While the New York Islanders’ trip out west to California did not go well, their trip to Florida produced a pair of wins against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers. It was the Islanders’ second win of the season against the Lightning, as they scored 10 goals in the two games.
They also completed the season sweep of the Panthers with their third win against Florida, with a 3-1 victory on Thursday night. The Islanders followed that up with an overtime win on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. Still chasing the Washington Capitals for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, the Islanders continue to remain in the playoff hunt. Let’s take a look back at the three best players of this past week.
Third Star: Anders Lee
It took some time this season, but Anders Lee was finally able to score his first power-play goal of the season late in the third period against Tampa Bay. He was able to get into his usual spot in front of the net and tipped home a shot from Josh Bailey to give the Islanders a 5-1 lead.
Lee also scored against the Panthers with an empty-net goal to give the Islanders a two-goal lead in the final seconds. This was after Lee received 17 minutes worth of penalties for fighting Brian Boyle in the second period. The penalties resulted from Boyle throwing a check on Islanders’ defenseman Adam Pelech.
Lee quietly now has nine goals on the season despite not really going through many hot-streaks. He is on pace to score over 20 goals for a fourth straight season, but the Islanders will hope that pace picks up as the season moves on.
Second Star: Brock Nelson
After a terrific first month of the season, Brock Nelson has continued that through November and into December following his contract extension this offseason. In the Islanders win over the Lightning, Nelson scored two third period goals to help beat Tampa Bay.
His first goal came unassisted, where he followed through on his initial shot attempt and beat Curtis McElhinney early in the period. Nearly seven minutes later, Nelson had his third multi-goal game of the season with his patented wrist shot from the slot.
Nelson also set up a pair of goals versus Buffalo and is one of three players on the team to have more than 10 goals. Regardless of who he is playing with on the second line, Nelson continues to produce, helping the Islanders get off to their great star.
First Star: Anthony Beauvillier
Other than Mat Barzal this season, Anthony Beauvillier has been one of the most consistent forwards this season. It was only a matter of time before Beauvillier connected in overtime as he did versus Buffalo. He was sprung free on a breakaway and beat goaltender Linus Ullmark for his 10th goal of the season.
Beauvillier also assisted in both regulation goals by Michael Dal Colle and Jordan Eberle. He has already reached 23 points this season after not reaching that mark until nearly March of last season.
With lots of talk during the game about two of the best players from the 2015 NHL draft in Barzal and Jack Eichel, Beauvillier, the 30th overall pick from that draft, was the one who stood out. After Barzal was called for a late penalty, Eichel tied the game up with the extra attacker before Beauvillier secured the Islanders the second point with the winner.
Honorable Mention: Noah Dobson
While he didn’t register on the scoresheet all week, Islanders rookie Noah Dobson played in all three games this week following Nick Leddy’s injury. Dobson’s ice-time nearly doubled Saturday versus the Sabres and saw a shift in overtime.
With the World Juniors right around the corner, Dobson is likely going to stay with New York instead of representing his country later this month. With Leddy out, Dobson’s minutes are likely going to continue to increase as well as his time on the power play.
Up next, the Islanders will host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night before heading on the road to face the Boston Bruins on Thursday. They will then close the week out with a matchup with the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.