There were a handful of postseason debuts on the Islanders roster for Game 1 Wednesday night at the Coliseum, but likely the most impressive one during that 4-3 overtime victory over the Penguins came from goalie Robin Lehner.
Having split the net with Thomas Greiss all season, Lehner was tapped by coach Barry Trotz for the series opener. Lehner had previously only had two relief appearances in the postseason, totaling 49 minutes for the Senators in 2013.
Nevertheless, he was terrific against the explosive Penguins, making 41 saves, including a couple gems in the second period when the Islanders’ defensive game lapsed.
“That was a big start for him as well, just like everybody else,” Trotz said after Thursday’s practice on Long Island. “His first start, you put that on the résumé — starting hopefully a playoff résumé.”
Trotz had said he wouldn’t hesitate to use both goalies in this series, and that might still happen. But it would be jaw-dropping if Lehner didn’t get the start in Game 2 on Friday night at the Coliseum.
Trotz didn’t want to disclose any adjustments he was going to make for Game 2, but he surely doesn’t want to allow the Penguins to have that many scoring chances again.
“No, no,” he said, shaking his head. “We have to play our game. I thought we played our game in the first and third, and even in the OT. We didn’t play our game in the second. That’ll be the key — stay to your game. The team that can stay to your game the longest, and force that on the other team, has the better chance to win.”
Winger Anthony Beauvillier missed practice for what Trotz called “maintenance,” but his availability didn’t seem like an issue for Game 2. The 21-year-old had a steady performance in his postseason debut, including a screen on Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray when Nick Leddy scored a go-ahead goal in the third period.
“What I liked about him, he was on the puck,” Trotz said. “And even on the Leddy goal, he was in the dirty area. That goal might not go in if Beau’s not right in front of Murray there and taking his eyes away a little bit. I liked his game.”
Michael Dal Colle took Beauvillier’s spot in practice, on the left side of a line with Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov. Other than that, the lines and defensive pairs stayed the same.
Published at Fri, 12 Apr 2019 05:19:31 +0000