WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The Islanders took the first step toward getting a healthy lineup back intact on Sunday as Josh Bailey drew back in after missing over a week with an upper-body injury.
Bailey, who finished the 4-0 win over the Jets with 14:10 time on ice, started the game on the fourth line with Otto Koivula and Arnaud Durandeau, as Ross Johnston sat as a healthy scratch. Simon Holmstrom was back on the top line with Anders Lee and Bo Horvat, while Matt Martin skated with Casey Cizikas and Hudson Fasching on the third line.
“I thought he was good,” coach Lane Lambert said of Bailey. “I thought he was a real good guy to have on that line with the two young guys. I thought he made some good plays on the wall and some disciplined, experienced plays, I guess I would call them, which was very helpful. And I thought he was good on the penalty kill. He is a big part of the penalty kill.”
It’s unclear when Jean-Gabriel Pageau or Mathew Barzal will be back, but Pageau has yet to start skating and did not make the trip to Winnipeg. Barzal is considered week-to-week with a presumed knee injury after a hit from Craig Smith last week in Boston.
The Isles are still short on depth down the middle until they get those two back, but Bailey’s veteran presence was a welcome addition on Sunday.
Surprisingly, coach Lane Lambert went with Semyon Varlamov in nets in the victory over Winnipeg. The decision paid off, as Varlamov recorded his second shutout of the season, stopping 23 shots.
“We completely trust both goaltenders,” Lambert said. “We know we have two good goaltenders. … At the end of the day, you want Varly to stay fresh.”
Varlamov, who struggled in his last outing in Boston, was allowed to settle into the game as the Isles allowed just one shot on net in the first 20 minutes.
“Made some saves and then it gave me confidence right away,” Varlamov told The Post. “Against Boston it was a completely different game. … They jumped in and scored a quick goal and then a second goal and then you don’t want to start the game like that. Unfortunately, Boston, we did, but at this point, we don’t have to talk about the Boston game.”
Former Isles coach Barry Trotz will take over the retiring David Poile’s role as general manager of the Nashville Predators on July 1, the Preds announced Sunday. Trotz was the first coach in franchise history for the Predators, who came into the league in 1998 as an expansion franchise.
“He’s a super hockey guy, so whatever role he’s in and whatever role he wants to get into, he’ll do well,” Lambert said.
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