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Eberle, Barzal Building Chemistry For Isles

Barzal has assisted on four of Eberle's five goals in past five games

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle have both been on top of their games over the Islanders last five contests. 

Barzal is currently riding a six-game point streak - including an Isles rookie record five-assist night against Colorado - while Eberle has six points (5G, 1A) in his last five games. 

Their recent hot streaks coincide with another event - being paired together on the Islanders second line.  

"He's just a super easy guy to play with," Barzal said of Eberle. "He's so smart and we have the same kind of jump into holes and he's always open, so he's just super easy to play with and has a lot of skill." 

Video: EDM@NYI: Eberle roofs great shot past Talbot

Barzal has set up four of Eberle's five goals this season, including each of the last four. They've all come in similar fashion, with the two speedy players rushing up the ice together, Barzal drawing attention and dishing to Eberle for the finish. 

"He's got a lot of speed and creates a lot of open ice," Eberle said. "You just have to get open for him."

They haven't just been tap-in goals for Eberle either, who wired home a wrist shot against his former team on Tuesday and dropped down to one knee for a one-timer under the crossbar against the Avalanche on Sunday. Finding open ice has been the key, though Barzal has made it easier by commanding attention with his speed. 

"We're gaining chemistry, he's an easy player to play with, he creates a lot of space for you and he's found me open quite a few times," Eberle said. "It's been a good start and we want to keep going with it."

Video: Mathew Barzal's Five-Assist Night

The chemistry between the two came together rather quickly after the pair first became linemates in Nashville. It's given the Islanders another potent line behind the John Tavares, Anders Lee and Josh Bailey trio. 

While it's no surprise to see Eberle - who has 170 career goals - putting the puck in the net, the last handful of games have seen a fast-track in Barzal's development. His 14 points (3G, 11A) are three off the rookie lead in the NHL. 

Barzal has looked like a different player than the one who started the season, gathering the confidence to go alone with his speed, vision and playmaking ability. Barzal's backhand pass to Eberle extended his point streak on Tuesday, but his highlight of the night was undressing defenseman Oscar Klefbom with an outside-in, through-the-legs deke. 

Tweet from @NHL: The old outside-inside-outside-inside-outside move. Holy moly @Barzal_97.

"I don't know if I wouldn't have have tried it, but maybe I wouldn't have had as much confidence going into the move," Barzal said. "Anytime you come into the NHL, unless your name is Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews, there's an adjustment period there. Those [first] five games I was just kind of getting my feet wet, but I think now I'm more comfortable and the coaching staff and the players from the top down have made me feel real comfortable and that contributes a lot."

That includes Eberle, who looks to be just as comfortable playing with Barzal. So for two guys looking to see where they fit in with a new team, the answer appears to be that they fit pretty well together. 

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