As the New York Islanders enter the home stretch of the season in contention for a playoff spot, Anthony Beauvillier has really established himself as one of the team’s best players. Other than Brock Nelson, who leads the team in goals, Beauvillier might be the team MVP and is going to be the X-factor the rest of the season.
The highlight of Beauvillier’s season will be his two overtime goals. He scored his first one in December against that Buffalo Sabres and then another earlier this month against the Dallas Stars. In total, he has scored 17 goals and has made his biggest impact playing on the second line.
At times last season, Beauvillier showed success with Mat Barzal and Jordan Eberle, but has excelled with Nelson and Josh Bailey. Beauvillier and Nelson have done a terrific job starting overtimes together, as they have combined to score five goals in the extra session.
The way Beauvillier plays will likely dictate how this team moves forward. With a large number of games in the NHL going into overtime, it is imperative that the Islanders have players that can play well in the 3-on-3. When games were more likely to head into shootouts, New York had certain players excel in that. They now have their stars perform in overtime.
Beauvillier also is a key part of the Islanders’ second power-play unit. While the man-advantage has struggled most of this season, the second unit is very inexperienced with Noah Dobson at the point, but Beauvillier is the best scoring threat from that group.
A goal from the second unit is similar to a fourth-line goal when the Islanders have all their eggs in one basket with Barzal, Eberle, Lee, and Bailey as the top group. They can help you win tight games, but were never able to really get going after so few power plays earlier in the season.
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The other part of Beauvillier’s game that we have not seen much has been his ability to kill penalties. With Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck out of the lineup with lacerations, the Islanders have had to turn to some inexperienced penalty killers to get the job done. While they still have Nelson and Leo Komarov, it is sometimes the extra forwards not normally in the rotation on the penalty kill that are the most important, especially late in games.
So far this season, Beauvillier has had four two-goal games. The Islanders won all those games and are an incredible 11-2 in games he has scored. He showed when he gets hot, he can be one of the best players in the league. Beauvillier has scored in multiple games three times already this season and had one streak of goals in four straight games during the Islanders’ long point streak in November.
His career-high of 21 goals will certainly be reached soon, as he has a chance to score 25 goals for the first time. That would mean he would need to score eight goals in the final 26 games, which should be well in his reach. The Islanders could have four players reach 25 goals with Nelson within four. Barzal and Lee will also need to pick up their pace as they have 18 and 17 respectively, but with the Islanders’ struggles in net lately, New York has had to score four to five goals a game to win.
Up next, the Islanders will play their first game after their embarrassing 5-0 loss to the Nashville Predators. (from ‘Smith’s hat trick leads Predators over Islanders 5-0,’ News & Observer, 02/13/2020) They have to travel to Vegas and play in one of the toughest arenas in the league against the Golden Knights. Following that, they will travel to face the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche to finish off a four-game road trip.
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