Once again, the New York Islanders took care of business on the second half of a back-to-back set.
Anthony Beauvillier and Devon Toews scored, as the Islanders beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 at Barclays Center, improving to a franchise best 9-0-0 in the second game of a back-to-back. Toews' power-play goal at 2:01 of the second period held up as the game winner, while Thomas Greiss made 26 saves for his fourth win in five games.
Sunday marked the Islanders (72 points) third straight victory and extended their lead atop the Metropolitan Division to five points over the Washington Capitals (67 points), seven points over the Columbus Blue Jackets (65 points) and nine over the Pittsburgh Penguins (63 points).
Video: MIN@NYI: Beauvillier goes five-hole with quick shot
BEAUVILLIER BREAKS THROUGH:
If Barry Trotz asks his players to have 'skin in the game,' then Anthony Beauvillier went full-epidermis on Sunday afternoon.
Beauvillier scored his first goal since Jan. 12, had a game-high seven shots against the Wild and finished as the game's first star in what was an inspired effort. The 21-year-old opened the scoring for the Islanders, beating Devan Dubnyk five-hole on a breakaway at 14:05 of the first period.
"I was moving my feet and was in the right spot at the right time. Obviously Val and Leo are great players, just predictable. It was one of those games where everything bounced right."
Beauvillier was a factor throughout, taking hits to clear the zone and drawing a penalty on a partial breakaway during an effective shift in the second period. Sunday's game was Beauvillier's third straight alongside Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov, the two veterans who helped spark his game earlier this season.
"Those two guys are sort of like Fix-It Felix," Trotz said of Filppula and Komarov. "If you need something to be fixed, sometimes you send them to that line and it gets fixed."
Video: MIN@NYI: Toews nets PPG on sizzling one-timer
TOEWS' POWER-PLAY GOAL HOLDS AS GAME-WINNER:
Mikael Granlund's power-play goal tied the score 1-1 38 seconds into the middle frame, but the Islanders responded with a man-advantage goal of their own.
Trotz decided to deploy his second unit for the early power play, after watching the group work to get multiple shots through traffic in the first period. The move paid off, as Ryan Pulock fed Toews for a one-timer that he slipped by Dubnyk for the eventual winner at 2:01 of the second period.
The goal was Toews' fourth of the campaign as well as his second game-winning goal of the season. The Islanders power play has now converted in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 15-17.
Video: MIN@NYI: Greiss, Islanders keep the puck out late
GREISS GETS ANOTHER WIN:
Thomas Greiss may play it cool for the Islanders, but the goalie's hot streak continued on Sunday.
Greiss made 26 saves on 27 shots, improving to 4-0-1 in his last five games, with the one loss coming via shootout after shutting out the Tampa Bay Lightning. He's stopped 154-of-157 shots in those five games, equaling to a 0.58 GAA and a .981 SV% over that span.
"When your goalie plays that well, every night you're going to have a chance to win," Filppula said of Greiss.
Greiss was especially good in a busy third period, stopping all 12 Wild shots, including four on a key penalty kill with Mathew Barzal off for roughing. Perhaps the biggest save of the game belonged to Anders Lee, who dropped down and took a Ryan Suter shot off the helmet to protect the 2-1 lead.
Lee's block was one of the Islanders 18 in the game, with eight coming in the third period, marking the type of skin-in-the-game commitment Trotz is looking for.
"You have to having winning commitment. If you're just sort of in the way, that puck just sort of goes in your net," Trotz said. "We were all in. The whole group has been all in, all year."
The Islanders head back out on the road for two games, starting on Tuesday night in Buffalo.