Anthony Beauvillier started on Derick Brassard’s left wing. Josh Bailey, in his preseason debut, was on Brock Nelson’s left as coach Barry Trotz gave a good glimpse of how the Islanders will lineup for their regular-season opener.
Still, it wasn’t the full picture in the Rangers’ 3-1 win on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
With the presumption that Anders Lee-Mathew Barzal-Jordan Eberle will be the top line and Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck will remain together, it still is to be decided who plays on the right side for those two lines.
Even if he’s not the fleetest skater, figure wily veteran Leo Komarov slots in at one spot, most likely with Brassard. That leaves Michael Dal Colle, Tom Kuhnhackl, Josh Ho-Sang and Oliver Wahlstrom the leading candidates for the other spot with Andrew Ladd (knee) not ready to play.
The idea, Trotz said, is to give Nelson and Brassard “comparable parts” on the wing. Tuesday, Ho-Sang was on Nelson’s line while Wahlstrom was on Brassard’s right wing. Ho-Sang also was placed on the first power-play unit with Barzal, Eberle, Lee and defenseman Nick Leddy.
“I’d like to give Brass at least one guy that has a little more finish and I don’t want to give him necessarily two young guys,” Trotz said. “I think a veteran and a young guy would be good, depending on the route we go with the veteran guys, Tommy or Leo.”
Until Tuesday night’s offensive dud, Beauvillier has had a solid preseason, with two goals in his first two games, as he’s spent time with both Nelson and Brassard.
“He’s looked good, I’ve always been a big fan of Beau’s,” said Bailey, held out of the first five preseason games with a lower-body issue. “You come in with more confidence each year you’re here.”
Beauvillier, entering his fourth NHL season at age 22, had 18 goals and 10 assists in 81 games last season and Trotz stuck with him despite just one goal without an assist in his first 16 games.
“My mindset is in the right place, I have the right mentality,” Beauvillier said. “Just having Barry for a second year, all the coaching staff, it helps me be more confident and comfortable in the system. It’s part of taking another step.”
Notes & Quotes: Eberle scored his fourth preseason goal to bring the Islanders within 2-1 at 12:07 of the third period. Barzal notched his fifth assist of the preseason…Goalie Thomas Greiss made 27 saves in his first full preseason game…The Islanders held the Rangers to one shot on a first-period five-on-three advantage that lasted for one minute, 30 seconds. Defensemen Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech with Nelson and defensemen Leddy and Devon Toews with Cole Bardreau were the penalty-kill units…Trotz said he anticipates trimming the roster to one practice group, likely by Wednesday. “We’ll get down to 27, 28, 29, 30, somewhere in that range,” Trotz said…Clutterbuck practiced on Tuesday and suffered no lingering effects after going through concussion protocol in Monday night’s 3-2 overtime win over the Red Wings at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum, Trotz said.
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