Connecticut

Lane Lambert reworks Isles’ power play during practice

VANCOUVER — Lane Lambert rearranged the Islanders’ power play sessions during Monday’s practice session at Rogers Arena. But unless execution improves, particularly penetrating the offensive zone but also putting pucks in the net, Tuesday night’s staff shuffling against the Canucks may not matter.

“It starts with zone entries,” said the coach. “Everything lives on it. If our power play is successful, we enter the zone. If we fight a bit, we have some problems with that.”

The Islanders (21-15-2) opened a four-game Western swing on Sunday night with a lethargic 4-1 loss to the Kraken as they went 2-0 on the power play with just one shot. That left them 1-for-30 in their last 10 games.

On Monday, defender Sebastian Aho joined Ryan Pulock and Hudson Fasching was added to the mix in place of Aatu Raty.

Lambert broke up his usual top-line squad of Noah Dobson quarterback Brock Nelson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee. Instead, Aho or Pulock worked with Josh Bailey, Pageau, Barzal and Zach Parise as the net front presence, while Dobson’s new unit included Fasching at the bumper between circles with Anthony Beauvillier, Nelson and Lee at net.

“We had to do something,” said Barzal. “And the coaches decided to do that. It looks a little bit different. Maybe drop a team. Having a different look, I think that’s necessary sometimes.”

Lambert’s opportunities to make changes are somewhat limited with right wingers Kyle Palmieri and Oliver Wahlstrom – both on the power play – on injured reserve.

Aho has played extensively on the power play with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, but has not done so regularly in the NHL. Lambert didn’t specify whether he would field Aho or Pulock, who has just three power-play assists and no goals advantage despite having one of the team’s hardest shots.

“I’m pretty good at moving the puck up and getting shots through,” Aho said. “Play the puck fast, give it to my boys and try to set them up for one-timers. We feel like all we have to do is get the puck on the net and score some crappy goals to get us going a little bit.

Notes and Quotes: Goalie Semyon Varlamov, who said he was struggling with a groin injury, was called up from injured reserve and Cory Schneider was brought back to Bridgeport. Varlamov missed six games after losing a 5-2 win in Vegas on December 17 in the third period. “I just knew in that moment that I couldn’t finish the game,” Varlamov said. “I’m feeling good. Nothing bothers me now. I’m 100%…” Cal Clutterbuck (right hand) participated fully in Monday’s practice, running with Matt Martin on Aatu Raty’s right wing. “We’re hopeful,” said Lambert when asked if Clutterbuck would be in the lineup Tuesday after missing seven games…” Palmieri (upper body) was skating after the Islanders practice. He will miss his eighth game.

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