Goals hadn’t been coming easily for the Islanders, and that had been their No. 1 skill.
They arrived at Barclays Center Friday night to face Montreal having scored three or less in each of the previous eight games, going 2-5-1. They had scored one each in losing the last two.
So Doug Weight tried some line shuffling, something that began in the third period in the opener of this home-and-home and continued at practice Thursday and at the start against the Canadiens. But two changes weren’t by choice, including one involving Weight’s second-line right wing.
Jordan Eberle’s streak of 215 consecutive games played ended due to an injury. The first 151 came with Edmonton.
“In good times and bad times, I think it’s necessary,” Weight told the media at the morning skate about his changes. “Sometimes that just brings a spark and a little different chemistry.”
At first, the changes featured a switch of the first- and third-line right wings. Tanner Fritz moved up to play with center John Tavares and left wing Anders Lee. Josh Bailey moved down to play with center Brock Nelson and left wing Andrew Ladd.
Eberle, though, left practice Thursday with some soreness from Wednesday’s loss at Montreal. So Cal Clutterbuck stepped in with center Mathew Barzal and left wing Anthony Beauvillier.
Fourth-line center Casey Cizikas was also out for the birth of his child. Weight went with seven defensemen. Bailey also played with center Chris Wagner and left wing Ross Johnston on the fourth line.
Late in the first, Fritz was back with the third line, and he scored to tie it at 1. When the puck was dropped for the second, though, he was with the first line.
This marked Bailey’s 700th NHL game. He’s in his 10th season with the Islanders.