Sometimes in hockey, a line can take over a series and propel a team to a win. Usually, it’s a team’s top unit but sometimes, as illustrated by both the Islanders and the Penguins in the past it doesn’t have to be the big guns.
For Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup run in 2016, it was the HBK line (Hagelin – Bonino – Kessel) that dominated in the playoffs as their third line. In this series between the Isles and the Penguins, it was the Islanders’ second line.
The line of Beauvillier – Nelson – Bailey were first, third, and fourth in scoring for the Isles in this series each of which were at a point per game or better.
Anthony Beauvillier – (3 goals, 4 assists) 7 points
Josh Bailey – (3 goals, 3 assists) 6 points
Brock Nelson – (3 goals, 3 assists) 6 points
When looking at what the line did and comparing it to the Penguins’ top line of Guentzel – Crosby – Rust it was a massive difference. The Isles line had 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists) to the Penguins 7 (4 goals, 3 assists).
Last night in particular it was a game for the ages by that second line. When the Islanders needed them most, they came alive. Nelson had three points (2 goals, 1 assist), Beau had three points (1 goal, 2 assists) and Bailey, after scoring the game-winner in Game 5, had two assists as well.
While the Islanders top line was quiet, combining for just seven points in the series, it was the Islanders depth that got them through this series. In the future, they’ll need them to get going to make it through Boston but for now, we just have to marvel at the Beau – Nelson – Bailey performance.
Just how good were they in Game 6? Well, according to HockeyStatCards.com they led the way in game score by a significant margin. Brock Nelson had a 4.5, Anthony Beauvillier had a 4.01, and Josh Bailey had a 3.71 with Jason Zucker as the next closest with a 3.2.
Hopefully, they continue their run like the HBK line did five years ago for the Pens. On to Boston!