This one had all the makings for something horrible. Wearing their black jerseys, playing an afternoon game, and facing a goalie making his first NHL start, the Islanders normally drop games like these. Not today.
The Islanders came to the Coliseum and defeated the Washington Capitals by the score of 5-2. This was the fifth straight game where the Islanders registered at least one point (3-0-2), and the end to a seven-game homestand that went pretty well, especially after the poor start. The Islanders finished the homestand with a 3-2-2 record after dropping the first two in regulation.
This one was controlled by the Islanders, who outshot the Capitals (8-2-0 in their last ten games) 45-24 and never had to play from behind.
Josh Bailey scored his second of the season on a beautiful tip-in off of a pass from Frans Nielsen, breaking the scoreless tie 10:46 into the first. It was good to see Bailey on the score-sheet for the first time since the Islanders faced Toronto last week.
The Isles would allow another “early goal” in the second period, tying the game with a little under 90 seconds played in the frame. Another unlucky bounce for Hamonic, who saw another puck bounce off of his skate and find its way behind Evgeni Nabokov. However, resiliency prevailed, and the Islanders would find scoring from another unlikely source.
Casey Cizikas pushed the Islanders ahead with his third of the year, with assists from his linemates Colin McDonald and Matt Martin. Let me say, it’s great that we are finding goals from this line. Last year was a debacle, but CC and friends have really helped revive our bottom-three.
The score would remain 2-1 Isles going into the third. Still much to prove, the Islanders needed to buckle down and earn the two points.
A Nicklas Backstrom goal would tie the game in the third, but the Islanders would not allow this to have the “same old” results. Not today, and not when the Islanders were given a four-minute power-play after Mike Ribiero received two minutes for high-sticking Tavares, and two for unsportsmanlike conduct.
JT would score once on this power-play, giving the Islanders their third lead of the game, and would score thirty-seconds later on another power-play to put this one out of reach. Frans Nielsen added the 5th goal, shorthanded, after stripping Alex Ovechkin of the puck at the blue-line for an odd-man rush.
So, yes. The Isles won again on home ice, and were once again led by their superstar, John Tavares.
Mr. Marginally Talented scored his 99th and 100th career NHL goals this afternoon, which was also JT’s 15th and 16th goals on the year. It has been incredible to see JT develop over the past few seasons, and the fact that he’s still “growing” should make Isles fans even more excited.
Tavares is currently on-pace for 31 goals and 25 assists for 56 points in a 48-game season. That goal total would tie his career-high that he set last season, and he would be on pace to shatter all of his previous career-totals in a full, 82-game season. Incredible.
The Islanders haven’t had a star like Tavares in a very long time. Please don’t compare him to Palffy. Tavares is so much better than that.
With five more years on his current contract after 2013, Isles fans should expect Tavares to push for Hart, Richard, and other awards in the upcoming seasons, and should be here for an Isles playoff run in the very near future.
Only question for me: When does JT start getting the calls like any other star? Clearly tripped up by Ovechkin in the first, Tavares did not draw a penalty, and again made his frustration clear. Hey, NHL. Tavares is as “marketable” as any one of your “babies.” Give Tavares some respect. He’s going to bring so much attention to hockey on Long Island, and very soon.
Plus: The power-play scoring two goals to put the game away.
Minus: Another puck going in off of Hamonic. Got to feel for the guy.
Plus: Marty Reasoner with four shots, two hits, and a blocked shot on Alex Ovechkin.
Minus: Reasoner failing to score on a breakaway.
Plus: Brad Boyes with another quiet, two-assist game.
Plus: Frans Nielsen shooting the puck on a two-on-one. Finally, a good decision on the odd-man rush. He scored.
Plus: Another solid game from Evgeni Nabokov.
Plus: Josh Bailey with 5 shots after having only one against the Rangers. Guy can play, just selectively.
Minus: Grabner with 9:22 of ice time.
Plus: Isles winning with Grabner on bench.
Plus: Martin with 8 hits, and the 4th-line totaling 13 hits.
The Isles improve to 11-11-2. For the first time since February 5th, they are NHL .500. The Isles go back on the road to face Pittsburgh tomorrow night. Currently, the Isles are one point out of 8th and two points out of 7th.
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Filed Under: New York Islanders
About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: www.IslandersOptimism.com E-Mail: ChristopherTriantafilis@gmail.com Twitter: @ChrisTriants