Josh Bailey pleases Islanders coach Barry Trotz with his production in playoffs
Quietly, Josh Bailey has already matched his career high for points in a postseason.
Bailey had the shorthanded winner and an assist as the Islanders rallied for a 4-2 win over the Capitals in Game 1 of their best-of-seven first-round series on Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
That gives Bailey six points in five postseason games after he had four assists in the four-game win over the Panthers in the best-of-five qualifying series. Bailey had four goals and two assists in eight playoff games last season. He now has nine goals and 14 assists in 35 career playoff games.
“I think when the game gets quicker and more important, what you find with Josh is his intelligence level,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s got a quiet compete level I’ve come to appreciate. Sometimes, those guys aren’t appreciated for all the things they do.”
Bailey was a plus-3 with three blocked shots while logging 17:10 in Game 1.
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk took pregame warmups but Andy Greene remained in the lineup paired with fellow left-hander Nick Leddy.
The righthanded Boychuk practiced the three previous days but has not played since exiting Game 1 of the qualifier against the Panthers after suffering a suspected head injury on a high hit from Mike Matheson.
Trotz also opted to keep agitator and key penalty killer Leo Komarov on Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s third line after Tom Kuhnhackl was in that spot for the first three games against the Panthers and burly Ross Johnston also skated in pregame warmups.
“There was no reason to take them out,” Trotz said. “I thought Andy and Nick Leddy were really strong today. Leo plays a playoff type of game and the penalty kill.”
Notes & quotes
The Islanders won 36 of 56 faceoffs (64.0%) with Brock Nelson going 14-for-20 and Mathew Barzal going 8-for-11. Evgeny Kuznetsov was 6-of-24 for the Capitals . . . Defensemen Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield each logged more than six minutes on the penalty kill . . . Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tied Kuznetsov for a game-high six shots and missed the net four other times. He played 9:57 of his 24:16 time on ice on the power play . . . Capitals coach Todd Reirden said third-line center Lars Eller would be available for Friday’s Game 2. Eller returned to the Toronto bubble on Saturday after leaving for the birth of his second child and was unavailable for Game 1 as he completed his quarantine.