Derick Brassard worked the give-and-go with Brock Nelson, and Brassard put the puck in Philadelphia’s net for the go-ahead goal Sunday night at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum. They’re part of a second-line combo that has been giving plenty at both ends and going strong for the NHL’s hottest team.
The Islanders are streaking, moving to 8-3 after winning seven straight. This run has coincided with Anthony Beauvillier being placed on Nelson’s left wing. Then Brassard moved from third-line center to second-line right wing three games ago.
The head architect has enjoyed the view.
“Out of necessity of having [Jordan Eberle] out and a few people out, we put that line together, and I think you have three guys who have pretty good offensive instincts,” Barry Trotz said after practice Monday.
“But what I like about them right now is they’re probably as good defensively, if not better, in their own zone than I would’ve thought. They were concentrating on it, and they’re getting lots of offense out of it.”
Brassard has scored a goal in each of the last three games, although one came when he was on the ice with Mathew Barzal. Nelson has three assists. Beauvillier has no points. But the three are a combined plus-4 in wins over Arizona, Ottawa and the Flyers.
Beauvillier said they’re “moving the puck really well, winning our battles, just feeding off each other.”
“Three good players, a lot of speed, just smart on the ice,” said Beauvillier, who has two goals and four assists overall, including two assists during the winning streak. “One of those lines where it just works right away.”
Brassard said he feels “really good on the right wing right now.” The natural center didn’t have any goals in the first eight games.
“It always helps when you have good chemistry and the guys are feeling it,” Brassard said. “We’re missing a lot of guys right now, so I think everyone has to bring their ‘A’ game, and that’s what the team is doing right now.”
Nelson has been Mr. October. The three assists give him a tie for the team lead with six and a team-high 10 points.
“It’s a good mix,” Nelson said. “ . . . I just try to be solid in the middle for those guys and get them the puck . . . Beau’s hit the post a number of times the last few games, too. So we feel like we could’ve had probably a few more.”
Notes & quotes: Trotz isn’t satisfied despite the winning streak, saying, “We can get a lot better at our game.” . . . Trotz said Leo Komarov, who has been ill and out for four games, is “getting better.” But the coach had no timetable for the forward’s return . . . Eberle has missed six games with a lower-body injury. “I just have him day-to-day,” Trotz said. “What day? I have no idea what day.” . . . Former Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg announced his retirement. He’s joining the team’s player development staff.