Islanders sacrifice defense for offense with newest moves

Following Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals after squandering a three-goal lead and failing to put the game out of reach early, New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert was asked if he has enough finishers in the squad.

“Absolutely,” Lambert said. “We created opportunities, and there are certain people who have been in droughts and they’re going to come out of them.”

Actions speak louder than words as the Islanders’ two squad moves ahead of their game against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday show the Islanders are willing to sacrifice their defense for offense as they include 20-year-old forward Willian Dufour and the 24-year-old recalled -old defense attorney Dennis Cholowski.

Dufour has “a cannon” of one shot, Islander Oliver Wahlstrom told NYI Hockey Now in late September.

After a dominant season in the QMJHL and a dominant performance on the world stage with the World Juniors last summer, he has 13 goals with 12 assists in his first 37 games in the American Hockey League.

Dufour skated at the Islanders morning skate alongside Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey.

He replaces 21-year-old Simon Holmstrom in the lineup, who has performed well defensively in his first 18 NHL games, but his lack of attack was the problem, with just one goal on 11 shots.

“He didn’t really have much training time. You know, he’s still solid defensively and a very intelligent player,” Lambert said of Holmstrom. “He needs to get a little bit more attack on his game.”

As for the backend change, Cholowski will replace Parker Wotherspoon and will skate alongside Ryan Pulock against the Boston Bruins.

Cholowski has never been known as a gifted defender, but he excelled with his offensive skills.

“He has experience. He’s a good skater. He’s a puck-moving guy and we try to break pucks out of our own and make them even better,” Lambert said.

Cholowski has 17 assists in 35 games with Bridgeport this season.

“We’re just looking for him to make a good first pass. Don’t do more than that,” Lambert said. “He’s had success with that in the past.”

Wotherspoon has been solid defensively in his 11 games but has just one assist and 10 shots in an average of 13:29 per game.

Over the course of that homestand, four games with a 1-1-2 record, the New York Islanders have only scored seven goals, 1.75 per game. Let’s see if these two newcomers help ignite the offense as they attempt to finish the homestand at an even .500 before heading to Buffalo for a Thursday night showdown.

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