The Isles collected a big two points in Tuesday's 4-3 OT win over the Dallas Stars, but more importantly they played Islander hockey. Down by a goal on two separate occasions, the Isles remained calm, showed resilience, rolled four lines and came through with a clutch power-play goal in the third period to send the game into overtime.
Anthony Beauvillier sealed the win at 2:52 of overtime as he scored his second goal of the game while Derick Brassard and Mathew Barzal also scored. Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves as he made his first start since Jan. 18.
Video: Beauvillier nets OT winner in Islanders' 4-3 victory
"What I like about the last little while is that we talk about playing to our identity and trusting the process and I like the fact that we've done that," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "We haven't deviated from it and we're getting rewarded for it. We're getting late goals, we're getting that timely power-play goal at the end, a big penalty kill...I like the fact that the bench is great. They believe the game isn't over until the final buzzer goes."
The Isles had a challenge ahead of them as they faced their near-mirror opponent in Dallas, who entered the game with an identical amount of points and style of game based on their details and stingy defense.
"It was a tough game," Beauvillier said. "There wasn't a lot of space out there. We worked for our goals. They did the same thing. It was a tough game and a big win for us."
The Isles dominated the first period despite the 1-1 score heading into the first intermission. Beauvillier opened up scoring for the Isles 1:30 into the game as he scored his 14th goal of the season and extended his point streak to three games. Beauvillier put Jordan Eberle's pass on his stick and slipped a nifty backhanded shot past Stars netminder Ben Bishop. Ryan Pulock also assisted on the play and along with Eberle and Beauvillier extended his point streak to three games.
Video: DAL@NYI: Beauvillier buries backhand to open scoring
The Stars evened the score 1-1 on their sole power play of the period as Casey Cizikas went to the box for interference at 13:19. As the first period came to a close, the Isles had outshot Dallas 18-7, but Dallas' extra-man unit converted off of a slick passing sequence. From the left faceoff circle, Hintz played Perry on the doorstep. Varlamov slid across the crease to cover his near post which left the backdoor wide open for Denis Gurianov to bury Perry's sneaky feed.
Things evened up in the second period as Dallas returned with a little more jump in their step. Just over midway through the second period, Dallas took its first lead of the night, as an Isles turnover inside the neutral zone created a three-on-one rush for the Stars in which Jason Dickinson ripped a wrister from the slot to beat Varlamov stick side.
The lead was short-lived as the Isles took just 1:26 to even the score 2-2. The Isles applied a relentless forecheck to force a turnover that was sparked by Kieffer Bellows - who was making his NHL debut - along the left wall. The rookie quickly chipped the puck to Michael Dal Colle, who fed Brassard who ultimately scored on a sharp angle down low.
Video: DAL@NYI: Brassard takes shot that sneaks by Bishop
A little over five-minutes into the third period, the Stars regained the lead as they 3-2, as John Klinberg fired a long-range shot past Varlamov. Down against one of the NHL's stingiest teams, the Isles displayed composure and were rewarded for their patience.
The Isles needed a big response and they had seemed to come through on their fifth power play of the night as Brock Nelson beat Bishop with a wrist shot from the slot. Dallas immediately challenged for goaltender interference as Anders Lee was shielding Bishop. Upon review, the officials overturned the goal.
Instead of deflating or losing focus, the Isles fought on and were rewarded on the same power play to tie the score 3-3. Devon Toews fired a wrister from distance that sailed into the boards, but Barzal collected the rebound and roofed a highlight-reel shot from between his legs and past Bishop.
Three minutes into overtime, Nelson pressured Joe Pavelski in the neutral zone to force a turnover. Beauvillier sprung off a line change and Nelson played him for the breakaway. Beauvillier drew Bishop in as he slowed his pace and then launched his shot bar down to seal the victory.
"It was a great play by Brock there to create a loose puck," Beauvillier said. "Obviously, on the breakaway just saw the hole there."
Video: DAL@NYI: Beauvillier roofs game-winner in overtime
POWER PLAY COMES THROUGH CLUTCH:
The Isles power play started 0-for-4 on Tuesday night, but came through when the Isles needed it most. The unit has struggled with finding consistency this season - a byproduct of having the fewest power-play opportunities in the NHL -- but both units were creating chances and finding a rhythm. The Isles peppered the Stars' penalty kill, taking 13 shots with the man advantage.
"In the first period we had a couple of power plays," Trotz said. "We didn't have a goal, but we had some pretty good chances. To me, we were shooting the puck. We weren't trying to get too fancy. We were getting it. If they were collapsing, we were going up top and pounding it. If we were collapsing, we were going down low and getting rebounds and putting it into the hard areas and guys stayed in the hard areas."
After Nelson's power-play goal was overturned, the unit returned to the ice and looked to capitalize on the remaining time.
"You can't really do anything [about the overturned goal]," Barzal said. "We've got a pretty exciting group. When stuff like that goes on, we find a way to turn it around quick. After goals and stuff, we seem to bounce back and have our legs. We knew we had a power play so just [tried to] take our time and bury one.
BELLOWS MAKES NHL DEBUT:
Kieffer Bellows made his NHL debut against the Stars. The Isles' 2016 first rounder (19th overall) logged 9:10 and skated alongside Brassard and Dal Colle on the third line. Bellows earned the nod as he leads the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in goals (16) and points (24) this season.
"I liked his game," Trotz said. "Kieffer had some pace. He was moving his feet. He's got really good awareness away from the puck...For his first game, I'd be very happy if I was him. He didn't look out of place. He looked like he belonged."
Unbeknownst to the 21-year-old winger until the post-game media scrum in the locker room, he recorded his first NHL-point with the secondary assist on Brassard's second period tally. The assist was initially not counted at the time of Brassard's goal.
Video: NYI 4 vs DAL 3 (OT): Kieffer Bellows
"No, I'm just going out there moving my feet and trying to work hard and try to do the little details right," Bellows said when asked if he envisioned recording his first NHL point in his debut. "I can't thank the coaching staff enough. They really supported me the whole game and really uplifted me a lot."
Bellows made his NHL debut against the very team that his father, former NHLer Brian Bellows spent 10 years playing for from 1982-92 (the Minnesota North Stars) before the franchise moved to Dallas. Both his father Brian and mother Tracy were in attendance.
"It was a bit of a blur when I first stepped on the ice," Bellows said. "I shot some pucks around and then I got the chance to look around and really soak it in. It was really special."
The Islanders take on the LA Kings on Thursday night at Barclays Center. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.