In Monday night’s 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders forwards Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier lit the lamp after a handful of scoreless games. Bailey had gone six games without a goal before he tied the contest with 2:58 to play in the third period, and Beauvillier’s overtime winner 1:56 into the extra frame snapped his 11-game scoreless streak.
Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier‘s goals were reminiscent of goals they each scored during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Bailey has been described as a cerebral, intelligent hockey player whose skill sets fly under the radar. There’s no question that Bailey has struggled to adapt to the speed of the NHL game, but that does not mean he still can’t contribute.
And one thing that helped the Islanders in their win over Toronto was Bailey’s positioning.
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With under three minutes to play in the third period, Toronto netminder Erik Kallgren tried to play the puck to his defenseman Jordi Benn. Bailey was positioned alongside the strong-side boards, as his job was to stop the pending board play by Benn and keep the puck trapped in the offensive zone.
However, hard forechecking by Jean-Gabriel Pageau rushed Kallgren as he sent the puck towards the left circle. Bailey, who read that play and quickly hopped off the boards, had the Kallgren pass end up right on his stick. Rather than letting the puck go right away, Bailey realized he had some time and space, as he showed off a little pump-fake before cutting more to the slot.
Then he let the wrist shot go, which snuck under Kallgren’s glove and in to tie the contest.
That’s a dang-it 😏 Josh Bailey cashes in to tie it up late in the 3rd #Isles pic.twitter.com/6MkHN6A6az
— Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) November 22, 2022
It’s not the first time we have seen Bailey take advantage of a goaltender’s gaffe, as in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we saw something similar in double overtime of Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Less than a minute into the second overtime frame, Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry tried to clear the puck up the middle, but Bailey read the play and picked off the pass. With some time and space, like we saw against the Leafs, Bailey got into the slot and made a quick move before chipping the puck past Jarry’s glove and in for the game-winning goal and a 3-2 series lead.
Tristan Jarry gives Josh Bailey a gift for the OT winner pic.twitter.com/RieZ22mbpI
— Everything Hockey (@EHClothing) May 25, 2021
Pretty similar, eh?
One could say these were two horrendous turnovers by netminders, but there does need to be credit given to not only the positional play of Bailey but the ability for Bailey not to rush. He saw the time and space in both instances and used that to his advantage.
Now, onto Beauvillier’s overtime winner against the Leafs.
As Brock Nelson skated up the ice with the puck, Beauvillier was on a path through the neutral zone that, if he had continued going straight, would have put him at the glove-side post. But halfway through the neutral zone, Beauvillier changed his course to provide support for Nelson, who had just skated over Toronto’s blue line.
What Beauvillier’s decision did was force all the attention on Nelson, which provided Beauvillier enough time and space to get off a quality shot that he roofed over the glove of Kallgren.
Tito in OT!!! Anthony Beauvillier absolutely RIPS the GWG for the #Isles🚨 pic.twitter.com/anEKV3hdAR
— Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) November 22, 2022
You could tell by Beauvillier’s emotion just how important that goal was for him and his confidence, as his struggles have been clearly documented this season.
As we all remember, Beauvillier has a flair for the dramatics. Not only was this overtime tally the fifth of his NHL career in the regular season, but he’s also sniped before in postseason overtimes.
In Game Six of the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nassau Coliseum, Beauvillier’s overtime dagger sent the crowd into a frenzy as he forced a Game Seven in Tampa.
That goal was a bit different, as Beauvillier stole the puck from then-Lightning Blake Coleman, but the shot was indeed a snipe past the glove of Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Anthony Beauvillier is the OT hero & Nassau Coliseum goes CRAZY! 🚨
Game 7 goes Friday in Tampa. #NYIvsTBL #ItsOn pic.twitter.com/dQc8SI4zh6
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) June 24, 2021
What was similar was the emotion on Beauvilier’s face.
Both of these players’ goals against Toronto were major confidence boosters. New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert has shaken up his linemates too often for his liking, with these two players’ struggles playing a part in that.
Now, while important, two critical goals do not erase their struggles through their first 19 games. But what these goals can do, especially for the streaky Beauvillier, is allow both these players to build on their performances and be focal players for the New York Islanders as the season progresses.