Islanders rave about coach Lane Lambert
Fourteen games into his head coaching career, Lane Lambert says he hasn’t been too surprised. His Islanders have stunned the outside world, however, with a 9-5-0 record after a second straight third-period surge that sparked a 4-3 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night.
During the summer, Lambert was conspicuous only by his absence. The Islanders announced their hiring in the midst of the Rangers’ playoff run, and instead of an introductory press conference complete with bells and whistles, Lambert spoke briefly to reporters on Zoom. His camera was off. That was the last anyone heard from him publicly until the start of training camp in September.
Inside the locker room, though, all that mattered was the Islanders’ familiarity with Lambert, who was an assistant under former coach Barry Trotz for the entirety of his four seasons with the Islanders, and the effectiveness of his methods.
“Laner is as detailed of a head coach as you’ll ever find,” Matt Martin told The Post after Tuesday’s win. “He was also a detailed assistant coach, even when Trotz was the head coach. As far as adjustments to the game and what we were going to do, I think Laner had a lot of say in those things.
“I think he deserved a head coaching job a long time ago, but luckily for us, he stayed and we were able to get him. I think he’s evolved and understands what we’re capable of doing in situations. And so far , all right.”
Lambert has not hesitated to make changes to the Islanders’ system, deploying a more aggressive forecheck and penalty. The identity they define themselves by has evolved, but the roots of that identity took them to four NHL Finals in two straight seasons.
“I think it’s a credit to Lane and his staff,” Anders Lee said. “[And] I think it’s a credit to the players who take what they have to say and are coachable and give great effort every night. And it’s a team effort.”
Cal Clutterbuck sat with an undisclosed injury, and Nikita Soshnikov took his place in the lineup. Soshnikov started the game on the front line with Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal: Oliver Wahlstrom was demoted to Clutterbuck’s spot on the fourth line. Soshnikov and Wahlstrom switched at the end of the second period. Lambert said Clutterbuck, who did not do warmups, was close to a game-time decision.
Semyon Varlamov’s streak at Madison Square Garden ended at 251:36 on Filip Chytil’s first-period goal.
Kyle Palmieri recorded his 400th career point on his third period assist on Adam Pelech.
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