Mathew Barzal had to be feeling pretty bummed as regulation ended, but he’s got a friend in draft classmate Anthony Beauvillier.
A game the Islanders should have won in regulation took a late turn when Barzal took a poor roughing penalty with a high hit on Rasmus Dahlin late in the third period with the Islanders holding a 2-1 lead.
Jack Eichel, who’d already extended his points streak to 16 with an earlier assist, made Barzal and the Islanders pay by converting a backhand rebound on the ensuing power play with 1:46 left in regulation and the Sabres deploying six attackers.
But Beauvillier had the last laugh — though that, too, could have ended differently.
Forechecking at 3-on-3 in OT, Beauvillier tried to play the body on Eichel in the Sabres zone. Eichel bent over and stuck the ol’ rump out to make Beauvillier topple over him, and the Sabres captain then led a 3-on-2 rush the other way.
But Brock Nelson and Devon Toews handled that one, with Nelson breaking up the play, which gave the trailing Beauvillier a chance to retrieve in his own zone and head to the Sabres zone uncontested.
Nelson helped pave the way by skating just in just enough of Sam Reinhart’s way to make sure Beauvillier went in alone on Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark. (Nelson’s work toed the line while avoiding interference, something that could’ve been called on Rasmus Ristolainen on the previous rush as he took Toews out of the play.)
Beauvillier then finished the job with an absolutely perfect shot off the top left corner and in. Just look at the concentration:
Or, if you prefer the “like you were there” feel:
More on Barzal’s gaffe below from Barry Trotz. Asked by Andrew Gross if he considered sitting Barzal for overtime or at least reducing his shifts, Trotz said “absolutely,” but Casey Cizikas had just come off a long penalty kill shift and other factors made him want to give Barzal a chance to make amends.
“Absolutely if it happens again he’ll have a long sit.”
Trotz on the Game and Barzal’s Penalty
“First period was good for us, they didn’t have much. ... Second period, for all the zone time we just weren’t executing — failed clears, failed passes, but they didn’t get a lot of chances.
“I thought our third period was great. They didn’t get much, we were staying above people, doing the right things, got the lead. Then we took an unnecessary penalty. That’s unacceptable. We pride ourselves on being team first, and that wasn’t team first. That was personal.”
- Michael Dal Colle broke a long drought when he opened scoring in the first period with his second goal of the season, assisted by Beauvillier. But Dal Colle left the game later with an injury after a slot collision with
- The Islanders have now won six straight at home, part of a 13-0-1 run inclusive of both Nassau Coliseum and Barclays Center.
- Nick Leddy skated warmups but Noah Dobson got the call again, including a shift in overtime. Dobson skated 16:08 overall, the third-highest amount of ice time he’s gotten in his first 10 NHL games.
- Jordan Eberle scored what would have been the winner early in the third period, his third goal of the season. Asked if that was a sign Eberle is getting back into form, Trotz said the forward has already been in form for a while, whether or not the goals are coming.
- Barzal and Dahlin had their battles through much of the game, hence Barzal trying to lay a bigger hit on the Sabres defenseman in the corner but hitting him sloppily and high instead.
- The Islanders were outshot each period but largely reduced the high-quality chances, per Trotzian style. Semyon Varlamov was solid again in stopping 33 shots.
- Up Next: It’s one more two-day gap between games, as the Islanders are off tomorrow and play next at home on Tuesday when the Predators visit. That starts another run of games every other day until the Christmas break.