To say Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson's Islanders careers have had their ebbs and flows is probably a nice way to put it, but now that they have been joined by Anthony Beauvillier to form a new version of the kids line (Anders Lee has since graduated to the top line), the results have been impressive, and the duo looks completely rejuvenated.
On Tuesday, with the Islanders and Capitals deadlocked at one in the third period, Beauvillier crashed the boards behind the net and forced a turnover. The 19-year-old rookie slid a centering pass in front of the net that found Nelson's backhand. Brock pulled the puck to his forehand, threaded a pass between two Capitals defenders, and Strome finished it off to give the Isles a 2-1 lead with 13-and-a-half minutes to play.
"There's a little bit of a buzz, some positive energy, and I think that's contagious," Nelson told reporters after the game. "When that's happening and that's going on in the locker room, it's pretty easy to go out there and just relax, have fun, and play hockey."
"We're starting to be more confident, and it feels good when you're winning games," added Strome, whose goal was his first in 12 games. "We just beat Montreal and Columbus. The third period, you really have no nerves, and I think that's the strength of our team. Just pretty poised and things are going good for us."
There is certainly a chemistry between these three guys, and I don't think it's any coincidence that Strome in particular has seemed to enjoy this combination. Here's a guy who scored 50 points when the Islanders were possession monsters, creating opportunities and even getting a call to the first line with John Tavares for the 2015 playoff run.
There's no question that his skills were quelled under the previous system, and with the small tweaks Doug Weight has made, including giving Strome some continuity with linemates that bring out the best in him, I think it has made a real difference.
Getting these guys going have always been the key for the Islanders. If they can get the secondary scoring and a strong enough two-way game from all four of their lines, they're going to be right in every game, and they're proving that over this seven-game point streak.
The added element of having a line like this one click really makes this a very tough club to play against, and add in Andrew Ladd's recent resurgence and New York can roll out four lines that can play with every team in the league. This team averages more than a game every other night the rest of the way, and if they're going to get to the postseason, they're going to need these kids to skate hard and produce. So far, the returns have been good.