Brassard Returns to New York, Helping the Islanders Rack Up Wins

As the Islanders compiled a 10-game winning streak over the last few weeks, the victories came in a stunning variety of ways.

It started on Oct. 12 with a shootout win against the Florida Panthers. Two days later, the Islanders beat the defending champion St. Louis Blues with a late-game scoring flurry and an overtime winner. On Tuesday, in a 4-1 triumph over the Ottawa Senators, the rookie Cole Bardreau scored the winner, his first N.H.L. goal, on a penalty shot.

“We take it game by game,” Islanders Coach Barry Trotz said after Tuesday’s victory made the current streak the second-longest in franchise history, behind 15 consecutive wins in 1981-82. “And we’ve got good leaders.”

One such leader is center Derick Brassard, who scored in five games in a row before Tuesday, including the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Buffalo last Saturday.

Despite injuries to Jordan Eberle, Nick Leddy and Matt Martin, the Islanders are rolling along with the additions of Bardreau and the teenagers Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson.

Josh Bailey leads the team with 12 points, followed by Mathew Barzal, with 11. Brock Nelson (10 points) has been centering a thriving line between Brassard and the 22-year-old winger Anthony Beauvillier.

Brassard also has been a mentor to Beauvillier, a fellow French Canadian. The chemistry between the French-speaking duo extends to pregame warm-ups, when they remain on the ice passing each other pucks for clear shots on an empty net as the clock winds down.

“He’s been like a big brother to me,’” said Beauvillier, a first-round pick in 2015 who is in his fourth year in the league. “He has a lot of experience and he knows how to take care of himself. He’s easy going and fun-loving — a typical French guy.”

Brassard’s role now is about dishing out advice, not necessarily assists.

“That’s your job as an older guy,” said the Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis, a former teammate of Brassard’s with the Rangers. “It’s all about passing it forward.”

The soft-spoken Brassard has taken on a team-first attitude with an Islanders squad that prides itself on being a close-knit family. Most players live in Garden City or Manhasset, near both Eisenhower Park, where they practice, and Nassau Coliseum, where they are playing most of their home games this season. They will move to a new arena at Belmont Park for the 2021-22 season.

“It’s been an easy jell,” said Bailey, an Islander his entire career, who also played his 800th career game last month. “I have always had an appreciation for the way he plays. He sees the ice really well and makes a lot of good plays out there.”

The Islanders captain Anders Lee said he was happy to see Brassard join the mix.

“It’s very much a ‘Once you’re with us, you’re always with us’ kind of thing,” he said.


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