Barry Trotz did not see enough from rookie Kieffer Bellows to keep the rookie in the Islanders’ lineup on Monday night.
But the coach did like what he saw from Ross Johnston in his first game since Jan. 26 despite the 2-1 loss to the Penguins that concluded a four-game road trip.
Left wing Michael Dal Colle remained sidelined with a lower-body injury. So Trotz inserted the burly Johnston on Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s line with rookie Oliver Wahlstrom while reuniting Anthony Beauvillier with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey.
Johnston logged 10:50 with six hits.
"Beau gives Nellie and Bails a little more pop," Trotz said. "I felt we needed a little more forecheck and a little more net presence and that’s where Ross Johnston came in. I thought he did a good job."
Bellows had returned after a three-game absence in Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Penguins, taking Dal Colle’s spot on Nelson’s left wing. He was a minus-1 in 11:54 with two shots.
Trotz reported defenseman Noah Dobson, who missed his eighth game after testing positive for COVID-19, has been skating on his own in New York and should be able to rejoin the Islanders for practice when the team returns home. The Islanders open a season-high, six-game homestand against the Capitals on Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum.
"There’s a good chance he’ll be joining us for practice," Trotz said. "I would think there’s a good chance for our next home game."
Beauvillier had his four-game goal streak snapped…Josh Bailey played in his 901st career game, taking sole possession of third place on the franchise’s all-time list behind Hall of Famers Bryan Trottier (1,123) and Denis Potvin (1,060)…Matt Martin’s power-play goal was the second of his career and first since March 5, 2013, against the Canadiens.