make sure you’re in good position and know what you’re doing with the puck. You’ve got a blind side to the right. You never want to come in because of the reason that happened there, but you have to be ready.”

Notes & quotes

After combining for just two shots and no points in Game 1, the top line of Mathew Barzal (one assist), Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle (two goals) had 12 of the Islanders’ 34 shots…Defenseman Ryan Pulock (one goal, one assist) had his second career multi-point postseason performance. His first was in 2016, also against the Panthers…Trotz ended his post-game press conference with well wishes directed at those affected by Tropical Storm Isaias. “I got lots of pictures from friends and our fans and saw there’s been some devastation,” he said. “I wish everybody the best on the Island.”...

Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson was fined $2,500 by the NHL for his first period double-minor high sticking on Brock Nelson...

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