It was so nice, Anthony Beauvillier did it twice.
Beauvillier scored two goals and helped lead the Islanders to a 5-1 Game 4 victory over the Florida Panthers, and clinched the best-of-five series. It was a fitting end to a dominant series from the Islanders’ winger.
Friday marked Beauvillier’s first multi-point postseason performance as the Islanders advanced to the Round of 16 in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 23-year-old recorded both of his goals before the first 20 minutes were up.
Linemate Brock Nelson added the insurance goal in the second period and Mat Barzal cemented the game with a goal late in the third. Jean-Gabriel Pageau added an empty-netter in the closing minutes of the third period.
Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves in net for the Islanders.
“As a group I think coming off four and a half months and stepping right into a playoff series, I really liked our intensity, and how hard we played,” Barzal said about the series win. ”
Friday marked the second time in franchise history that the Islanders defeated the Panthers in a postseason series. They eliminated Florida in the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs for their first series win since 1993.
The Islanders oppoenent in the first round of the playoffs is still unknown. The top four teams in each conference are playing a Round-Robin to determine the seeding.
The Game 4 victory was a return to form for the Islanders, who let sloppy mistakes cost them on Wednesday in Game 3.
The Islanders won the special teams battle, going 1-for-3 on the man-advantage and killing three of the four Florida power plays.
The Islanders also limited the number of shots on net. They ended the game outshooting the Panthers 38 to 25 and saw their blueliners have a strong outing, which included a game-saving play by Ryan Pulock in the second period.
New York had a 3-1 lead when the Panthers caught Varlamov out of position. Pulock made a diving play to send Aleksander Barkov’s backhand attempt over the net.
“He had a wide open net there and I kind of just tried to make a desperation play,” Pulock said about the sequence. “Get my stick on his stick and puck. I got pretty fortunate, but it ended up being a pretty big play in the game. I think after that we really started to take it over.”
Beauvillier netted his first goal of the afternoon 11:32 into the first period. The Islanders winger threw the puck on goal with a backhander from the side of the net, clipping the leg of Sergei Bobrovsky and redirecting in.
Less than five minutes later, Beauvillier was the recipient of a quick feed from Barzal. The Islanders were able to clear the puck from their zone and Barzal was able to find Beauvillier breaking to the net for the goal.
BEAUVI IS A MAD MAN pic.twitter.com/L9H0dmlLT6
— Isles on MSG Plus (@IslesMSGN) August 7, 2020
The pair of goals extended Beauvillier’s playoff point streak to four games. Beauvillier finished the series with three goals and two assists.
“I was literally just trying to get it on net,” Beauvllier said of the first goal. “I got a good bounce. We got fortunate on that goal. It was huge for us to play with the lead and we played the right way today. It’s getting us into the playoffs, so it’s a good feeling.”
Florida’s only goal of the game came late in the opening period while the Panthers were on the power play. Mike Hoffman buried a one-timer from just inside the faceoff circle 12 seconds into the man-advantage.
Nelson put the Islanders back in front by two with a power-play goal of his own 8:01 into the second period. Josh Bailey sent a cross-ice pass to Nelson, who went bar down to put the Islanders up 3-1.
Barzal made it 4-1 with 9:26 left in the third off a breakaway shot that beat Bobrovsky on his glove side. The goal was his first of the postseason.
Pageau added the empty-net goal at the 17:17 mark of the third.