Islanders’ Bottom six chipping in during win streak
Mathew Barzal’s line has gotten a lot of the credit during the Islanders’ ten game winning streak. So had Brock Nelson’s line, the defense and the goaltending. What hasn’t really been talked about is the immense importance of the third and fourth lines of the Islanders.
With Matt Martin, Leo Komarov and Tom Kuhnhackl all out with injury, the bottom six has been a mish mosh of forwards. On the “fourth line” are two familiar faces, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck. However, Michael Dal Colle has stepped in valiantly as the replacement of Matt Martin. On the real fourth line, Ross Johnston has become the poster boy for big boys that can shoot. Cole Bardreau has turned a feel good story into his first career NHL goal and Oliver Wahlstrom, while playing limited minutes, has made an impact in almost every game.
This rag-tag group of forwards has catapulted the Islanders into territory they haven’t seen since 1982. Their ten game winning streak is the longest in 37 years and a lot of that is due to the bottom six. The last two games perfectly explain how.
Casey Cizikas has won 26 of the past 35 face-offs. The Islanders overall have killed 19 of the last 20, with most of the killers coming from the bottom six. Cole Bardreau scored the first goal of his NHL career on a penalty shot after creating many breakaways over the past few games. Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas each had a goal and an assist in Tuesday night’s victory.
These two lines don’t get enough credit, but they should. Considering the blend of talent that has been in and out of the bottom six, they’ve done incredibly well. From the seamless transition to Michael Dal Colle from Matt Martin to the emergence of Cole Bardreau, the Islanders are in good hands at the bottom of their lineup.
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