Third Line makes the most of their minutes
Last season, the New York Islanders acquired J-G Pageau from the Ottawa Senators to help bolster a lineup that went completely dry on offense. The third line, his new home, was especially struggling.
Heading into this season, it was important to find linemates that could allow Pageau to play his game.
As camp came and went, we still were not too certain on who head coach Barry Trotz would deploy on either side of Pageau. It looked like youngsters Keiffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom would both get a chance, but Trotz elected to go with the 22-year old Bellows, who played on the left side, with 6-foot-5 Ross Johnston on the right.
Although this line did not get a ton of playing time, they made the most of their minutes. While they did not impact the scoresheet, this line was finishing their checks the entire night. Bellows registered eight hits (10:25 TOI), with Johnston (8:02 TOI) recording three, and Pageau (16:38 TOI, PP time, PK time) with two.
And as we have become accustomed to, Pageau fails to shy away from the big boys. As the second period came to a close, the 5-foot-9 center clocked 6-foot-1 Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux.
For Bellows, this was a significant check in the book for a player who worked extra hard at camp to make the roster. Although he is a goal-scorer, the fact that we saw him do damage without the puck is a great sign.