Samuel Bolduc’s first NHL goal propels Islanders in blowout win

Lane Lambert knew by the time he spoke to reporters before Tuesday’s game that Samuel Bolduc would be in the lineup. But when asked about the 22-year-old defenseman, who played four games with the Islanders but was likely to be a healthy scratch Tuesday, the coach kept his poker face.

“I like his size, I like his reach, I like his temperament with the puck,” Lambert said. “Certainly as we’ve seen and seen, when he gets into people, the drama ends there. There’s a lot.”

Lambert then talked about the learning opportunities that come with being here, “and then with practicing and watching games” if the call-up isn’t in the lineup. Bolduc wasn’t the only one watching and learning during Tuesday’s 4-0 win over the Kraken. He was added to the lineup with Alexander Romanov missing the game for personal reasons, and made an immediate impact, scoring his first NHL goal 7:59 into the game with a wrist shot past Martin Jones from the left point. Defeated.

The goal opened the floodgates for the Islanders, who dominated the game from there in an eventual blowout win.

Samuel Boldick
Samuel Bolduc celebrates his first NHL goal.
Corey Sapkin for the New York Post

“At first I was a little surprised,” Bolduc said. “After that, something I’ll never forget.”

Bolduc finished the game skating 18:29, blocking three shots and showing the same poise that has made him stand out in his first four games. He did this after knowing for certain that he was only playing an hour earlier, even though Lambert had told him to be ready earlier in the day. Going into the top six has been a great audition for a player who made the AHL All-Star Game this year.

The reasons for Romanov’s absence are unknown, although his wife Sofia gave birth last week. Lambert, though, said postgame that he doesn’t expect him to miss an extended period of time. That means someone will have to be pushed out of the lineup for Bolduc to come in.

“He sees the ice, he has vision and he made great breakout plays again tonight,” Lambert said. “He just has the ability to read, he’s so prepared.”

For a team that struggles to break the puck, that’s a valuable skill. And for a player trying to break into the lineup, it was a good night.

Oliver Wahlstrom, who is out indefinitely, was in the press box on Tuesday with crutches and a brace on his left knee.

“We’re not sure,” Lambert said, asked if Wahlstrom would miss the rest of the season.

Scott Mayfield scored his 100th career point with the primary assist on Boldick’s goal. It was also the 400th career game for both Mayfield and Ryan Pluck.

The Islanders led 4-0 in a game for the first time since Tuesday’s second contest of the season against the Ducks.

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