Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock are reunited as the Islanders’ best defensive pair

Fifty-two games into the season, a faint win wasn’t the only thing that looked like a return to better times for the Islanders. After 49 games, Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock became the Isles’ first defensive pair to part ways.

Earlier in the season, Islanders coach Barrydios had split them up to help clear up depth issues down the blue line. Then, in short order, Pulock suffered an injury that sidelined him for 2 ½ months. Upon his return,dios said the couple would eventually be reunited, but he wanted to wait until Pulock was 100 percent back.

in one 2-1 win over the Blues on Saturday, Despite clearly felt the moment was right. Pulock and Pelech were 8:25 on the ice together, with the islanders having the better chances of scoring 6:2 using a natural stat trick. Think of it as a quick return to form.

“It’s good to be reconnected with him,” Pulock said. “I think we have a lot of confidence together and we know each other’s games well. It’s nice out there with him [Saturday].”

Ryan Pulock fights for the puck against the Blues.
Ryan Pulock fights for the puck against the Blues.
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Part of the lack of urgency to reunite them came because Pelech and Scott Mayfield had developed good chemistry together — and played more than 10 minutes together thanks to extended four-on-four periods and Saturday’s penalty shootout Saturday — but it was ultimately a matter of time.

After all, Pelech and Pulock played 775 minutes together last season, more than all but five pairings in the entire league, per Natural Stat trick, and had a combined on-ice expected goal percentage of 59.84. That number led every pairing by more than 400 minutes.

With Zdeno Chara out injured,dios put Andy Greene on Noah Dobson and Mayfield on Sebastian Aho. This configuration ensured the Islanders had one of their better puck-moving defenders – Dobson, Pulock and Aho – on the ice five-for-five no matter what pair was out there.

“It was just about time,” Defiant said. “We just felt that Pully’s had some time. He missed a lot of time and his game was a bit off. We wanted to give him a chance and I just felt like let’s put it together.”

Adam Pelech chases the puck against the Blues.
Adam Pelech chases the puck against the Blues.

This paid off as the Islanders picked up one of their better wins of the season.

“I thought we didn’t have any passengers today,” Defiant said. “Everyone played well. I can’t look at the line-up and say, ‘This guy can play better.’ ” Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock are reunited as the Islanders’ best defensive pair


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