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Islanders’ Second Line Leading the Way

The New York Islanders 16-game point streak is the definition of historic.

There are so many factors that have attributed to the “surprising success” of the Islanders, which we all know starts with head coach Barry Trotz and the structure he has put in place. It has transformed players such as Adam Pelech into one of the leagues best stay-at-home defenders, evolved Mathew Barzal into an elite two-way forward, and with the help of Piero Greco and Mitch Korn, has Thomas Greiss as one of the leagues top goaltenders. However, in the 2018-2019 season, despite the teams’ success of 103 points and a sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs, the team lacked a certain scoring touch that they are seeing in the 2019-2020 season.

Thus far, even Islanders fans are surprised at how often the team lights the lamp. So, where is this extra offense coming from? Well, it’s been the scorching hot second line.

Anthony Beauvillier

This past offseason, Lou Lamoriello signed Beauvillier to a 2 year, $2.1 million contract, which was a statement by Lou saying “prove it, kid.”

Beauvillier has been known to be a streaky player, but this season up until this point has been his best yet. Not only is the 22-year-old contributing defensively but he’s finding himself on the score sheet more often than not recently.

Over the team’s streak, Beavillier has amassed 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists). What’s most impressive, is nine of those 12 points have come at even strength (four goals, five assists). The scoring touch from Beauvillier has come mostly in the past five games, scoring six goals and notching two helpers.

If Beauvillier can keep consistent throughout the remainder of the 62 games, he is projected to shatter his previous career-high of 36 back in 2017-2018.  Keeping at this pace, Beauvillier is expected to total 68 points, that according to hockeyreference.com.  What better way to answer back on a “prove it” contract then setting career highs in points, goals and assists?

Derick Brassard

Brassard signed with the Islanders as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason looking for stability. Following moves from Pittsburgh to Florida and then Colorado all within the 2018-2019 season, he began the year on the Islanders third line at the center position where he struggled.

Trotz shifting Brassard to wing next to Brock Nelson is exactly what he needed to jumpstart him.

Brassard has collected 15 points in 16 games, finding the back of the net six times while adding nine assists. Much like Beauvillier, of the 16 points Brassard has accrued, 11 of them have come at even strength — five goals, six assists. If he can continue his strong play, the Quebec native could have his best pro season number-wise.

During the 2014-2015 season with the cross-town rival Rangers, Brassard set a career-best in points with 60. Right now, he is on track to net 25 goals and 42 helpers, which would surpass that 14-15 mark by an impressive seven points.

There is potential for Brassard to have his name in the conversation for the Bill Masterson Trophy by seasons end. He’s definitely made the case for it here in the early going.

Brock Nelson

Since the departure of “he who shall not be named”, Nelson has stepped into the position the organization hoped he would be in when they drafted him 30th overall in 2010

Anthony Beauvillier has dubbed Nelson ‘Mr. Overtime'” after last night’s 4-3 overtime win against the Penguins. And for good reason. Nelson scored the game-winning goal — his second tally of the night — and won the game in the extra session for the second straight game.

Nelson has earned many nicknames such as “Brocktober”, “Brovember” or whatever it may be due to the consistency he has developed since Trotz has taken his place behind the Isles bench.

For the first four games of November, Nelson was held off the score sheet. But he has made up for that slow start to the month in the past five games with three multi-point efforts resulting in four goals and five assists. Nelson has contributed six goals and ten assists, keeping a point-per-game pace during this historic point streak. And of the 16 points, 14 of them have come at even strength. And yes, you guessed it, Nelson is also projected to reach a new career-high in goals with 34, assists with 46, which would round out to 80 points; 27 more than his previous career-high of 53 set last season.

The second line is driving the bus for the Islanders while the first line is not seeing the same results on the scoresheet. They’re one of the best in the league right now and are clicking on another level at the moment.

The Islanders don’t look much into advanced stats and neither will we. Trotz has turned the Islanders’ second line into a force to be reckoned with. Keeping that consistency while the team’s other top forwards eventually figure it out, the Isles could certainly see their already high goals-per-game rate (5.70 per game), grow even higher and their point streak extended even further.

About James Nichols

James is Co-Editor-in-Chief/writer at Islesblog and podcast host of Nassaumen Hockey Podcast. A trusted source for Islanders content for many years, James is passionate about keeping Islander fans up to date on the latest in Islanders news. Other content contributions also include senior Islanders writer on TheHockeyWriters.com. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow James on Twitter @JamesNicholsNYI

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