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Barry Trotz's tweak to Islanders' second line pays off in win

Tom Kuhnhackl took rookie Michael Dal Colle's spot on Mathew Barzal's left wing along with Josh Bailey after Trotz described the line as "disconnected" in Tuesday night's 3-1 loss at Buffalo.

Tom Kuhnhackl of the Islanders skates against the

Tom Kuhnhackl of the Islanders skates against the Canucks at Barclays Center on Nov. 13, 2018. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Barry Trotz spoke one-on-one to the players on the Islanders’ second line. Then he inserted Tom Kuhnhackl into rookie Michael Dal Colle’s spot on Mathew Barzal’s left wing with Josh Bailey for Thursday night’s 3-0 win over the Blue Jackets.

He got the response he wanted after describing that trio as “disconnected” in Tuesday night’s loss at Buffalo.

“They were good,” Trotz said. “They were playing the right way. They were moving their feet. They were in position. They had the puck more. They were playing with speed.”

Barzal, controlling the puck behind the crease, set up Kuhnhackl for a shot from the left circle that turned into Bailey poking in the puck for a 3-0 lead at 19:19 of the second period.

Bailey and Barzal each had two shots on goal Thursday. Entering the game, Barzal had only two goals and one assist in the seven games since the Islanders’ All-Star break and bye week. Bailey had one goal and two assists in that span.

Kuhnhackl was a healthy scratch in Buffalo after playing for the injured Cal Clutterbuck in the two preceding games. “It wasn’t sitting anybody,” Trotz said of Dal Colle’s absence. “Tommy plays with that veteran strength. I just thought he’d be a real good fit for that line.”

Lee’s 400th

Captain Anders Lee logged 18:01 in his 400th NHL regular-season game. “We’re all living out our dreams right now,” said Lee, who also extended his team-leading ironman streak to 175 games. “You can’t take anything for granted. To hit 400 is extremely special. The first couple of hundred are always the hardest, then you settle in. That 1,000-game mark is pretty special, one that not a lot of guys can achieve.  ” . . . D Luca Sbisa and LW Ross Johnston remained healthy scratches.

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