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Isles coach Barry Trotz opts not to challenge Canadiens' crucial goal

Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York

Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders in the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Barclays Center on Nov. 30, 2019. Credit: Jim McIsaac

MONTREAL— Barry Trotz was certainly tempted.

The Islanders lost, 4-2, to the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Tuesday night and Brendan Gallagher scored a crucial goal to make it 2-0 at 13:30 of the second period.

But the right wing’s stick appeared to be above the crossbar as he fought to knock in the rebound of defenseman Shea Weber’s high shot and the Islanders coach considered challenging.

But after a lengthy discussion with the officiating crew and with the Islanders’ video staff communicating with associate coach Lane Lambert, Trotz opted not to risk a penalty for an unsuccessful challenge because Gallagher was hunched over while his stick was high.

“Pretty close,” Trotz said. “That’s a rule that is still vague to me. We felt it was a high stick but Gallagher is bent over a little bit and I haven’t seen too many of those called back. If it goes directly in the net, it’s automatic, it’s no goal. I think it went off Greisser and he got the rebound so that is a goal. Our chance is on the original high stick and he was bent over. I just felt we were already in a rut. No sense putting us in a deeper rut.”

No update on Cal

Trotz said he did not have an update on right wing Cal Clutterbuck, who played just 2:02 and was not on the bench the final two periods after taking a stick to the face in the first period on an unpenalized cross-check.

“He got cross-checked across the face,” Trotz said. “We’ll have a better update for you tomorrow.”

The end?

Thomas Greiss started after Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves in Monday night’s 4-1 win at Detroit as the Islanders extended their franchise record to 26 games starting the season with a goalie rotation.

“We haven’t changed yet,” said Trotz, who wants to start giving the goalies consecutive starts, believing that will foster more competition between the two that will lead to improved play. “We’ve got one more game before I decide.”

Varlamov actually had to come on for 39 seconds in the third period, making one save, after Greiss had an issue with his skate blade and had to be helped to the team’s bench at 12:20 for equipment repair.

Isles files

Center Mathew Barzal needed several stitches above the right side of his lip…Trotz inserted left wing Michael Dal Colle for rookie center Otto Koivula and started the game using Leo Komarov in the middle before he needed to craft new combinations with Clutterbuck out. Koivula had logged just 4:26 against the Red Wings and his roster spot likely will be in jeopardy when Tom Kuhnhackl (injured reserve/lower body) returns. Trotz said that could be this week…Rookie defenseman Noah Dobson and Ross Johnston were the other healthy scratches.

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