Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was all smiles after his Islanders debut resulted in a 3-2 overtime win over the Kings on Saturday night at UBS Arena.
Bortuzzo, acquired from the Blues on Friday for a seventh-round pick after Ryan Pulock was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury, logged 16:03 as he was paired with rookie Samuel Bolduc. That included 3:13 on the Islanders’ 4-for-5 penalty kill.
“I tried to keep it simple,” Bortuzzo said after the Islanders’ comeback win. “I tried to talk and work with my partner. It’s been a while since I was in a hockey game.
“It was a fun one to jump into for sure. I found a rhythm, hopefully quicker than not. I felt like I got some trust from the coaches and got to play in some situations. Just happy for this group to pull out a big win like that.”
Bortuzzo played only four games with the Blues and had not dressed since Nov. 8.
It’s just an early step in the recovery process for Adam Pelech, but coach Lane Lambert reported the defenseman has resumed skating on his own. Pelech (long-term injured reserve/upper body) is believed to have injured his left wrist or arm on Nov. 24 in Ottawa, so resuming skating is no indication he’s close to being able to play.
Saturday marked the first time the Islanders have played without both Pelech and Pulock since a four-game stretch in November 2021.
“It’s different,” defenseman Noah Dobson said. “It’s tough to replace those guys. They’re definitely missed back there.”
Bo Horvat extended his point streak to six games with his secondary assist on Anders Lee’s second goal . . . Noah Dobson (25:46) logged more than 25 minutes for the eighth straight game . . . Forwards Oliver Wahlstrom and Matt Martin and defenseman Grant Hutton remained out of the lineup.