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Tito’s on Ice: Islanders advance behind Beauvillier’s Heroics



New York Islanders Anthony Beauvillier scores

The New York Islanders punched their ticket to the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Anthony Beauvillier scored a pair goals and Semyon Varlamov made 21 saves as the Islanders took Game 5, 4-0, and the series four games to one. It was the second consecutive round that Beauvillier pulled the Isles over the finish line to close out a series.

The victory capped another strong effort from the Islanders, who have surprised many over the course of the playoffs with their strong, structured play. The 21 shots on net were the fewest that the Islanders allowed this series and it was the second two-goal effort that Beauvillier had in the playoffs.

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Beauvillier joined Mike Bossy and Bobby Nystrom as the only other Islanders to score multiple games in two series-clinching victories.

“When we’re playing the right way you can feel it on the bench. It’s contagious,” Josh Bailey said about the Islanders play. “As for Beau, I think it’s a lot of fun to play with him. He’s really stepped up his game. Been a big leaguer for us. Scored some big goals.

“I think that second goal was just paying the price and getting to the net. He’s doing a lot of things well.”

The Islanders returned to form a bit after getting away from their game in the fourth game of the series.  The Islanders got back to their offense-smothering D and they capitalized on the power play on Thursday night.

New York also limited the Capitals chances on the man-advantage to just two, as well as the number of shots on net.

The New York Islanders advance to the second round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year and for the third time in the last five years. Thursday’s series-clinching win is the second consecutive year they’ve knocked out a division rival from the postseason.

They will face either the Philadelphia Flyers or the Boston Bruins in the Second Round. The Islanders take on the Flyers if Philly eliminates the Montreal Canadiens, who they lead 3-2 in the series. The Islanders face Boston if Montreal rallies to take the series.

“It’s a great win for us. We’re obviously happy to move on, but you turn the page,” Bailey said. “Everyone realizes there’s still a long way to go. We’re going to have another tough opponent no matter who it is.”

And it was fitting that it was Islanders coach Barry Trotz’s former club. The Islanders bench boss had tried to downplay the narrative but admitted after the game that it had certainly led to some mixed emotions.

“I’ve got great emotions in a couple of areas,” Trotz said. “I had so much invested with that group of core players. I can’t tell you how much they mean to. I’m trying to have those same relationships with my group and hopefully, we can share something special.”

Beauvillier’s first goal of the night put the Islanders on the board first just 17 seconds into a power play. The Islanders were able to move the puck well and Brock Nelson picked up a rebound and fed it right to Beauvillier.

The second line forward buried the one-timer for his fifth goal of the playoffs. Up until that point, the New York Islanders had been 1-for-19 on the power play during their series with the Capitals.

Beauvillier made it 2-0 in the middle of the second period off a quick rush that began in the Islanders zone. Josh Bailey took the puck through the neutral zone and then sent it to Beauvillier for the backhand goal in front of the net.

“Just trying to go out there and play your best,” Beauvillier said. “Play your best and help your team win. That’s kind of my main focus these last couple of weeks and it’s been working. It’s going to be the same focus moving on.”

Nick Leddy iced the game with an empty-net goal at 17:47 of the third period and Bailey added a second empty-net goal at the 18:31 mark.