Lane Lambert’s first concern was Barry Trotz, his longtime friend and boss. And then the associate coach embarked on his temporary task of driving the Islanders bench.
Despite being absent from Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 overtime win over the Oilers at the UBS Arena for non-COVID-19 personal reasons.
Lambert, who has served on Trotz’s staffs for four seasons with the Islanders, four with the Capitals and three with the Predators, worked on the bench with just assistant Jim Hiller instead of the usual three coaches. Assistant John Gruden and goalkeeping coach Piero Greco both entered the COVID-19 protocol on Saturday.
“The thoughts were with Barry and wished him the best,” Lambert said. “From there, we know we have a game plan. I’ve been with him for a long, long time. I think we work well together. We work hand in hand. I kind of knew what he wanted to do, and I had some ideas too.It just went from there.It was not something that was stressful.
“I want to give our guys credit. They knew what was going on and there were only two of us behind the bench. They were called in.”
The Oilers’ Connor McDavid led a two-on-one rush, with the teams skating four-on-four midway through the third period, and the match was a 2-2 draw. Defender Scott Mayfield was able to use his cane to divert McDavid’s attempts to feed across the ice to defender Darnell Nurse.
“It was a huge game,” defender Adam Pelech said. “Decisive moment in the game. Just a great defensive play by him and it was that I was caught by the rush, so I appreciate that.”
Nurse then used her body to block Zach Paris’ gaze on an open net from the right post at. 14:31 in the third period and the teams skated five-on-five.
Mathew Barzal’s primary assist on defender Noah Dobson’s overtime winner gave the midfielder two goals and 11 assists during his last eight games as he has scored at least one point in each … Dobson matched his career high with five shots and also had three blocked shots in 24:54 ice time … Anders Lee extended his series of points to five games (three goals, two assists). The captain has scored six goals in his last eight matches, including three on power play … The powerplay of the once anemic islanders is now a dangerous 9-to-26 (34.6%) since December 4 and has produced at least one goals in four games in a row for the first time since October 2018, per. team statistician Eric Hornick … Cole Bardreau, Michael Dal Colle and defender Grant Hutton were all relocated to the Islanders’ AHL affiliation at Bridgeport … The Islanders won for the first time in eight attempts New Year’s Day.
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