ANAHEIM, Calif. — To a certain degree, Anthony Beauvillier is pretty curious which linemates he’ll be skating with when the Islanders reconvene for practice on Tuesday. Yet he knows any improvement to his sluggish start must come from the way he’s playing, not who he’s playing with.
“I’ve just got to get back to my identity and play the way I should be playing,” Beauvillier said on Sunday after the Islanders practiced at the Ducks’ facility at Anaheim Ice. “It doesn’t matter what line I’m on. I’ve just got to get back to basics.”
Beauvillier has gone without a point in his first four games and coach Barry Trotz finally separated him and No. 1 center Mathew Barzal as the Islanders opened a four-game road trip with a 5-2 loss at Nashville on Saturday night. The Islanders (2-2-0) face the Ducks on Wednesday night.
Beauvillier finished the game on Valtteri Filppula’s third line with Cal Clutterbuck. Trotz said Saturday he needed to rethink his lines but he did not show any line combinations on Sunday.
Trotz told Beauvillie prior to facing the Predators he was considering dropping him off the first line.
“He’s trying to force things, gripping the stick a little bit tight,” Trotz said.
“When he talked to me, it was just about to get me to loosen up a little bit and play to my identity,” said Beauvillier, who had 21 goals and 15 assists in 71 games last season. “In his opinion, I’m a top-six forward but he might change it to spark things up. Right now, my game is not on point.”
Beauvillier added he’s put a lot of pressure on himself and he just has to “go out there and have some fun, just find a way to get a good shift and get on track and feel good about myself.”
Trotz moved veteran Andrew Ladd, playing his first game after coming off injured reserve for an upper-body issue that kept him out of the whole preseason, to Barzal’s left wing.
But Trotz is also looking to get more out of Barzal, who has a goal and four assists.
“I thought when I moved Andrew Ladd up with Barzy’s line, they were a little more balanced and they had someone who was going to the net,” Trotz said. “Barzy is still trying to do too much by himself. We’ve got to work on the efficiency in his game. Go north. There’s too much east-west stuff.”
Notes & quotes: Trotz said he expects center Casey Cizikas (lower body), who missed Saturday’s game and worked out off ice on Sunday, to skate on Tuesday. He’s eligible to come off injured reserve for Wednesday’s game.