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Metropolitan Division notebook

Islanders rookie forwards Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier competing for time

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

The New York Islanders have been taking a wait-and-see approach so far in determining what to do with Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier.

The 19-year-old rookie forwards played well enough in the preseason to make the opening night roster. But, as Islanders coach Jack Capuano said, "the preseason is a different animal." The Islanders are using the start of the regular season to ease Barzal and Beauvillier into things and determine if they are NHL ready.

Beauvillier, who was selected with the No. 28 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, made his League debut in the season opener against the New York Rangers on Oct. 13 and got his first NHL point with an assist in a 5-3 loss. Then Beauvillier sat out when Barzal, the No. 16 pick in 2015, made his debut against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 15. Barzal had a forgettable start, taking penalties on his first two shifts and three total, but got some power-play time and played 10:10 total in a 2-1 loss.

It was Beauvillier's turn again in the home opener against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. He came close to scoring his first NHL goal when he hit the post in the first period but played a team-low 8:06 in New York's 3-2 overtime win.

Although Capuano hasn't said yet whether Barzal will get back in when the Islanders play the San Jose Sharks at Barclays Center on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, CSN-CA, NHL.TV), he made it clear that each player will get a look.

"We've got some good teams that we're playing, so, for our organization, we get them in and see what they can do," Capuano said.

Video: NYI@WSH: Barzal takes a pair of penalties

Beauvillier and Barzal each can play nine NHL games before it counts as a full season on his entry-level contract. They can't be sent to the American Hockey League because they are not yet 20 years old, so each has to stay with the Islanders or be returned to his junior team.

That makes this feel a little bit like a tryout to Beauvillier, but he doesn't seem to mind.

"It's normal to have that kind of tryout because you never know what can happen," he said. "I just try to go day by day, and we'll see what happens."

The Islanders began the season carrying six defensemen and three goaltenders because they didn't want to risk losing No. 3 goalie Jean-Francois Berube, 25, off waivers. If general manager Garth Snow moves one of his goaltenders, that might change things, but Capuano said, "We're not going to keep six defensemen here for the long haul."

With nine of their next 10 games at home, the Islanders don't necessarily have to carry an extra defenseman right now, but they might not wait for Barzal or Beauvillier to reach the nine-game mark before making a decision. It could turn out to be a choice between the two of them or, perhaps, both will go back to junior if neither shows he's ready.

"It's not so much a personal showcase for me," Barzal said. "I'm here to try to help this team win. I'm just trying to make an impact. Personal success comes with team success all the time. So I'm just trying to make an impact with the team."


More room service for Condon

Being claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 11 put goaltender Mike Condon in a familiar situation living in a hotel near the Penguins practice facility. Since turning pro in 2013 following his college career at Princeton, Condon, 26, has bounced around from hotel to hotel, playing in the ECHL with Ontario and Wheeling, in the AHL with Houston and Hamilton, and in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens and Penguins.

"I lived in three different hotels [in 2014-15]," Condon said. "I lived in the hotel when I was up and down between Wheeling and Hamilton. I'm just used to hotel life."

The Penguins claimed Condon from the Canadiens to be Marc-Andre Fleury's backup while Matt Murray is recovering from a broken hand. After falling to No. 3 on the Canadiens depth chart, Condon welcomed the opportunity.

He isn't married and doesn't have children, so moving a family wasn't a concern.

"I'm single as can be," Condon said. "I've been moving in and out of hotels for the past five years. No one's been able to stick with me. No one wants to stick around for the ride. I don't blame them either. It's a tough ride. It takes a toll."

Last season was an anomaly for Condon because he spent all of it with the Canadiens, who gave him the green light to get an apartment on Nov. 1.

"It was weird for me to have my own place, not sharing with roommates or anything like that," Condon said. "I'm not going to get too far ahead of myself, but one day, hopefully, I can get another one. A guy can dream, right?"


Stat pack

Philadelphia Flyers rookie forward Travis Konecny had three assists in his first two NHL games. … Columbus Blue Jackets rookie defenseman Zach Werenski had a goal and an assist in his first two NHL games. … The Capitals' 24.1 percent success rate on the power play over the past four seasons was the best in the League, and they're likely to be strong in that area again this season with few changes to their roster. But they're off to a slow start on the man-advantage so far, going 0-for-8 with nine shots on goal in their first two games. … Including their overtime win against the Ducks on Sunday, the Islanders are 13-0-2 against Western Conference teams at Barclays Center since moving to Brooklyn to begin last season.

Games to watch

Philadelphia Flyers at Chicago Blackhawks (Oct. 18, 8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-CH, CSN-PH, NHL.TV) -- The Flyers wrap up a season-opening three-game road trip by visiting United Center. They are off to a 1-0-1 start. The Blackhawks (1-2-0) got their first win of the season by defeating the Nashville Predators 5-3 on Saturday.

New York Rangers at Washington Capitals (Oct. 22, 7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CSN-DC, MSG, NHL.TV) -- After playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs five times in the previous seven seasons, the Rangers and Capitals did not play one another in the postseason last season. The Capitals won three of their five regular-season games (3-2-0) in 2015-16.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators (Oct. 22, 8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, ROOT, NHL.TV) -- The reigning Stanley Cup champion Penguins visit P.K. Subban and the Predators, who are expected to be one of the top Cup contenders from the Western Conference.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers (Oct. 29, 7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CSN-PH, ROOT, NHL.TV) -- The first of four games this season between the Pennsylvania rivals. They'll face each other next at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh as part of the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series on Feb. 25.

Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Islanders (Oct. 30, 6 p.m. ET; SN1, MSG+, NHL.TV) -- The Islanders get their first look at 2016 No. 1 draft pick Auston Matthews and 2015 No. 4 pick Mitchell Marner.

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