As the season winds down, the Islanders are in search of finding their complete game with the playoffs nearing. That means getting more out of their offense. They might have found one of their solutions after last night.
Returning back into the lineup, Josh Bailey was placed on a newly-minted line with the “French Connection” — Anthony Beauvillier and J.G. Pageau — and did not waste any time establishing himself once again. Scoring not only the first goal of the game, Bailey gained another tally in the third and added an assist as well in the Isles’ blowout win over the Rangers.
“Tonight I thought that we had a really solid game just to have Josh back in the lineup, it’s been to not only have him on the ice, but to have him in the locker room, just the influence that he has on everyone, the leadership that he brings, it’s big.” said J.G. Pageau. “To play with him, felt very lucky tonight and was everywhere tonight on the ice, he was moving his feet and winning all of his battles, so it was a fun game for sure.”
Having a hand in four out of the six goals tonight, the Beauvillier-Pageau-Bailey line was a force against the Rangers last night. The reason behind why this line is so effective has to do with the association between Pageau and Beauvillier and the fact that they found chemistry when Pageau arrived from Ottawa last season at the trade deadline. Because of this, they know how each other tendencies and therefore can create dangerous plays on the ice with ease. When you factor in Bailey, who is a smart player and has a deep understanding of the game, it appears as if the Islanders have designed a line that has both strategic and dynamic game play. This will be key for them come the playoffs since they have the power to throw other teams off their game a with the unique combination of speed and skill.
“All three of those guys were good,” head coach Barry Trotz noted in the postgame. “Everyone knows [Bailey] is a very cerebral smart player. They just fit, but they were working. When [Bailey] has that good balance between the cerebral part of the game and the blue collar type of game that you can mix in, he gets a lot done. With [Pager and Beauvillier], they’ve got some speed, they’ve got some tenacity and some intelligence.
It comes with no question that this line will produce ample opportunities for the Islanders moving forward. This is just one game back for the trio and they already managed to record nine points out of it, including a four-point performance from Beauvillier. That says a lot.
Given a few more games, this unit is just going to gel more, which means more opportunities offensively, and hopefully more success for the Islanders as a whole.
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