Bailey and Beauvilliers stepped up, scoring two goals reminiscent of previous playoff championships

In Monday night’s 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders forwards Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvilliers lit the lamp after a series of scoreless games. Bailey had gone six games without a score before tying the game with 2:58 to play in the third period, and Beauvilliers’ overtime win 1:56 into the extra frame snapped his 11-game scoreless streak.

The goals from Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvilliers are reminiscent of the goals each scored during the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Bailey has been described as a cerebral and intelligent hockey player whose skills fly under the radar. There’s no doubt that Bailey has struggled to adapt to the pace of the NHL game, but that doesn’t mean he still can’t contribute.

The only thing that helped the Islanders beat Toronto was Bailey’s positioning.

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With less than three minutes to play in the third period, Toronto goaltender Eric Kalgren attempted a puck to his defender Jordy Bean. Bailey was placed alongside the power boards, where his job was to stop a play being held at the plate by Bean and keep the puck trapped in the offensive zone.

However, a hard check by Jean-Gabriel Bagou sprinted Kalgren as he sent the puck towards the left circle. Bailey, who read that play and quickly jumped off the boards, made Calgren’s pass finish on his stick. Instead of letting the puck go immediately, Bailey realized he had some time and space, showing a bit of fake pump before cutting more into the slot.

He then fired a wrist shot, which crept under Kallgren’s glove and tied up the competition.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Bayley exploit a goalkeeper slip, as in the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs, we saw something similar in double overtime for Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Less than a minute into the second overtime, Penguins goalkeeper Tristan Jarry tried to clear the ball from the middle, but Bailey read the play and caught the pass. With some time and space, as seen against the Leafs, Bailey got into the hole and made a quick move before the puck broke off Jarry’s glove and slotted in the game-winning goal and a 3-2 lead in the series.

Too similar, eh?

One could say they were two awful turns by netminders, but credit needs to be given not only for Billy’s spot-on play but Billy’s ability not to be rushed. He saw time and space in both cases and used that to his advantage.

Now, on to Beauvillier’s overtime winner against the Leafs.

While Brock Nelson was ice skating with the puck, Beauvilliers would make a path through the neutral zone that if he kept going straight he would center the side of the glove. Halfway through no-man’s-land, however, Beauvilliers changed course to support Nelson, who had just skated over Toronto’s blue line.

What Beauvillier’s decision did was force Nelson into all the attention, providing Beauvillier with enough time and space to get a good shot that he covered over Kallgren’s glove.

You can tell how important this goal was to him and his confidence in Beauvillier’s sentiments, as his struggles have been clearly documented this season.

As we all remember, Beauvillier has a flair for the dramatic. Not only was that extra point the fifth of his NHL career in the regular season, but he’s also been sniped before in post-season overtime.

In Game Six of the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nassau Coliseum, overtime dagger Beauvillier sent the crowd into a frenzy when he forced a Game 7 in Tampa.

This goal was a little different, as Beauvilliers stole the ball from then-Lightning Blake Coleman, but the shot was already a snipe past Andrei Vasilevsky’s glove.

What was similar was the emotion on Beauvillier’s face.

Those two goals against Toronto were a huge confidence boost. New York Islanders head coach Len Lambert often teased his teammates for his likability, and the struggles of these two players played a part.

Now, though important, two crucial goals don’t erase their struggles over the first 19 matches. But what these targets could do, especially for a planned Beauvillier game, is allow these two players to build on their performance and be pivotal players for the New York Islanders as the season progresses.

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