John Tavares Is Heating Up For New York Islanders


Jan 2, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goalie Jonas Hiller (1) guards his net as New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) controls the puck as Calgary Flames left wing Lance Bouma (17) defends during the second at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

John Tavares and the New York Islanders started off the New Year on a very positive note in the second game of their West Coast trip against the Calgary Flames.

The 2-1 Islanders’ victory gives them a record of 26-11 with 53 points, good for second place in the Eastern Conference behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Tavares got the Islanders on the board with a power play goal eight minutes into the game on a 5-3 power play after penalties to Lance Bouma and Matt Stajan of the Flames. The play was a very nice, patience setup for the Islanders, as Kyle Okposo faked a slap shot into a pass to Ryan Strome that faked out the defense. Strome would make the quick pass across the crease to Tavares for the easy goal.

After the early first period goal the game would remain scoreless until the third period when Tavares would strike for his second goal of the night and 17th of the season. Tavares’ second goal wasn’t as pretty looking as the first one, but nonetheless it still counted the same as he was able to find a loose puck in front of the net and get it past Flames’ goalie Jonas Hiller.

“Obviously not a whole lot of offense tonight,” Tavares said. “Just trying to play a good solid road game.”

Tavares might not think there was a lot of offense in the game, but it was certainly a good start to 2015 for Tavares. The two-goal performance was Tavares’ third multi-goal game of the season, and second in the last week, as he scored two goals on December 27th against the Buffalo Sabres.

Coming into 2015, Tavares was playing well but didn’t have his usually eye-popping stats that have become expected of him. In 37 games, Tavares had 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points. Those numbers are good, however compared to Tavares’ previous seasons are a tad low, as in the 2011-12 season, he had 81 points in 82 games. In the strike-shortening 2012-13 season Tavares again almost averaged one point per game with 47 points in 48 games.

Last season was looking like Tavares’ best in points per game before he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2014 Olympics. In 59 games last season, Tavares had 66 points, which placed him near the top of the points list before he was sidelined with the knee injury.

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Towards the end of 2014, it was looking like Tavares was starting to heat up, as in his last six games dating back to December 20th against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tavares has scored seven points, with at least one point in five of the six games.

The Islanders are at the start of a seven game-road trip, and with two victories under their belt already, they will have a great chance for a third straight win against the 8-29-11 Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.

Edmonton allows an NHL-worst 3.3 goals per game, which could lead to a big game for Tavares, who is looking towards a big 2015.

Next: Top 25 New York Althetes of 2014