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Trotz's successful challenge preserves Islanders' lead

Casey Cizikas #53 of the Islanders skates against

Casey Cizikas #53 of the Islanders skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on March 11, 2019, in Uniondale, New York. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Wild thought they had tied the score on a delayed call in the second period after Islanders captain Anders Lee was called for goalie interference.

But Isles coach Barry Trotz preserved his team’s lead with a successful challenge. It ultimately was ruled that Ryan Donato interfered with Thomas Greiss by using his stick to push the goalie’s pad into the net.

The Isles went on to beat the Wild in overtime, 3-2, on Sunday at Xcel Energy Center. The challenge had preserved a 1-0 lead. Trotz is 1-for-2 on goalie-interference challenges this season.

“I felt pretty good once I saw it,” he said. “Donato, he jammed his stick but he wasn’t making contact with the puck. His stick was right into Greiss’ leg and the puck rolls in just because he pushed the goalie in.” 

Lucky

Mathew Barzal went hard into the left post on a breakaway at 1:27 of the third period but escaped with just a scrape on the right side of his neck. He just missed going headlong into the iron. “The hockey gods were watching me there,” he said. “That could’ve been ugly. I was going so fast.”  

Cizikas out again

Casey Cizikas missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. Trotz knows he has a potential issue trying to compensate for the invaluable fourth-line center’s absence.

Leo Komarov, who plays mainly on the wing, again was used as the fourth-line center between Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck, logging 15:33 and winning 6 of 10 faceoffs. “The second day, he was more comfortable,” Trotz said of Komarov.

Trotz prefers Komarov on the wing, but the Islanders, organizationally, are not particularly deep in centers.

“What Casey does is he’s sort of a drivetrain on that line,” Trotz said. “He brings us a different energy and he’s productive. You miss him in the middle. Leo is not as productive in the middle. Leo is really good on the walls and getting on people. Leo has done it a little bit, but it doesn’t come naturally to him all the time.”

Cizikas suffered what Trotz described as a strain during pregame warm-ups for Saturday afternoon’s 2-1 loss at Detroit. The Islanders are listing him as day-to-day, but it’s likely that Trotz will need to search through a small candidate pool for other options if Cizikas misses much more time.

On the Islanders’ roster, left wing Anthony Beauvillier has played in the middle. At Bridgeport (AHL), Stephen Gionta, Tanner Fritz or inexperienced Otto Koivula might be considerations.

Isles files

Brock Nelson’s goal and assist gave him a career-high 47 points, two more than his previous best . . . Trotz put Clutterbuck on the second power-play unit in place of Beauvillier . . . Johnny Boychuk was a healthy scratch for a second time and has missed four games in all after appearing to hurt his left shoulder on March 9.

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