Islanders’ Samuel Bolduc sees limited time in turnover-plagued outing

For all the focus on Mathew Barzal’s knee injury, the Islanders might have missed Sebastian Aho just as much on Saturday.

Since Aho went down with an upper-body injury last week in San Jose, Samuel Bolduc has filled in admirably.

But the 22-year-old rookie showed his age in a 2-0 loss to Buffalo at UBS Arena during which he was benched for long stretches due to turnovers.

“Every night is a night of learning and experience,” Bolduc said. “Sometimes there’s some nights where things are not gonna go as well as other nights. Just need to learn how to manage those nights. Like I said, every night’s learning. You can learn a lot.”

In 11:46 of ice time, Bolduc was credited with four giveaways and a shot on net.

Though he played at six-on-five as the Islanders tried to tie the score prior to Jeff Skinner’s empty-net goal, Bolduc played just three even-strength shifts during the third period as coach Lane Lambert culled his rotation.

That’s part of the learning curve for a young player, and no one in the Islanders’ organization doubts the ability of Bolduc, who has largely acquitted himself well over a couple of NHL cameos this season.

But given that the Islanders need every point possible amid a tight playoff race, they might prefer those valuable experiences come at another time for the young native of Laval, Quebec.

Samuel Bolduc checks Dylan Cozens during the Islanders' 2-0 loss to the Sabres.
Samuel Bolduc checks Dylan Cozens during the Islanders’ 2-0 loss to the Sabres.

“There were some errors, but he’s a young guy that will continue to get better,” Lambert said. “Every once in a while, you’re gonna have a little bit of a night like that.”

Josh Bailey drew into the lineup for the first time since March 14 against the Kings, skating on Bo Horvat’s right side on the first line because Simon Holmstrom was a healthy scratch.

“He had been sitting for a while,” Lambert said. “And back to back, 22 hours after [Friday’s game], we decided we would get in a fresh body.”

Horvat and Anders Lee have both gone cold since Barzal’s injury.

Horvat has scored just twice in 15 games and Lee has scored just once in the past seven matches.

“Since Barzy’s been hurt, we’ve tried a number of different guys with them,” Lambert said. “It’s been a little bit difficult, but we’ll continue to try and find a way here.”

Barzal (knee) still has yet to start skating, according to Lambert.

“There isn’t really a target date,” Lambert said. “There’s a vague idea of where it can be. As far as I’m concerned, I just wait and see. When he’s available, he’s available and when he’s skating, he’s skating. Other than that, we have a lot of big games coming up.”

Lambert did not give an update on Aho (upper body).