The New York Islanders came back from down 2-0 to force overtime, and then in sudden death it was Anthony Beauvillier who played the role of hero.
The New York Islanders trailed throughout the majority of Game Six before Scott Mayfield’s snipe beat Andrei Vasilevskiy with just under nine minutes remaining in regulation. Then just over a minute into overtime Anthony Beauvillier intercepted an ill-advised pass by Blake Coleman and sniped the puck over Vasilevskiy’s glove to give the Islanders an emotional comeback win.
Here are three takeaways from the Islanders biggest win of the season yet.
1. Dissecting the Beauvillier OT Winner
The Brock Nelson line had a very strong game for the Islanders. As a 5v5 unit, they led their team in 5v5 unblocked shot attempts (11), shots for (9), and rebound attempts for (2), while facing the Lightning’s Brayden Point line for the majority of their 5v5 minutes, according to Natural Stat Trick.
But while there is praise to be showered on that Islanders unit as a whole, it’s Anthony Beauvillier who stole the night by becoming Game Six’s overtime hero.
Let’s take a look at the moments leading up to Beau’s goal from the beginning of overtime.
The first thing I noticed watching the OT period back is that the Islanders dump-ins were incredibly well-placed. The team had made a point all night of strategically placing their dump-ins in areas that would make it difficult for Andrei Vasilevskiy to intercept them.
That continued in the OT, and it led to several instances where Tampa’s defenders were well-pressured in attempting D zone exits. First, Brayden Point found himself hassled by Travis Zajac, J-G Pageau, and Kyle Palmieri all at once. He managed to aid in his team’s clearance, though Tampa could only force the puck out to the neutral zone, where Adam Pelech sent it straight back in deep.
Again, the Pelech dump-in was strategically played outside of the trapezoid to prevent Vasilevskiy from activating in the play. With a good read on the play, Travis Zajac beats out any Tampa defenders to the loose puck and the Isles begin cycling.
After an errant Noah Dobson shot, Ryan McDonagh finds the loose puck in the corner to his goalie’s left. He was pressed by Josh Bailey, forcing him to dish the puck to a Tampa forward waiting at the half-wall. Pressured by Beauvillier on the half-wall, Tampa again skies the puck toward the neutral zone, where Anthony Cirelli dumped it deep into the Islander zone.
Nick Leddy begins the play that would end the game. He carries out from behind his own net, thinks about a pass to Adam Pelech waiting at the New York blue line, but decides on just carrying it himself across the red line and again dumping, this time to Vasilevskiy’s left.
The puck rims around the boards to the Tampa goalie’s right, where Jan Rutta and Victor Hedman cycle it around the boards back to the left side expecting a forward to be there to again execute a clearance to the neutral zone.
Only this time Josh Bailey beat Blake Coleman to that spot on the half-wall. Coleman still regained the puck, but instead of simply skying it to the neutral zone again, he decided to make a pass to a breaking Rutta in an attempt to exit with control. If you go back and watch the play, Coleman is staring down at the wobbling puck as he makes the pass.
Beauvillier, now playing as the high forward since Bailey shifted low to intercept Hedman’s feed around the boards, intercepts the attempted breakout pass, drags the puck back to his forehand to keep it away from Hedman, and deposits it in the place Butch Goring likes to call the toy department.
And just like that, Beau was the hero.