New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier has not been an offensive threat this season and missing nine games due to an injury didn’t help his cause.
Beauvillier returned to the lineup earlier this week and showed flashes of what had made him so successful last season, but he didn’t pick up any points in his first two games back. It was a lower-body injury that Beauvillier suffered in the Islanders 2-0 loss to New Jersey on Jan. 24 that shelved the 23-year-old forward for nine games.
Prior to that, Beauvillier had recorded just one assist in his first five games, and more worrisome was that he had only four shots on goal over that span.
When Beauvillier returned on Tuesday, he was slotted alongside Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Oliver Wahlstrom on the third line. Michael Dal Colle had played strong in his absence alongside Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle and head coach Barry Trotz elected to keep them together.
Anthony Beauvillier had a shot on goal and one hit in 16:31 in his first game back against the Buffalo Sabres. he was even on the ice for Pageau’s goal in the first period, but didn’t register any point on the play.
Tuesday wasn’t an eventful game for Beauvillier, but it had been good just to see him back on the ice.
On Thursday was when we started to see glimpses of what Beauvillie had showcased last season, particularly in the playoffs. Beauvillier again found himself starting the game on the third line.
Right from the opening draw, Beauvillier’s speed was on display. Despite mishandling the puck early, he regrouped to make a strong play to get the puck out of his own zone. In his second shift of the hockey game, he recorded his first and only shot on goal and forced Pittsburgh netminder Tristan Jarry to make a nice save with the shoulder.
In the middle frame, Beauvillier was invisible. The Islanders were often shorthanded which kept Beauvillier from really getting into the game much. He was only able to see 2:36 of ice time in the second period.
However, there was one play that stood out in that small window of opportunity. After the Islanders’ top line was pinned in their zone for a long shift, Beauvillier used his strength to get the puck out of his zone. This play allowed his team to make a wholesale change.
That would be all for Beauvillier in the second period.
Despite the Islanders allowing two goals in the final frame, Beauvillier showed more life and created chances out of nothing at certain points.
Trotz did move Beauvillier back to the second line with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey during the third as well. The three were dominant forces in the postseason last year, but had failed to recreate that so far this season before Beauvillier’s injury.
This time around Beauvillier showed more energy and intensity. He also went to the dirty areas looking for deflections.
The second line reunion was shortlived and Beauvillier did end up back on the third line before the game was over.
After 60 minutes, Beauvillier saw 13:22 of action and finished with one shot on goal and two hits (Tuesday he played 16:31). The Islanders had three power-play opportunities on Thursday, but Beauvillier didn’t see any time on either of their power-play units. Beauvillier had been on the second power-play unit before his injury.
He didn’t receive any power-play minutes on Tuesday either.
Looking at some advanced stats, the Islanders recorded 60 percent of their shots while Beauvillier was on the ice. He was also on the ice for 40 percent of the Islanders’ scoring chances.
Anthony Beauvillier is one of the Islanders’ better offensive players when he is on his game. However, like many Islander forwards, he is a streaky individual. Once he gets comfortable and builds up chemistry with whowever he is put with the goals will start to come.
Like we have seen in years past, and in the playoffs, once one goal enters the back of the net, they usually come in bunches for him. Until that happens, he needs to skate hard each shift and put more of an effort at getting pucks on goal.