The last two nights in Buffalo will probably be forgettable for the Islanders come this time next week. Defensive lapses, blown leads, making Sabresâ€™ netminder Michael Houser look like Patrick Roy at times all made for a tough watch. One positive â€” yes there was those despite the results â€” that might come out of it though was the play of Anthony Beauvillier.
Beauvillier had a goal last night and an assist in Monday nightâ€™s game, giving him five points in his last four games. He was the Islesâ€™ most engaged forward in the latter of the back-to-back by a far margin. The second-line stalwart led the Islanders with seven shots.
Beauvillier took it upon himself to be in charge of the offense in the absence of number-one center Mathew Barzal. Barzal was given a rest by head coach Barry Trotz after he had bad game on Monday and to get him in the right mindset for the postseason. â€œMat is a good pro, Trotz said in the postgame. â€œHeâ€™s going to be a big part of what weâ€™re doing. Just want to get him in the right place, feeling good so heâ€™s a good player for us in the playoffs.â€
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) May 4, 2021
Barzal being at the top of his game will be crucial if the Islanders want to go on another deep run, but Beauvillier is in that category too. Heâ€™s one of the clubâ€™s most important forwards with his speed and skill, two qualities the Isles desperately lack. We saw the impact he had last year in the postseason when his game is elevated. Beauvillier was one of the talks of the league with how he performed the first two rounds in the bubble.Â How the 23-year-old is playing of late proves heâ€™s finding that next gear again as this postseason approach.
The chemistry Beauvillier has formed with Josh Bailey is starting to really come alive, and it goes beyond their dismantling of the Rangers. That relentless mentality without the puck and knack for the net, has too returned. Beauvillier has also picked up the slack with Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle and others still struggling to score. All of these things are a sign that Beauvillier is already in â€œplayoff modeâ€.
That matters. The Isles as a whole have shown in spurts over the past few weeks they are finding that style, but it hasnâ€™t come in a consistent manner. They have three more games to really lock in. Beauvillier is above the rest at the moment. And if heâ€™s locked in â€” and we all know his past troubles with being consistent â€” that should be a shot in the arm for his teammates.
This season has been another up-and-down ride for Beauvillier. He was hit with injuries early on and it took him some time to get going. But it seems heâ€™s found that swagger in his game once again. With that higher gear, heâ€™s dangerous and the Isles are a far-better team because of it.
Interesting to hear that Barry Trotz wasnâ€™t as upset with how the Isles blew another two-goal lead for a second night in a row. On a regular occasion, that might have meant a tongue lashing, but the situation is different. The Isles already are in the postseason, and the coach just wants his defense to get right with bigger games coming.
Nice game for Cal Clutterbuck on Tuesday night. Clutterbuck had been struggling for the past couple weeks before he recorded a goal and assist. The fourth line hasnâ€™t been themselves too as of late, so maybe Clutterbuck getting off the snide sparks that trio again for the final three contests.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) May 5, 2021