Head coach Patrick Roy of the Islanders talks to his...

Head coach Patrick Roy of the Islanders talks to his team during a timeout in the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at UBS Arena on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Patrick Roy liked what he saw.

So the Islanders, looking to snap a two-game losing streak, will start their two-game road trip against the Dallas Stars on Monday night with three natural centers who represent 38.3% of the team’s goals this season skating as the top-heavy top line.

The coach elevated second-line center Brock Nelson to Bo Horvat’s left wing alongside Mathew Barzal during the Islanders’ two-goal third period in Saturday afternoon’s 4-2 loss to the Lightning at UBS Arena.

Roy continued the experiment as he revamped all four forward lines during Sunday’s practice at Northwell Health Center in East Meadow. He wants to increase the pace of play with the Islanders in a 1-3-2 skid and their playoff hopes fading.

“That element of speed with Brock is great,” Horvat said. “The game is so fast nowadays. We’re getting our looks. We’re getting our chances. I’d be more worried if we weren’t. Just throwing something different. We need to get wins here. We need to score goals.”

The Islanders (23-20-14) have scored only those two third-period goals — one on Nelson’s six-on-four power-play tally — in their last two games.

So Roy dug into his Hall of Fame playing days as the Avalanche’s goalie for inspiration for uniting Horvat (22 goals, 27 assists), Barzal (17 goals, 43 assists) and Nelson (25 goals, 21 assists). Barzal was moved to right wing to accommodate Horvat after the latter was acquired from the Canucks last season. But Nelson said he hasn’t played wing regularly — other than a few shifts with John Tavares earlier in his career — since his sophomore season at North Dakota.

“Bob Hartley did [it],” Roy said of his former coach. “Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic played together and no one thought that would be possible and they had a lot of success. So, three [centers], maybe not. But Barzy has mostly been a right winger. They bring speed and I’m very curious to see [how they do]. I really liked the energy that they brought in that third period so it’s very tempting to continue.”

Jean-Gabriel Pageau skated between Anders Lee and Kyle Palmieri on the second line while Casey Cizikas was elevated to center Pierre Engvall and Simon Holmstrom on the third line. AHL callup Kyle MacLean worked with fourth-line wings Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck, leaving Oliver Wahlstrom as the extra forward.

“Bo is an extreme centerman,” Barzal said. “He is what a centerman looks like. He’s going to be in the dot a lot. Nellie is going to be able to play low lots. I go down there every once in a while. As the game flows, everybody will be playing everywhere.”

Notes & quotes: Defenseman Scott Mayfield (lower body), who missed Saturday’s loss, did not accompany the Islanders on the trip. Roy switched his top two defense pairings by placing Alexander Romanov with Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech with Noah Dobson. Said Roy: “I think it’s good for the younger guys to have a veteran with them.”

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