As the Stanley Cup Playoffs rage on, across the world over in Demark, the 2018 IIHF World Championships are in full swing. And with the preliminaries now complete, and the knockout stage beginning tomorrow, the games are only going to get more exciting. For six members of the New York Islanders, the Worlds have become the second stage to continue playing after a disappointing season resulting in no playoffs.
Our Rob Taub updates all that’s been going on from an Islanders perspective.
It’s already been a dynamite tournament for rookie phenom Mathew Barzal.
Barzal, who expressed his excitement of getting to suit up next to his fellow countrymen Connor McDavid at the Isles breakup day, has been one of the best all-around players for the Canadians. The British Columbia native played in all seven of the prelims and registered seven assists, some of them in highlight reel fashion.
Throughout nearly all of the seven contests, Canada’s bench boss, Bill Peters, has assigned Barzal with teammates Anthony Beauvillier and Jordan Eberle. That line showed no signs of slowing down since the end of the regular season, with their wicked chemistry has on full display. And despite Eberle shifted to another line, Barzal and Beauvillier have continued to create magic in the offensive zone.
“This line again dominating possession,” said TSN analyst Ray Ferraro on more than one occasion when referring to when the Barzal-Beauvillier duo gets going in the offensive zone.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) May 7, 2018
Speaking of Anthony Beauvillier, he has also shined in the tournament heading into the quarterfinals.
After his excellent second-half run to end the season — 21 goals, 15 assists — Beauvillier has three points in seven games. There have been a few quiet games from the 20-year old, but he’s been a force in the offensive zone with said teammate, Mat Barzal.
What’s also been noticeable about Beauvillier in the Worlds, is the speed he is playing at with and without the puck, and his willingness to battle in front of the net.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) May 14, 2018
The third member of the EBS n Flow Line, Jordan Eberle, has did his part through the first part of Canada’s run toward a possible gold medal. Through seven games, Eberle has totaled three points (two goals and one assist).
Eberle played just about half of the seven games with Barzal and Beauviller, firing on all cylinders. He has also played with former Oiler teammates Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on Canada’s top power play, proving that he hasn’t lost the chemistry he had during his tenure in Edmonton. Speaking of the power play, Peters has turned to Eberle as one of his weapons on the man-advantage, deploying him as much as possible.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) May 7, 2018
Josh Bailey and Ryan Pulock have also nicely contributed respectively in the games so far.
Bailey has recorded four points, including three assists playing on a line with Ryan O’Reilly and Jayden Schwartz. His underrated skill set has also come into the spotlight with some nifty passing Isles fans are now used to seeing.
Pulock, in that cramed Canadian blue line, has only one point to show for through seven games. But it’s been a strong tournament for him nonetheless.
— Shayne Pasquino (@shaynepasquino) May 7, 2018
Shifting from Canada to the United States, the only Islander over in Denmark, Anders Lee, helped the Americans to one of the top spots in their respective groups.
Playing on a line with Johnny Gaudreau and Dylan Larkin, Lee notched three goals in seven games for the U.S in prelims. He’s been persistent as a net-front presence and hasn’t been afraid to show off his underrated shot.
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) May 11, 2018
If you want watch the Islanders compete at The Worlds, the quarterfinals begin tomorrow with Lee and USA taking on the Czech Republic. Barzal, Beauvillier, Bailey, Eberle, Pulock, and the rest of Team Canada will play host to Russia.
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