It would’ve been hard to envision the New York Islanders getting to game No. 19 and not having a goal from Anthony Beauvillier yet, but that’s where things stood Thursday.
More than that, Beauvillier had just two points heading into a matchup with the Boston Bruins.
An injury had kept Beauvillier out of the lineup for about four weeks, but even then, the speedy winger hadn’t gotten off to the fastest start on the scoresheet.
He changed that in an important third-period swing in Thursday’s 7-2 win.
We'll take that lead please pic.twitter.com/eYtRyaLOtD
— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) February 26, 2021
With the Islanders and Boston knotted at 2-2 in the final frame, Beauvillier’s tenacity on the forecheck gave him a goal and the Islanders the lead in one fell swoop.
After taking a pass from Mathew Barzal, Beauvillier sped down the left wing and fired a shot from the faceoff dot. Jaroslav Halak made the initial stop and the rebound plopped in front of the crease in Trent Frederic’s control. But Beauvillier snuck behind Frederic, used a stick lift and a quick backhander to put the Islanders in front.
Beauvillier, who hadn’t scored since the 2020 playoffs, notched his first in the regular season since Feb. 17, 2020, against the Arizona Coyotes. It started a five-goal swing for the Islanders, and Barzal said it was Beauvillier’s cheeky strike that helped open the “floodgates”
“Love seeing him smile,” Barzal said of Beauvillier. “He loves scoring so whenever he gets one or a guy like that that hasn’t had one yet, that’s definitely a big boost for the bench.”
Maybe that smile — and goal — will get Beauvillier back to the level he was playing at during the Toronto and Edmonton bubbles. The Quebec native had a breakout of sorts in the postseason, totaling nine goals and 14 points in 22 games. It was after he had put up a career-best 39 points in a truncated regular season.
Things didn’t start out in similar fashion for Beauvillier once the calendar flipped to 2021, when he had just one assist through six games. It was a noticeable lack of scoring from him and the second line as a whole as the team saw its offensive production dip in the first few weeks of the season. Then came the lower-body injury that prevented him from getting into the lineup for nine games.
But the positive signs are there for Beauvillier now, who has two points over his last three games, including an assist on Feb. 20 against Pittsburgh.
Though he has just the one goal this year, the 23-year-old has a 64.71 high danger changes for percentage at 5-on-5, which ranks second on the team behind Nick Leddy among skaters with 10 games played.
Shooting 6.25 percent in all situations on 16 total shots, there’s a little bit of being snakebitten combined with not shooting enough (6.1 shots per 60 minutes) to get the puck in the back of the net.
But if Beauvillier continues to do what he did against Boston, he’ll be getting on the scoresheet more consistently.