RALEIGH, N.C. — One staple of Barry Trotz’s coaching this season has been lineup stability.
Unlike many coaches, Trotz tends to stick with his four lines and three defense pairs for long stretches. It’s a trait the players certainly appreciate.
But Trotz put his four lines through his “blender” for Friday night’s season-ending 5-2 loss to the Hurricanes in Game 4 of their second-round series.
There was only one personnel change. Rookie Michael Dal Colle made his NHL playoff debut in place of injured Cal Clutterbuck, though Trotz said he had “two or three” players who were game-time decisions because of injury concerns.
“I had a couple of reasons,” Trotz said. “But they were getting the matchups and they were winning the matchups. I’ve got to try and mix it up somehow.”
Clutterbuck, hurt late in the third period of the Hurricanes’ 2-1 win in Game 2, played Game 3. He came out for warmups but did not participate in the line rushes and left the ice early.
“He got hurt earlier in the series,” Trotz said. “He played through it all and he played well. He just couldn’t go today. He was being honest to his teammates.”
Trotz had Dal Colle skate in Clutterbuck’s spot on Casey Cizikas’ right wing along with Matt Martin. He shuffled his three other lines, including breaking up his top line of Mathew Barzal between Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle.
Leo Komarov was placed on Brock Nelson’s right wing with Josh Bailey while Bailey started between Eberle and Tom Kuhnhackl. Valtteri Filppula centered Lee and Anthony Beauvillier.
Dal Colle, the fifth overall pick in 2014, logged 9:07 and was a minus-2. He said he learned he’d be in the lineup during the pregame warmups.
“I was pretty anxious,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was 100 percent going to be in the lineup. It’s a learning experience. You dream of playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs as a kid.”
This and that
The sellout crowd of 19,495 set the record for the largest ever for a hockey game at PNC Arena . . . Islanders defenseman Devon Toews had two assists . . . Trotz said he was not happy with the penalties the Islanders took, especially since key penalty-killers Komarov and defenseman Scott Mayfield took two each. Cizikas, also crucial to the penalty kill, took the Islanders’ other penalty.