In four games, New York Islanders star John Tavares already has five goals, three assists and eight points. The 21 year old Tavares has started his third NHL season with quit a bang, which includes scoring a hat trick in Saturday night’s game against the rival New York Rangers.
Since the season opener Tavares has looked like a stronger player. He’s a lot stronger on the puck and his skating ability has picked up. During the offseason he attended a power skating camp and reviewed game film to make adjustments to his game.
Islanders head coach Jack Capuano called Tavares the team’s best player following the Islanders 4-2 victory over the Rangers.
“He struggled his first game, but he knows what he has to do,” Capuano said. “He puts a lot of pressure on himself, you just leave him alone, he’s a student of the game, he works extremely hard and he’s going to get his chances. Right now he’s playing with confidence and he wants to help this team get into the post season.”
Matt Moulson, the Isles top line left-winger and Tavares’s friend, wasn’t too surprised at Tavares’s ability. Following Thursday nights 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, a game in which Tavares nearly had a had trick, Moulson believed Tavares would have a few hat tricks this season.
“It stinks, but I’m sure he’ll have a lot of three goal games this year, so not to worry,” Moulson said Thursday.
It only took Tavares one game to get his first of the season.
“He works hard every single day on his game and makes himself better on the ice and off the ice,” Moulson said on Saturday. “He’s just committed to being one of the best players in this league. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and when he does that he’s a scary player to play against. Like I said his first year, he’s only going to get better every year. The more mature he is and understands what he’s capable of and I think you’re seeing glimpses of it here.”
Time will tell what Tavares is truly capable of, but if he continues to play like the way he has early on then the team, and its’ fans, can expect big things to come.no comments
The best rivalry in New York sports starts up again tonight at 7pm. The Islanders will be playing the hated Rangers for the first of six meetings. The Islanders won two of the six matchups last season; winning 6-4 in the first game and 6-2 in the final meeting of the season.
Meet the Opponent:
The Rangers will be coming out strong and looking for their first win of the season. They were defeated in their first two games of the season in Sweden; falling to the Kings and Ducks in overtime. The Rangers have not played a game since last Saturday.
-No goaltender has been announced, but the Rangers will most likely send Henrik Lundqvist to start. So far he’s 0-0-2 on the season with a .931 save percentage and 1.86 GAA.
-The power play has been a struggle for the Rangers. They have not converted on one power play opportunity (0-8) so far this season.
-On the other hand the penalty kill has been a strong point for them. They’ve killed 11 of the 12 (90.9 %) power plays they’ve faced.
-The Rangers have been the best team in the league when it comes to faceoff’s. They’ve won 66 of 114 faceoff attempts, which is good for a 57.9% faceoff winning percentage.
-Ranger fans were very happy to see Marian Gaborik and new addition Brad Richards get on the score sheet in the fist two games.
Islanders News and Notes:
-Evgeni Nabokov will get his first start as a New York Islander. A surprising move by head coach Jack Capuano, but one that makes sense since he has not played this season and needs to get some playing time in sooner rather than later.
-If you haven’t heard, Rick Dipietro will be out indefinitely with a concussion.
-The Islanders have been stellar on the penalty kill. They are 14 for 15 on the PK, with the lone power play goal given up in the first game on a 5 on 3 against the panthers.-However the power play has not been great for the Isles. They have only converted on one of the ten opportunities they’ve had no comments
Rick Dipietro will be out indefinitely with a concussion according to reports today.
During practice on Wednesday Dipietro took a shoot to the mask that forced him to leave the ice. He underwent tests on Thursday and news broke today of the concussion.
It is a tough break for Dipietro, who was coming into the season looking to regain the trust of the fans and return to his old form. During camp and the preseason Dipietro seemed to be moving in the right direction and was expected to start on opening night.
With Dipietro now out of the lineup the goaltending rotation will become easier for head coach Jack Capuano to manage. Fans will be seeing a lot of Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov until Dipietro returns.no comments
Uniondale NY- The Islanders played their best game of the young season against the Tampa Bay Lightning, winning 5-1 at Nassau Coliseum. John Tavares scored two goals, albeit one was actually put in the net by Lightning defensemen Victor Hedman. The Islanders played a full 60 minutes defeating one of the best teams in the NHL.
By now you’ve read all the game stories so here are some post game quotes and video.
I think we limited the time spent in our zone we’ll be fine.
It’s great whenever you know the goalies going to make the first stop, even if there is a rebound there you can clear it. That first stop is key. Hes seeing the puck well and also for a defensemen going puck for the puck the goalie touches he’s good at handling the puck and making the right decisions according to their fore check.
I mean we played bits and pieces of the first two, but it was good right from the start. We managed the puck well. We got a lot of opportunities through good decision making, so there’s a lot to build on from here.
Well it was a good test. They do have a good lineup. They had a lot of success last year in the playoffs, but it’s a new year and we’re really optimistic and confident in this room. Early on in the season any team you beat is a good two points, but against the lightning it’s a nice measurement.no comments
The Minnesota Wild make trip to the Nassau Coliseum today to take on the Islanders at 1pm. The Islanders are looking to put the Saturday night loss to the Panthers behind them and get the win today.
Meet the Opponents:
The Minnesota Wild enters the game fresh off a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi both scored in the victory on Saturday night and helped earn rookie head coach Mike Yeo his first win as an NHL coach.
-The Islanders and Wild do not meet again until December 17. The last time these two teams met the Islanders won 4-1 at the Coliseum back on March 2.
-Pierre-Marc Bouchard was suspended two games for high sticking on Columbus' Matt Calvert. Bouchard has appealed the decision. His agent Allan Walsh did what agents do best and stuck up for his player in a very passionate email to the Minnesota Star Tribune. (Star Tribune)
-Niklas Backstrom is expected to start against the Isles tonight. He is 4-1 against the Islanders with a .913 save percentage. (Star Tribune)
-The Wild are 8-4 lifetime against the Islanders. (Star Tribune)
-Mike Lundin, Matt Kassian, and Cody Almond will all miss today’s game with injuries. Bouchard will also miss today’s game due to suspension.
Islanders News & Notes:
-No starting Goaltender has been announced for this afternoon’s game. Taking a guess I would say Capuano stays with his gut again and has Al Montoya start against the Wild.
-Would also expect similar lineups for today as the ones we saw on Saturday.
-Attendance for today’s game will be an interesting thing to watch. Last years Columbus Day Matinee only drew around 10,000 or so fans and that was against the Rangers. Columbus Day has sort of become an insulting holiday to many and some schools and businesses do not give the day off for it. It won’t be the same raucous crowd that was there on Saturday, but expect a crowd of around 13,000 or so.
-It was revealed that the Islanders goal song for this season will be Crowd Chant by Joe Satriani, a native of Long Island. Will be confirmed today when the Islanders score a goal.
Unfortunately I will not be able to catch today’s game, so no twitter updates. Expect a post game piece up later tonight though.no comments