Suffering the first two losses of the season has caused the New York Islanders to try and consider switching up the lines. Head coach Jack Capuano tried doing that against the Nashville Predators Saturday night, a move which worked for a little bit, but couldn’t help get the Islanders even. That’s something the team addressed in practice on Monday.
It was a rough weekend for the Islanders offense. The team registered just 19 against the Chicago Blackhawks and 16 shots against Nashville over the weekend, something that got to the coaching staff big-time. During the Nashville game, we saw the first taste of possible line juggling, something to try and spark the team’s offense, which managed just four goals in the two games.
The experiment of line shuffling continued again during Monday’s practice. Michael Grabner skated on the left wing with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. Okposo’s normal spot on the second line right wing was filled by a combination of Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brock Nelson. Matt Moulson played alongside Peter Regin and Cal Clutterbuck.
Some of this may seem a little drastic. I really don’t think separating Tavares and Moulson is a good idea because separating those guys wouldn’t be a real solution. I can understand where the coaching staff is coming from with that idea. Moulson has only one goal all year, so the move could be made to try and get him going early on in this season. Maybe putting him with Regin and Clutterbuck would be the thing that kick-starts all three guys.
One line I would like to see try and stay together is the line of Frans Nielsen Josh Bailey and Grabner. That line, for the most part, has been the best line on the team, as a unit. Keeping those three guys together would be a smart move for the good of the team. They have been the hottest line on the club, so why try breaking them up?
What gets a little overlooked is that it’s still early in the season. It’s only five games in, I know. There’s no full reason to panic just yet, but the shuffling around of lines is something that will hopefully kick-start this team to start scoring again.