Brooklyn Boro

Beauvillier bails out Isles in overtime

Game-winning tally keeps New York in coveted playoff spot

February 6, 2020 By John Torenli, Sports Editor
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Having lost six of their previous eight games, the struggling New York Islanders were in danger of slipping out of the second and final Eastern Conference wild-card spot Tuesday night in Downtown Brooklyn.

Instead, they moved up a spot in the tightly packed postseason race.

Anthony Beauvillier capped a two-goal performance with the overtime winner at 2:52 of the extra session, lifting the Isles to a much-needed 4-3 victory over the visiting Dallas Stars in front of 10,128 fans at Barclays Center.

“This was a huge two points for us tonight,” Beauvillier said after his 15th goal of the year moved New York one point in front of Philadelphia for the top wild card in the East with two games in hand.

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“Lot of character for us tonight,” added Beauvillier, who also opened the scoring at 1:30 of the first period.

Beauvillier’s heroics would not have been possible without Mathew Barzal, who knotted the contest at 3-3 with a power play goal at 16:01 of the third stanza, allowing the Isles (30-15-6) to continue their recent dominance in Brooklyn, where they are 10-0-3 in their last 13 regular season games.

New York appeared to tie the game earlier on the man advantage as Brock Nelson slipped one past Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop, but replays indicated that team captain Anders Lee was screening Bishop and the goal was waived off.

The Isles didn’t get deflated, however, instead responding right away on the same power play as Barzal collected a rebound and deftly redirected the puck from between his legs past Bishop.

“You can’t really do anything [about the overturned goal],” Barzal said. “We’ve got a pretty exciting group. When stuff like that goes on, we find a way to turn it around quick.”

“That’s a good character test,” added Isles Head Coach Barry Trotz. “When you get one called back and you’re fighting for every point right now, and you have to go get another one, and we did.”

Derick Brassard also scored for the Isles and Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves as New York posted its first win in two games since returning from the annual NHL All Star break and league-mandated bye week.

“What I like about the last little while is that we talk about playing to our identity and trusting the process and I like the fact that we’ve done that,” Trotz said.

“We haven’t deviated from it and we’re getting rewarded for it. We’re getting late goals, we’re getting that timely power-play goal at the end, a big penalty kill…I like the fact that the bench is great. They believe the game isn’t over until the final buzzer goes.”

Nearly three minutes into OT, Beauvillier accepted a breakaway feed from Nelson and beat Bishop to send the Brooklyn faithful home happy.

“It was a great play by Brock there to create a loose puck,” Beauvillier said. “Obviously, on the breakaway just saw the hole there.

“It was a tough game. There wasn’t a lot of space out there. We worked for our goals. They did the same thing. It was a tough game and a big win for us.”

It was an even bigger night for Isles rookie Kieffer Bellows, who made his NHL debut and picked up his first career point with a secondary assist on Brassard’s second-period goal.

The son of long-time Stars winger Brian Bellows, Kieffer was the Isles’ first-round pick in 2016 and got the call to the big league club after compiling a team-high 16 goals and 24 points at AHL Bridgeport this year.

Rookie Kieffer Bellows made his NHL debut for the Islanders Tuesday night in Downtown Brooklyn, picking up an assist in New York’s 4-3 overtime triumph over Dallas. Photo: Frank Franklin II/AP

“I liked his game,” Trotz said of the 21-year-old forward. “Kieffer had some pace. He was moving his feet. He’s got really good awareness away from the puck…For his first game, I’d be very happy if I was him. He didn’t look out of place. He looked like he belonged.”

“It was a bit of a blur when I first stepped on the ice,” added Bellows, whose parents made the trip to Brooklyn for his debut. “I shot some pucks around and then I got the chance to look around and really soak it in. It was really special.”

The Isles will be looking to win back-to-back games for the first time in a month when they host the Los Angeles Kings here on Thursday night.

Isle Have Another: After hosting the Kings on Thursday, the Isles will head out on a two-game road trip, visiting Tampa Bay on Saturday night and Washington on Monday. They will host the Flyers here in Brooklyn next Tuesday in yet another important game for playoff positioning. … Since completing their franchise-record 17-game points streak (15-0-2) earlier this season, the Isles have gone 14-12-5. … Beauvillier’s two-goal game was his first since he did it in back-to-back games from Nov. 13-16 against Toronto and Philadelphia, respectively.

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