To Lane Lambert, there’s one way to make sure players pulling double duty on the power play and penalty kill — Zach Parise, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Josh Bailey and defenseman Noah Dobson foremost among that group so far — don’t get overloaded with ice time.
“Well, I think you have to certainly manage it,” the Islanders’ coach said after Monday’s practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. “That’s why we stress discipline. In Game 1, we took 10 minutes of penalties and it definitely took away from our flow. Discipline is the key and staying out of the box so they can be used in other areas as well.”
The Islanders’ special teams have gotten off to a decent start as they split the first two games of their season-opening four-game homestand. Their penalty kill is 9-for-9, including successfully defending a five-on-three advantage in Saturday night’s 7-1 rout of the Ducks. The power play is 1-for-7, with Dobson scoring the lone goal in Thursday night’s 3-1 loss to the Panthers.
The Sharks will visit UBS Arena on Tuesday night, and the second power-play unit could be tweaked for the game. Oliver Wahlstrom took Pageau’s spot during Monday’s practice.
“I think there’s a lot of ice management,” Pageau said. “On my end, I try to do the role that I’m put in at 110% that I can. We take pride here in our special teams and I, for sure, take pride in it too.”
The Islanders went 0-for-4 on the power play against the Ducks but did take eight shots. They had three shorthanded shots against the Panthers as they killed off all five power plays.
Pageau was first used on the penalty kill when he entered the NHL with the Senators. It wasn’t until later in his career that he started seeing power-play time.
Parise went the other way, starting off on the man advantage before former Devils coaches Jacques Lemaire and Pete DeBoer, the latter wanting the team to be more aggressive while skating shorthanded, inserted Parise into the unit.
“It gets you more into the game,” Parise said. “We’ve all been in that spot. Let’s say you take two, three penalties in a row, you’re sitting for six [minutes] on the clock, but that could mean 15, 20 in real time. It can take you out of the game.”
Parise said Lambert pushed the penalty-killers to be more aggressive after the season opener. Lambert ran the PK last season as an associate coach on Barry Trotz’s staff.
“There’s not many changes,” Pageau said. “He’s helping again this year.”
Notes & quotes: Defenseman Sebastian Aho participated fully in practice after being placed on injured reserve with an upper-body issue before Saturday’s game. “As of right now, he’s day-to-day,” Lambert said. The Islanders needed the roster spot to activate right wing Cal Clutterbuck off IR . . . Tuesday’s game marks the first in the New York area for new Sharks coach David Quinn since the Rangers fired him on May 12, 2021.