After scoring only 12 goals in their first five games, the Islanders needed a breakout night.
They got one at Barclays Center on Sunday night, with John Tavares scoring twice and the Isles’ new Kid Line of Anthony Beauvillier (19 years old), Ryan Strome (23) and Alan Quine (23) contributing five points in a 6-3 win over the Wild.
“We’re a young line, so we’re just trying to bring energy with whatever minutes we get,” said Quine, who took a drop pass from Beauvillier and snapped a wrist shot past Darcy Kuemper at 6:29 of the third period to put the Islanders in front 4-2. “It takes a few games to develop some chemistry, and I think all three of us know what we need to do out there.”
Tavares opened the Islanders’ scoring off a neat feed from Josh Bailey at 4:23 of the second period, tying the score after Minnesota’s Zach Parise scored the first of his two in the middle frame.
Calvin de Haan scored on a wrist shot 34 seconds after Tavares’ goal for a 2-1 lead that became 3-1 only 2:34 later when Johnny Boychuk beat Kuemper off Strome’s faceoff win.
Parise scored his second from an impossible angle and via video review after the officials missed the puck crossing the goal line behind Thomas Greiss at 12:37 of the second. The Wild pressed for the tie through the end of the second but Greiss was superb, making five big stops, including one on former Islander Nino Niederreiter in the waning minutes of the period.
“He kept us in the game,” coach Jack Capuano said of Greiss, who made 26 saves.
The Islanders’ fresher legs got them moving in the third. The Wild was the fourth straight team to come to Barclays Center on the second night of back-to-back games and, after playing three straight 3-2 contests, the Isles finally jumped on a tired visitor.
Beauvillier blocked a shot, corralled it and drove up the ice. He dropped the puck to Quine and took defenseman Christian Folin to the net, opening a gap for Quine to cruise in and snap a shot past Kuemper for the key score.
Little plays like that for Beauvillier, who leads the Isles with four assists and has five points in the five games in which he’s played, stand out.
“I’m not here to get points. I know that,” Beauvillier said. “My job is to stick to the game plan, finish my checks, be smart without the puck. The points are nice, but that’s not my job.”
Strome also had two assists and Tavares set up Thomas Hickey for a wicked wrister at 8:35 of the third. Niederreiter scored from Greiss’ doorstep at 17:12, but Tavares hit the empty net at 18:17 for a three-point night for the captain.
Linemate Andrew Ladd got his first point as an Islander but continues to hunt for his first goal despite three golden chances Sunday night.
“I still think we could’ve been better. They had the puck a lot tonight,” Tavares said. “But we got some big goals from all parts of the lineup. When we get the lead, especially at home, we want to stay aggressive. Our group has been through this many times before. It takes a little time to find your game and find that rhythm, and I thought we did some good things tonight.”