2. Anthony Beauvillier’s early exit, and the problem with the wings
Anthony Beauvillier exited the game around six minutes into the second period, and did not return. Going back to the concern of a lack of offense, an injury to a top-six winger is not going to help that situation one bit.
Beauvillier, who has struggled a bit through these first five games, got up-ended by Nathan Bastian as he attempted to collect a loose puck and execute a defensive zone exit. He would limp back to the bench and not return for the remainder of Sunday’s action.
In his post-game media scrum, Barry Trotz unsurprisingly didn’t offer any update on Beau’s condition.
The Beauvillier, Nelson, and Bailey line have struggled early in this season. The trio have created scoring chances at 5v5, but have failed to cash in yet. I feel that’s a trend that could reverse course, given that the line has generated looks at the net in games past.
There has however, been some desire from within the fanbase to maybe move Beauvillier off of Nelson’s wing and play him with Mathew Barzal on the top line.
Whether Beauvillier is injured for any meaningful period of time or not, and let’s hope for his sake and the Islanders’ that he isn’t, there may need to be some evaluation of the Islanders forward lines.
The top line has undershot their xGF totals in each of the last two seasons. That trend appears to be continuing into 2020-21. We saw a pretty on the nose example of that for the eye test people when Jordan Eberle failed to score on an open net only seconds after Beauvillier limped off.
This is a team that is shallow on talent at the wings. That’s not new either. This isn’t only a five-game sample size, it’s been a recurring problem since Trotz and Lou arrived on the island.
They aren’t so shallow on talent that when things are going well they can’t succeed, obviously. But right now we’re seeing some inconsistency from the top line, and a slow start from the second.
I don’t think things are as bad as they seem after this latest shutout. Getting blanked on the scoresheet is never fun, but I think this team finds a way to score just enough to push them over on most nights. That said, let’s all hope Beauvillier is okay, and that his game begins to come around soon.