Kieffer Bellows got another opportunity in the Islanders’ lineup in Thursday night’s 4-1 loss in Pittsburgh. It may be a while before the rookie gets his next chance.
Coach Barry Trotz opted to insert Bellows for Michael Dal Colle, a healthy scratch, on second-line center Brock Nelson’s left wing along with Jordan Eberle.
But Bellows was a minus-2 with a team-low 7:47 of ice time, including just 79 seconds in the third period over two shifts. He let Jason Zucker slip past him to the crease to deposit Bryan Rust’s feed to make it 3-0 at 9:11 of the third period.
It was Bellows’ first game since Jan. 30. He does not have a point in eight games.
"He’s been in every meeting, every practice, so there’s no excuses," Trotz said. "Dal Colle went in and did a really good job. Wahlly [Oliver Wahlstrom] went in and he’s done a really good job. That was Kieffer’s opportunity."
An angry Casey Cizikas dropped the gloves with the Penguins’ Brandon Tanev at 2:18 of the first period for just his sixth career fight and the Islanders’ first of the season.
It almost certainly was payback for Tanev’s unpenalized cross-check on Cizikas as he came across the Penguins’ blue line in the teams’ previous game, a 4-3 shootout loss for the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Feb. 11.
Notes & quotes: Rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin was temporarily reassigned to the taxi squad, so Cory Schneider dressed as Semyon Varlamov’s backup. Sorokin made 20 saves for his first NHL win in Tuesday night’s 3-0 victory in Buffalo, but Trotz said that did not alter his plans to start Varlamov on Thursday. "Zero impact," Trotz said. "Varly was getting this game all along." . . . Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s goal streak was snapped at four games . . . The Islanders are 0-2-1 with both Bellows and Wahlstrom in the lineup.
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