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Barry Trotz not saying if he'll break up Islanders' No. 2 line

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz skates during training

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz skates during training camp at Northwell Health Ice Center on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Barry Trotz didn’t broadcast any lineup decisions Friday, running a high-tempo 30-minute practice at Gila River Arena without line rushes.

So whether the Islanders’ coach will keep his longstanding second line together for Saturday night’s game against the Coyotes — or, as he hinted he would do after Thursday night’s 3-2 overtime loss at Columbus, break up the slow-starting trio — will remain a team secret until the puck drops.

"I’m settled," Trotz said of Saturday’s lineup as the Islanders (1-2-1) continue a 13-game road trip. "We just didn’t do anything that was line-related."

Surely Trotz has informed Brock Nelson and wings Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey about their immediate future after saying on Thursday, "Their line hasn’t been really good the last couple of games . . . their analytics were terrible."

The usually fast-starting Nelson, who entered this season with 27 goals and 27 assists in 71 career games in October — hence, Brocktober — has gone without a point since scoring a goal in the season-opening 6-3 loss at Carolina.

Bailey, who remains one point behind four-time Stanley Cup winner Bobby Nystrom for the 10th-most points in team history at 513, got the secondary assist on Nelson’s goal but also has been held scoreless the past three games. Beauvillier also assisted on Nelson’s goal and had an unassisted goal in Tuesday’s 4-1 win in Chicago.

"I don’t look at the analytics, but we haven’t scored," Nelson said. "As a line, it’s frustrating. You want to go out there and contribute. We try to look at ourselves as a line that helps our team offensively and is responsible defensively. A couple of times [Thursday] night, we had a couple of looks where the play didn’t connect where maybe we could have.

"We’ve got a good group of guys in here, 12 to 14 guys that can get in the lineup and play and contribute."

No doubt Trotz will be looking to shake out some stagnant play if he does change the lines.

"I love playing with Bails and Beau," Nelson said. "I think we’ve done good things and contributed to the team offensively. If Barry wants to make a change to try and get a spark, I’m sure we’ll all use it and take that as motivation."

Notes & quotes: Jean-Gabriel Pageau returned to practice Friday after missing Thursday’s game with the same stomach illness that kept Anders Lee sidelined Tuesday. All of the Islanders were on the ice for practice and Trotz hopes the illness has run its course among the team. "It’s sort of caught us on game day more than it’s caught us on the off days," Trotz said . . . Goalie Semyon Varlamov (injured reserve/soreness) again participated fully in practice and remains day-to-day. The Islanders hope he’ll be able to start one of the back-to-back games this weekend, including Sunday night at Las Vegas . . . This marks the first of 18 back-to-back sets this season. But after Sunday, the Islanders will play only one game in 10 days, in Nashville on Oct. 30.

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