If it looks as if Anthony Beauvillier has had a revelation, that’s because he kind of has.
After his first 16 games, the Islanders winger had a single point and the fear of failure banging around his brain. “I wanted to be an impact player,” he said Monday after practice at Northwell Health Ice Center. “I was putting way too much pressure on myself.”
Beauvillier already had seen his ice time go down. Being scratched was a possibility; a holiday with the Sound Tigers wasn’t completely out of the question. But instead of spiraling, he reassessed, and coach Barry Trotz — who identified the problem for what it was — kept in his ear, telling him to go back to fundamentals and to remember how to have fun again.
Of course, the last two chapters of this story read a whole lot better than the first 16. Beauvillier seems to have broken out of his rut, notching three goals and an assist against the Rangers on Nov. 15 and scoring another goal in the Islanders’ loss to the Stars on Sunday. After that game — a 6-2 drubbing — Trotz identified Beauvillier’s third line as one of the few highlights.
Beauvillier hopes to keep it up Wednesday against the Rangers at the Garden. He owes his crosstown rivals at least a gift basket for helping him get his groove back.
“He looks like a completely different player,” Trotz said Monday. “Think he’s got a little confidence, obviously . . . I think he’s playing freer.”
Beauvillier started slowly last season, his second year in the NHL, with four points through the first 16 games. It was different this time around, he said.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “I’ve been talking with Barry quite a bit about getting back to basics . . . This year was mostly putting too much pressure on my shoulders . . . It’s better now.”
The more he tried and the more he failed, the more tentative he seemed to become.
“He was a little jammed up; he needed to defrag,” Trotz said. “We had a couple conversations and I tried to give him a couple tips on things that he could do. Hopefully he’s taken it to heart.”
Notes & quotes: Matt Martin upper body] practiced but is day-to-day . . . Various Islanders visited elementary schools across Long Island and Queens on Monday as part of Islanders school day, focusing on education and physical fitness . . . Ross Johnston took rookie Michael Dal Colle’s spot on the fourth line in practice. “I didn’t see anything where I’d say, you know, man, he can play here or he can’t play here. It’s just a first solid game for him,” Trotz said of Dal Colle.