Anthony Beauvillier certainly looked like he was having fun during the Islanders’ play-in series against the Panthers.
Though having fun apparently has been Beauvillier’s message to himself on the ice for the past several years. Cameras during Game 3 of the qualifying round got a good look at that message with a closeup shot of the tape job on the top of the left winger’s stick, which had “Have Fun” written on it.
“Sometimes you just have to remind yourself a little bit why you’re doing this,” Beauvillier said on a Zoom call following Friday’s series-clinching 5-1 win. “I’ve been writing that on my stick for six, seven years now. It’s almost a routine now to just write that on my stick. It’s just something I do every time.”
Beauvillier’s two-goal performance helped the Islanders knock the Panthers out of the bubble and clinch a spot in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. But the 23-year-old rose to the occasion the entire series, garnering a team-high five points (three goals, two assists) as he managed to record at least one point in each game.
On the left wing, alongside Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey, Beauvillier made the Islanders’ second line a deadly force. Panthers coach Joel Quenneville made it obvious he was watching that line, ensuring his top line of Jonathon Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Noel Acciari took the ice as much as it could against Beauvillier and Co.
It didn’t make much of a difference, as that line combined for five of the Islanders’ 13 goals, seven assists and 35 shots in the series.
“I just think right now that Beau is just enjoying playing good hockey, and he’s getting rewarded for it with production,” coach Barry Trotz said Friday. “He is skating on the puck, he’s working, he’s just focused on his job in that moment. I think that’s the maturity of a good young player in Beau.
“I think earlier, maybe a year or two back, if he wasn’t having any production, he worried too much about that rather than playing well.”
Beauvillier’s first goal of the series came in Game 1 on a five-hole shot on goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. His slap shot from the right circle in Game 2 deflected in off Jordan Eberle for an assist in the Game 2 victory.
In the Islanders’ Game 3 loss, Beauvillier kept in pursuit of the puck instead of making a change, and it led to a big assist on a goal from J-G Pageau to tie the game before Florida took over in the third period.
It was only appropriate that Beauvillier’s two Game 4 goals, just over three minutes apart, jump-started the Islanders on their way to a playoff berth. That’s just what he did throughout the entire series.