The Islanders haven’t played well for what seems like two weeks now. They might have a winning record over that span but they haven’t looked convincing while doing it. That wasn’t the case tonight. They were engaged, physical, and as Barry Trotz would say, hungry.
With six goals a goal-starved team finally got their offense going. And even the power play got in on the fun with Anthony Beauvillier (more on him in a second) putting one in on the man advantage.
There are only ten games left on the schedule. The Isles needed this one to break a bad trend and get back on the horse. They did that with a number of important games on the schedule.
Here are a few winners and three “losers”. I’m using losers VERY closely here. I’m just keeping up with the schtick, so please don’t get mad.
New York Islanders Pageau line dominates
Anthony Beauvillier (1G, 3A, 1SOG): What a game by Anthony Beauvillier. Number 81 is a streaky player so there’s no better time to get back to productive ways.
Beau was everywhere tonight on the forecheck and backcheck. Barry Trotz must have been very happy to see Beau working hard and getting rewarded for it.
Josh Bailey (2G, 1A, 3SOG): What a game from Josh Bailey after missing a few due to injury. This was his first multi-goal game since March 23rd, 2019 when he put up two goals against the Flyers.
Bailey isn’t usually a goal scorer but tonight he bucked the trend with three shots and two nice goals tonight. With three points, Bailey is scoring at a 52 rate this year. Say what you will but that’s what we should be expecting from Bailey.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (1G, 1A 71% FOW): Jean-Gabriel Pageau continues to prove he was worth every penny that the Isles sent to the Ottawa Senators at the 2020 trade deadline. He’s the perfect two-way “I can do it all” player. With two points tonight, he’s on pace for 49 points over 82 games. That would shatter his previous career-high of 43 points in 2015-16.
Michael Dal Colle (1 crossbar): Again, I’m using ‘losers’ loosely here. Michael Dal Colle played a great game tonight for the Islanders. He should have left the game with a goal after a good effort rings off the crossbar.
Mathew Barzal (0 Points): The Islanders score six goals and Mathew Barzal isn’t on the score sheet? Wild.!
Honestly, though, that’s probably a good thing. Barzal probably needs to know that his team can score and create offense without him doing it all. A night like this is probably liberating for Barzal.
See, I turned that into a win.
Kyle Palmieri (1A, 44.27 xGF): For some reason game score data wasn’t available for this one, so I took the player with one of the lowest xGF on the team and that was Kyle Palmieri.
Matt Martin was the only one lower, but his hit on Trouba set the tone early and that mattered a lot to the flow of the game. Sorry, Kyle.