Both defenseman Adam Pelech and rookie left wing Michael Dal Colle returned to the Islanders’ lineup for Sunday night’s 5-1 win over the NHL-leading Lightning at Barclays Center, though coach Barry Trotz had different reasons for initially taking them out.
Dal Colle, 22, was a healthy scratch the previous two games simply because Trotz wanted Ross Johnston’s brawn in the lineup as the Islanders split a home-and-home series with the Rangers. Pelech’s absence in favor of seldom-used Luca Sbisa in Saturday’s 2-1 loss in Brooklyn was performance-related.
“I just thought Pelly has another level to his game,” Trotz said. “It started slipping. It’s a way we can sort of get his attention. We’ve sat down and talked.”
Pelech, 24, who had been struggling with his puck-management decisions and play in the defensive zone overall, logged a solid 18:14 while again working on a second pair with Ryan Pulock.
He said being a healthy scratch for the fourth time and first since Nov. 18 certainly was an attention-grabber.
“Yeah, for sure,” Pelech said. “It’s never fun. No one wants to see that. Sometimes it can be a bit of a wake-up call and sometimes it just makes me realize there are certain things I need to focus on and I have to do or else I’m not going to be in the lineup.
“[My game] isn’t quite where I want it to be and it isn’t quite where the coaches expect it to be,” Pelech added.
Dal Colle, back on Valtteri Filppula’s third line with Leo Komarov, had one shot in 11:39.
Notes & quotes: The Islanders are 6-0-0 in the second game of back-to-back sets . . . Johnston, Sbisa and forward Tom Kuhnhackl were the healthy scratches . . . The NHL fined Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev $2,403.67 for cross-checking the Sabres’ Johan Larsson on Saturday night.