Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov continue to be lethal pair for Islanders

It is not yet clear when the Islanders will see Adam Pelech or Ryan Pulock return to the lineup after the latest update from Lane Lambert Tuesday morning was to say only that neither (nor Scott Mayfield) are expected to travel to Washington and Carolina this week. 

So maybe it is a little premature to start playing out scenarios.

But when the Islanders do finally get a healthy blue line, whenever that may be, reuniting Pelech and Pulock on a pair for the first time this season is a step that could be on the table. 

That is because Alexander Romanov and Noah Dobson, in their play together, have facilitated such a possibility. 

Recall that the original plan upon acquiring Romanov at the 2022 draft was to pair the two young D-men while letting Pelech and Pulock continue on as the top pair.

That was abandoned after 19 games last season because Romanov and Dobson never quite looked on the same page when they were on the ice together and the Islanders could not keep waiting for them to click. 

Noah Dobson (8) of the New York Islanders rushes for the rebound as Ilya Sorokin (30) of the New York Islanders defends the net during the second period when the New York Islanders played the Edmonton Oilers. Robert Sabo for NY Post

“I already don’t remember how we played last year, because we played only start of the season [together],” Romanov told The Post ahead of a 3-1 win over the Oilers in which he and Dobson drew the short straw to match up with Connor McDavid. 

As for this year, the cumulative results for the pair, over 206 minutes 27 seconds this season heading into Tuesday’s game, were not just good, but the best of any Isles pair this year: 56.94 percent of expected goals, 73.33 percent of the actual goals, 55.56 percent of high-danger chances. 

That is a direct product of the hard work and development put in by Romanov and Dobson, who will both turn 24 one day apart during the first week in January. 

“I can’t tell you I’m better here, here, here. No. I just feel more comfortable,” Romanov said. “I just feel that I’ve improved my game. When you try to do something, when you do it every single day, day-to-day, you will improve.” 

Alexander Romanov #28 of the New York Islanders slows down Leon Draisaitl #29 of the Edmonton Oilers.
Alexander Romanov #28 of the New York Islanders slows down Leon Draisaitl #29 of the Edmonton Oilers. Getty Images

His stats are not as impressive as Dobson, who has ascended into the Norris Trophy conversation.

But Romanov’s development may be just as pivotal to the Islanders. 

It is not the same kind of necessity to reunite Pelech and Pulock as it would have been two or three seasons ago. It would be a luxury but maybe not more than that. 

What may be necessary, though, is to keep Romanov and Dobson together.

As the top pair. 

Julien Gauthier left the game in the second period and did not return.

Lambert did not have an update on his status postgame.

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