Josh Bailey of the New York Islanders celebrates his third-period goal...

Josh Bailey of the New York Islanders celebrates his third-period goal against the New York Rangers at UBS Arena on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

ST. LOUIS – Josh Bailey, who has a firsthand view, is anticipating some spectacular results as playmaker Mathew Barzal and sharpshooter Oliver Wahlstrom grow more comfortable as linemates.

Thursday night marked the trio’s fifth game together as the Islanders faced the struggling Blues at Enterprise Center. The reconstituted top line had accounted for three goals in its first four games together.

“The chemistry comes the more you play together,” Bailey said. “Sometimes it’s instant. Sometimes it’s for sure only to get better and better the more you play together. With Barzy’s playmaking and Wahlly’s ability to finish, I think we’re going to see some more highlight-reel goals out of the two of them.”

Wahlstrom, the 11th overall pick in 2018 with a wicked wrist shot, and Barzal, recently signed to an eight-year, $73.2 million deal, had a 13-game trial last season under former coach Barry Trotz that did not yield positive results. Too often, Wahlstrom seemed tentative on the ice, unsure where the slick-skating Barzal was headed and what he would do with the puck.

That hesitancy, for the most part, has diminished this time around.

“I think with him, it’s just his edges and his cutbacks,” Wahlstrom said of Barzal. “He manipulates the defense really well. For me, I just try to read that and get to open space. Also, a big thing for me, is finding pucks and getting pucks back for him. That’s key. Also having Bails over there on the left side, too, the way he plays and his smarts, it’s fun to learn from those guys.”

Barzal entered Thursday with a team-high 10 assists in 10 games. Wahlstrom had four goals – all at even strength – and two assists. Bailey had two goals – one each in the first two games the line played together – and one assist.

Wahlstrom called last season a learning experience as it was his first time going through a true, 82-game NHL schedule. He said he needed to adjust to the constant travel and how that impacts the body.

New coach Lane Lambert has repeatedly talked about the intense hard work on both his skating and strength Wahlstrom put in this summer to prepare for the new season.

And, at 22, there’s just a natural maturation process Wahlstrom is undergoing.

“I think he just kind of made a decision at some point last year, at the end of last year, that it was clear to him that he was going to get an opportunity and I think he made a decision to make the most of the opportunity,” Cal Clutterbuck said. “He committed himself all summer long. I was there. I witnessed it every day.

“Just his ability to be coachable. I think he’s really opened himself up to being taught. How to play the game a certain way and what he needs to do in his own end and when he doesn’t have the puck in order to be trusted to go out there and be given those opportunities to play with the players that will get him the puck. He’s made leaps and bounds. You’ve got to give him credit that he sat down one day and decided that he was going to be receptive to teaching and criticism.”

It’s still a learning process.

Even assigned to Barzal’s line, Wahlstrom logged a team-low 8:40 in Tuesday night’s 3-1 win in Chicago.

“Last season is last season,” Lambert said. “Right now he’s playing well. He’s doing the little things well. And he’s a shooter. Barzy’s a possession guy and he can make plays so it seems like a good combination to me.”

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