After his scary collision with the boards on a Mike Matheson mutually-entered interference play in Game 5 Monday, Islanders rookie Oliver Wahlstrom is a doubt for Game 6 on Wednesday.
During Barry Trotz’s media availability between games, he was asked about Wahlstrom’s status. The Isles coach said Wahlstrom was being looked at as he spoke — perhaps a good sign that there might not be long-term damage — and also took the rare step of tipping his hand to who might replace him.
As many of you already figured, the man “at the forefront” is Travis Zajac, who’s yet to find a firm role since coming over in the Kyle Palmieri trade. Here’s Trotz’s full availability:
Trotz Media Availability pic.twitter.com/BNLC8yAPLj— x - New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 25, 2021
“A guy like Travis Zajac comes to mind. He’s been in many of these moments, and he plays a couple of positions. I would say he’s at the forefront.”
That’s way more forthcoming than “a Russian will be in goal.” Unless you think Trotz is being extra playoff cheeky about a wing replacement, just pencil Zajac into your lineup now.
For me that’s a missed opportunity for Michael Dal Colle, who’s been through plenty of adversity and adjustment to his game over the years, though he’s of course not been featured in a madhouse Coliseum playoff game. But yes, Zajac provides versatility and a backup at center if something goes wrong mid-game.
Nassau Coliseum Capacity Expands Again
Meanwhile, the Islanders can expect even more fans welcoming them back to Nassau Coliseum for what could be the first series win on Coliseum ice since 1993. (The 2016 win over the Panthers took place in Brooklyn.)
As pandemic restrictions continue to lift, this sequence of tweets by beatwriters Arthur Staple of the Athletic and Andrew Gross of Newsday shows they’re expecting even more in the house for a 6:30 p.m. EDT start:
Have just confirmed that there will be approximately 9,000 at the Coliseum for Game 6. For a tight building that seats 13,913, that should be an insane atmosphere for tomorrow's Game 6. https://t.co/GLUFAxhd8T— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) May 25, 2021
Hopefully the Islanders deliver the good for hungry fans, and perform more like Game 4 than Game 5.
You know the fans will be ready, and will be eager to welcome a new ally...
Tristan Jarry on his mindset on moving on from a gaffe like last night's: "I'm a pretty easygoing person, so it's just about going about my business and doing what I can to be better the next day."— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 25, 2021