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Islanders 2, Hurricanes 1 (OT): John Tavares Easily in the Top 26

Evidently the Islanders missed their daddies. They came out fairly lifeless in the first period but survived that one down just 1-0 after being outshot 15-9 (including three shots on two Hurricanes powerplays).

The second was far better, John Tavares tying it and extending his league-high points streak to 12. It was a smart read by Tavares to start the play from the high boards, then rush to the high slot in anticipation of the rebound he placed past Cam Ward. The next goal, also by Tavares, wouldn't come for another 36 minutes.

GS | ES | H2H | Shifts | Corsi | Zones | Recaps: NHL | Isles | SBN

With the Islanders piling pressure on in 4-on-4 OT, Ward (and his D) stopped shot after shot pass as the mad scramble pulled everyone out of position -- the Isles desperate to score, the Canes desperate for a clear.

Tavares took a feed from P.A. Parenteau (his 33rd assist of the year), Ward stopped Tavares' first shot but Tavares, again, pulled another "Aww, sick. That's what he do": Batted the rebound out of the air, to the ice, just eluding Ward's arm.

Game Highlights

Game Notes

  • Ward did quite well to keep it at 1-1 in that second period, as the Isles "officially" threw 23 shots his way in that frame alone.
  • Both teams got lured into a back-and-forth run-and-gun as the game headed toward second intermission, so the third period was far more careful by both sides but still featured chances both teams would call scary, especially if they were sincerely playing to get to OT.
  • That said, the Islanders didn't get a shot on for the first 10 minutes of the third -- and this despite outshooting the Canes 40-33 overall! This really played out like a game between two teams at the bottom of the conference. Sloppy moments all around, periods where either team could've taken a big lead.
  • Did we say sloppy? The official game sheet (which is always a little dicey in this stat) ascribed 25 giveaways to the Islanders. The Hurricanes only had 9.
  • Matt Martin hit the post on a nice shorthanded break that would've tied it at 1-1 in the first.
  • The Hurricanes goal was a sloppy one, Evgeni Nabokov allowing a fat rebound, Mark Streit missing the rebound as he tied up his man, and Jeff Skinner slipping a wobbly puck past Nabokov as he awkwardly pushed over to his left.
  • Nabokov played well the rest of the game though; really either team could've taken a fat lead if not for the goalies.
  • Defensive pair switch: For the third period, Travis Hamonic paired with Mark Eaton, while Andrew MacDonald paired with Dylan Reese. That meant the Hamonic-Eaton pair had the lowest ice time in the third, with under five minutes. Something to keep an eye on.
  • The officiating was plainly bizarre. Missed calls on both sides, odd view of tripping, starting with the softest of tripping calls on Travis Hamonic on a steal early in the first, and capped off by takedowns of P.A. Parenteau and Nino Niederreiter -- each while carrying the puck -- as the Isles poured it on in the second. Maybe the officials played down to the sloppy level of play exhibited by both teams.

Howie Rose Goes on a Rant

This must've been partly prepared, but Howie Rose laid into the recent ESPN Insider list of Top 25 NHLers under 25. He went with the blogger basement stereotypes and then some, giving release to Islanders fans who watch John Tavares dominate shift after shift and wonder how he didn't make the list. A rough transcript follows the rough video (Keith Quinn special):

... I don't know if you happened to see an article that it was in a national online publication recently. But someone actually wrote a list of the [top 25 players in the NHL under 25] ... can you believe John Tavares was not on that list? Are you kidding me? Now think about that: We're just talking about players UNDER 25. When he was criticized on it, he came up with some kind of goofball numerical response.

I don't know who this housebound ag[o]raphobe is, but I suggest he open the shades in his room, get a little light in there, and stop playing around with computers and calculations.

I mean open your eyes. You can make the case that John Tavares is one of the 25 best players in the league period, not just the ones under 25. That's just stupid. There's no other way to put it, unless you have an agenda. That's why I'm not even mentioning his name.

[play resumes]

Well here comes the marginally talented Tavares...

That was a hoot.

External Notes and Color

Isles PR guy @JesseDEisenberg (the Skates on a Plane guy):

Guy in the locker room hallway: "Who scored the last goal?" Hamonic: "Who do you think?"

From Fornabaio: The Sound Tigers won their 8th in a row, Anders Nilsson making 37 saves.

From Arthur Staple, for those wanting Capuano to tear the refs' heads off: "Jack Capuano, who usually keeps his cool with the refs, on the top of the bench to let zebras know they missed an interference on Streit."

From IPB, via Danish sports site of judgment (and h/t @RoseTintedVisor): Frans Nielsen's agent says they're negotiating for an extension, which isn't surprising but is nice to hear nonetheless. The Isles have to make a decision on him -- and ideally re-sign him -- but both sides will do the dance of security/commitment vs. breaking the bank. (Apologies for my reading comprehension fail in the game thread: I originally skimmed it as looking for "six years" rather than him playing with the Isles for six years. I'll say this 50 times before it's all done, but the Islanders can't afford to let quality players like Nielsen and Parenteau walk. Build depth from the top and let kids try to steal their jobs later.

This is the Islanders' first win in their None More Black jerseys.

From the Isles feed: Nabokov has won four consecutive starts (no other Isles goalie has done that this year), and this is John Tavares' sixth first star of the season.

I figure, that makes him at least in the Top 26 Under 25, no?