Despite multiple lead changes in the first half of game six, the New York Islanders punched their ticket to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Islanders offense had a few moments in this series where the offense scored a plethora of goals, but the one consistent line wasn’t centered by Mathew Barzal. It was the second line that consists of Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, and Anthony Beauvillier that carried the offense.
“This is a special group we have. Lots of character, lots of leadership,” Beauvillier in a postgame interview on MSG Networks. “We just stuck with it and the fans gave us a boost… They’re a huge part of our success
The trio had the game-winner a few nights ago during Game five off the stick of Bailey and picked up right where they left off in game six with three more goals. The first came from Beauvillier, which tied the game at one on the Islanders’ first shot of the game.
Nelson scored the team’s third goal off of a beautiful shot-pass from Bailey, which tied the game up for the third time. He also added their fifth goal on a wrist shot that squeaked through Tristan Jarry.
Getting scoring from your top-six forwards is crucial, especially in the playoffs, but outside of a couple of goals from Jordan Eberle, the second line has been the majority of the primary scoring that the Islanders received in their first-round matchup. This has been a trend for the Isles since Anders Lee went down, but now the argument can be made that this second line is really the top line.
“Whenever you can kind of get that momentum and ride it, that’s huge,” Nelson said after the game on MSG Networks. “There’s going to be ups and downs, but you can get the crowd up and going, get the adrenaline flowing… that’s huge.”
The second line has been a threat all season, but in this series, they truly emerged as the team’s biggest threat. Beauvillier was over a point per game player in the series with three goals and four assists following his three-point effort in game six and Nelson was a point per game with three goals and three assists. Bailey chipped in five points on three goals and two assists. The trio combined for nine goals in the series, by far the most of any line combination on the team.
Heading into the next round, the Islanders will play the Boston Bruins. The Beauvillier, Nelson, and Bailey line will have to continue producing for the Isles if they are to keep up their postseason run, especially if Barzal’s line doesn’t get things going.
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