The crazy thing is that rookie Michael Dal Colle wasn’t supposed to be in the Islanders’ lineup for Thursday night’s 4-1 win over the Devils at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.
Coach Barry Trotz said he was planning on reinserting Tom Kuhnhackl, who has played only twice since Dec. 6, on the third line in Dal Colle’s spot.
Instead, Kuhnhackl was ill and Trotz stuck with Dal Colle, who rewarded the Islanders with his first NHL goal in his 14th game.
“It feels awesome,” said Dal Colle, 22, the fifth overall pick in 2014. “Words can’t really describe the feeling. You dream about it your whole life. To get that first one was a big monkey off my shoulders.”
Dal Colle got to the crease and deflected defenseman Scott Mayfield’s shot from the right point for a 2-0 lead at 9:19 of the first period.
Trotz acknowledged how far Dal Colle’s game has come since training camp.
“Michael didn’t have much pace during training camp,” he said. “Maybe he was a player lacking a little bit of confidence. I think he’s got pace back into his game. He’s got size. He’s got a lot of things you look for.”
The Islanders are 6-0-0 in the second game of back-to-back sets heading into Friday night at Washington . . . Trotz said he could start Robin Lehner on back-to-back nights after he needed to make only 16 saves on Thursday . . . The Capitals will honor Trotz with a video tribute at Capital One Arena. “I hope they include Lane [Lambert, the associate coach] and Mitch [Korn, the director of goaltending],” Trotz said. “They’re a big part of the success we all had together . . . ” Forwards Ross Johnston and defenseman Luca Sbisa were healthy scratches . . . The Islanders are 4-1-1 at the Coliseum . . . Nick Leddy had two primary assists.