The playoff party kicked off in a special way for the New York Islanders.
The Islanders outscored the Rangers 7-0 over the last two games and 13-1 overall over the last three meetings. As the Isles hit a tough stretch in the season, games against the Rangers have helped the offense and their position in the standings.
Let’s take a look at some of the details in this one.
Beau, the Ranger killer
Anthony Beauvillier has made it a habit of scoring against the Rangers, and sure enough, he was back at it again Saturday night. The winger book-ended the scoring with the game’s first and last tallies in this one.
Anthony Beauvillier, nice and early! pic.twitter.com/rKgwwbdRX3
— NHL (@NHL) May 1, 2021
The islanders have had their issues with goaltender Alexander Georgiev over the last few years, but Beauvillier quieted any of those talks less than five minutes into this game.
On the rush, Josh Bailey fed a charging Beauvillier in the right circle and he finished the rest with a powerful, high wrister over the netminder’s blocker side. It was another wrister — this one low — that all but sealed the Islanders’ win early in the second period. With Brock Nelson, the line had over a 58 expected goals percentage and it led to two goals from Beauvillier.
Beauvillier now has 13 goals and 10 assists in 21 games against the Rangers in his career.
Barzal gets back on track
He’d been fighting a 12-game scoreless drought before he broke through with an empty-netter on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. But Mathew Barzal was vintage Mathew Barzal with his first-period goal on Saturday.
Bailey forced a Rangers turnover in the defensive zone and pushed the puck into the neutral zone. From there, Barzal did the rest and used his speed to skate by the Rangers defense. He went forehand, backhand and scored up high. He now has 15 goals this year and scores in back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 25-27.
Barzal breakaways vs @RangersMSGN >>>
— x – Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) May 1, 2021
With the Islanders gearing up for a playoff run, Barzal getting hot in the offensive zone would be a boost for the team.
Varlamov perfect again
When the Islanders have needed him to be at his best, Semyon Varlamov has almost always been there this season. The netminder blanked the Rangers for the second time in a row to earn his league-leading seventh shutout of the year.
At MSG, he stopped 25 shots and this time he made three more saves to keep the Rangers out of the goal column. Four of his clean sheets this year have come against the team’s arch-rival.
— x – New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 2, 2021
He also etched his name in team history with the latest effort with now 213:56 consecutive minutes of shutout hockey. The way he’s played this season, he’s a bonafide Vezina Trophy candidate.
Barry Trotz came to Long Island in 2018. Since then, all the Islanders have done is reach the postseason.
It wasn’t always easy this season with a few bumps in the road, but the Islanders are going back for a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In Trotz’s first season, they fell in the second round and then made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final in 2020.
Playoff seeding has not yet been set, so these next few games are still important for the Islanders to pick up some points.