Kieffer Bellows of the Islanders shoots the puck during the third...

Kieffer Bellows of the Islanders shoots the puck during the third period against the Oilers at UBS Arena on Jan. 1. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Barry Trotz hinted before Thursday night’s faceoff that this could be Kieffer Bellows’ opportunity to finally land a full-time role for the Islanders. Then the former first-round pick went out and showed that’s exactly what he wants.

Bellows had an assist, five shots and five hits in 14:53 as the Islanders beat the Bruins, 4-1, at UBS Arena.

Bellows was a healthy scratch the previous eight games, but Josh Bailey is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Trotz placed Bellows on second-line center Brock Nelson’s left wing and switched Anthony Beauvillier to the right side. He said he liked Bellows’ performance in all three zones.

"Just hearing that gives me confidence to go out there and play my game," Bellows said of Trotz’s pregame comments. "The main goal is just go out there, play my game and hopefully stick."

Bellows has three goals and seven assists in 21 games this season and eight goals and eight assists in 43 career NHL games since being picked 19th overall in 2016.

"I think Kieffer is a good player offensively," Nelson said. "He made a couple of nice moves with the puck. He’s a strong kid, he’s got a strong stick. He can win some battles and everybody knows about his shot."

"He’s been a better left winger than right winger," Trotz said of Bellows before the game. "For me, he’s probably ready to transition over to a little more full-time basis as much as possible. I think he’s capable of it. It’s just a little bit of consistency. Maybe it’s Kieffer’s time."

Notes & quotes: Goaltender Semyon Varlamov will return to Long Island this weekend after he clears COVID-19 protocol. There’s a possibility he will be available to face the Canadiens on Sunday at UBS Arena. Varlamov tested positive before Saturday’s 5-2 loss in Calgary and was forced to quarantine in that Canadian city for at least six days . . . Defenseman Andy Greene remained a healthy scratch for the second straight game in favor of Sebastian Aho . . . The Islanders announced that masks now are optional at UBS Arena.

More Islanders


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months