Patrick Roy had said just a few days earlier that he wasn’t considering shaking up his power-play units, despite their struggles.

Evidently, something changed.

The Islanders rolled out a new look at five-on-four on Tuesday and quickly saw it pay off, with Mat Barzal feeding Bo Horvat from behind the net to set up a goal on their first power-play chance of the eventual 2-1 win over the Blackhawks.

“I think it’s important to have two different looks,” Roy said. “And one night if the other team does a good job to shut us down, we have the other unit that can score the goal. I believe that gives us two very good weapons.”

The top unit still featured Barzal and Horvat, with Noah Dobson running point. But Casey Cizikas was in front of the net with Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the slot.

The second unit still featured Mike Reilly up top and Ryan Pulock on one of the half-walls, with Anders Lee at the net front.

But Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri moved down from the top unit to give things a little more balance.

“It was a little different, I guess, for Brock and Palms to be on this unit,” Roy said. “But I thought if we could practice a little bit, I think they’re gonna feel more and more comfortable.”

As ever, the chemistry between Barzal and Horvat — who also started the night on the same line for the first time since mid-Mach — was clear to see.

“I can’t believe he opted to go on his backhand there,” Horvat said of the assist. “I was hoping he was gonna give it to me earlier and then he outwaited everybody and thankfully I stayed in the right spot. Just had to put it in from there.”


Simon Holmstrom drew into the lineup for Hudson Fasching after being a healthy scratch for four of the last five games and netted the game-winning goal at the 9:25 mark of the third.

“I want him to earn it,” Roy said. “And that’s what he did. He scored a big goal for us and I thought he had a solid game with [Pageau] and Anders [Lee].”

Robert Bortuzzo also came out for Sebastian Aho after playing in six straight, with Roy saying the Islanders wanted to give Bortuzzo a rest day since he recently came off injury.


Ilya Sorokin earned his first win in six starts, notching 18 saves.

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