TAMPA, Fla. — Mathew Barzal’s first shootout attempt on Monday night went about as well as most of the things the Islanders rookie has done this season, with Barzal scoring the only goal for either team to clinch the 5-4 win over the Panthers.
Doug Weight was asked after the game why he chose Barzal for the first time this season in the Isles’ third shootout and their first since Oct. 19 in Madison Square Garden, the night Barzal scored his first NHL goal.
“Because he wouldn’t stop staring at me when I picked the first two guys. I wouldn’t look at him,” Weight said. “Somehow I think he thinks that’s why I picked him . . . But he’s a confident kid, he was excited, he wanted to get out there. Those [Jordan Eberle, John Tavares and Barzal] were the three I was going with.”
Barzal’s two eye-popping plays in overtime that nearly ended the game were making the rounds of social media clips on Tuesday, particularly his second try, when he danced and spun to find a lane to the net and nearly lifted a shot over James Reimer.
Cizikas on the way back?
Casey Cizikas may rejoin the Islanders in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, which would likely mean he’s ready to play. Cizikas has been out since he was shoved hard into the boards in Ottawa on Nov. 23 and suffered a lower-body injury.
Weight initially thought Cizikas wouldn’t miss more than a few days, but the Islanders center was still uncomfortable enough to stay behind on Long Island when the team headed to Florida on Sunday.
The Isles are currently one below the 23-man roster limit so wouldn’t have to make a move to activate Cizikas off injured reserve.
‘D’ shuffled again
Scott Mayfield rotated back into the lineup on after sitting the previous two as a healthy scratch. Thomas Hickey was back in street clothes along with Dennis Seidenberg.