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John Tavares: Overtime Hero

A look back at all 13 of John Tavares’ OT goals, with some choice reactions from our community

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Washington Capitals v New York Islanders - Game Three Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If this was the end, then what an end it was.

If the 2017-18 season finale in Detroit was John Tavares’ last game for the New York Islanders — and we all sincerely hope it was not, but if it was — then there couldn’t have been a more fitting, appropriate way for Tavares to go out than by scoring in overtime.

In the nine years since being selected with the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Tavares has scored 13 overtime goals (11 regular season + 2 playoffs). Only Alex Ovechkin has scored more in that time (15, all regular season).

That’s 13 games that went into the do-or-die overtime and 13 times a John Tavares goal served as the final word. Thirteen games, thirteen wins, thirteen goals.

These are their stories.

First is a compilation video of JT’s overtime goals:

Each of these goals was special in its own right, even those that weren’t. So let’s go through them, one by one. For each, I will include a clip of the goal along with a few carefully-selected comments from the game recap, to see what we were saying at the time.

We will close with a poll where you can vote for your favorite John Tavares OT goal. (Regular season only, so as to make this a real contest.)

Now please sit back, relax and let me take you on this trip down memory lane. Here are the overtime heroics of John Tavares.

Overtime Goal #1

Islanders at Maple Leafs (10/18/2010)

Assists: James Wisniewski and P.A. Parenteau

I recommend you turn HD on by clicking the settings icon (second from right).

We are in the opening weeks of John Tavares’ second NHL season. The Islanders enter this game in JT’s hometown of Toronto with a 2-1-2 record, which, considering the team’s lineup, is probably the greatest achievement in franchise history, narrowly edging out the four consecutive Stanley Cups.

JT scores his first career OT goal on a laser beam one-timer that teammate Kyle Okposo would later describe as “straight cheese.”

Parked in front of the net is the team’s captain, Doug Weight, who let Tavares live in his guest house during his rookie season. Tavares had his own driveway and his own mailbox, a stark contrast to the slum-like conditions that rookie Mathew Barzal was forced to endure this past season living in Dennis Seidenberg’s basement.

JT’s skating is improved from last year.
Posted by Les Beaver on Oct 19, 2010 | 12:14 PM

That’s right, Les. JT’s skating was improved from his rookie season because he worked hard to improve it.

Game notes
+ Radek Martinek…I am not saying Norris trophy or anything, but...
Posted by Tazman19 on Oct 19, 2010 | 9:13 AM

I’m telling you, people were really excited about this 2-1-2 start.

More than anything I love that they are just fun to watch again. Been a LONG time since you could say that.
Posted by afrosupreme on Oct 19, 2010 | 9:11 AM

That’s exactly how I felt the moment JT came into the league, and even more so when he looked noticeably improved at the start of his second season.

Unfortunately, fun’s about to take a month off.

Overtime Goal #2

Islanders vs Lightning (12/22/2010)

Assists: James Wisniewski and Andrew MacDonald

One of my favorite things about these old clips is being reminded of all the different teammates Tavares has had through the years.

One of my least favorite things about these old clips is being reminded of all the different teammates Tavares has had through the years.

Here’s the caliber of teammate JT is working with at this point: the Islanders have lost 21 of their 24 games since that OT win in Toronto. They won just once during the entire month of November.

Ahh, the good times.

It was during that epic losing streak that the team was visiting hospitals around Long Island, bringing holiday gifts to sick kids. At one of these hospitals, a nurse berated a group of Islanders players (Weight being one of them), telling them “nobody wants to go to your games” and that she’s been “giving tickets away for free.”

That last part rings a bell, doesn’t it?

would it be so wrong if...we put Bailey with Tavares?
Posted by Bryan2112 on Dec 23, 2010 | 1:35 AM

Bryan was exiled for suggesting this idea at the time and had to go into hiding. As it turns out, this was a good call. If you’re seeing this, Bryan, it’s safe to come back.

Posted by FB4Real on Dec 23, 2010 | 12:06 AM

He definitely is SOOO IMPORTANT.

JT best game in a while. Nice to see him smiling
Posted by JPinVA on Dec 22, 2010 | 11:43 PM

John Tavares...smiling? Good one, JP.

Overtime Goal #3

Islanders at Avalanche (1/8/2011)

Assists: Jack Hillen and Matt Moulson

Tavares is a master at manipulating opposing defensemen and this was quite an explosive move on Kevin Shattenkirk in the corner. Once JT cuts into the crease, it’s actually the other Colorado defenseman who chips this puck up into the net.

I have a minor in pysch and I think...Colorado has a serious case of Tavares Envy
Posted by Torch7 on Jan 8, 2011 | 10:35 PM

Plenty of Avs fans were convinced their team got the better player with the no. 3 overall pick in the JT Draft, center Matt Duchene, who stood out with his game-breaking speed more than Tavares might have to a casual or infrequent observer. But what they realized on this play and in the years since is that they were really stupid and wrong for ever thinking that and they should be ashamed.

Overtime Goal #4

Islanders vs Hurricanes (1/21/2012)

Assists: P.A. Parenteau and Travis Hamonic

Tavares makes a beautiful play knocking this puck out of mid-air, but that was at least partially offset by the sheer ugliness of these jerseys. These were probably my least favorite Islanders jerseys ever. And believe me, I understand completely what that comment entails.

“Well here comes the marginally talented Tavares...”
Quote of the Year!
Posted by mikefromVA on Jan 21, 2012 | 11:25 PM

This was the game Isles play-by-play announcer Howie Rose blasted then-ESPN writer Neil Greenberg (calling him a "housebound agoraphobe") for his inexplicable and downright moronic decision to omit Tavares from his Top 25 Players Under 25 list. It was a memorable Howie rant which you can watch in full here. See here for garik’s statistical rebuttal.

John Tavares...
Posted by ChryWheatGod on Jan 21, 2012 | 10:16 PM

Tavares scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals in this game, which he did in three of the games on this list.

Was at NVMC tonight
Best warm-up sign in the stands read: “Kirk Muller I hate you”
Posted by Dorfer on Jan 22, 2012 | 12:57 AM

Kirk Muller was Carolina’s head coach at the time. For those who don’t know why we hate Kirk Muller, here’s why we hate Kirk Muller.

Some literal hearts being ripped out and devoured at center ice would be nice.
Posted by Les Beaver on Jan 22, 2012 | 9:59 AM

That was disturbing. Let this serve as a warning to you all: if you let your dark side come out around these parts, I will hunt it down, I will find it and I will expose you.

Overtime Goal #5

Islanders at Ducks (11/5/2014)

Assists: Lubomir Visnovsky and Kyle Okposo

The Islanders have lost three straight entering this early-season game in Anaheim. That streak ends when JT scores his second of the night on an OT power play. That’s what happens when you score in overtime, your team wins. That’s kind of the whole point of what I’m talking about here.

Got back from game...Isles weren’t very good. I greatly dislike this defensive system, with all 5 skaters collapsing...The points are always open, and when Isles send puck around the boards, the opponent always has time to make a play with puck.
Posted by North Dakota Red Eagle on Nov 6, 2014 | 3:33 AM

This led to some discussion on the team’s defensive zone coverage and penalty kill and the impact of the new assistant coach brought in before the season, Greg Cronin.

All 5 skaters collapsing
I’ve noticed that too, and it’s been bothering me.
Posted by BobSulli on Nov 6, 2014 | 4:54 PM

You and me both, Bob.

that penalty KILLL
AHHHH, so annoying. They all collapse and box up...In theory I guess it allows them to block shots and clear the puck around the crease easily, but this is not the case.
Posted by ghalbart on Nov 6, 2014 | 7:46 AM

This was not the case then, and it sure as shit ain’t the case now. The Islanders didn’t just put forth the league’s worst PK% in 2017-18; their 73.2% success rate was the worst PK% in the NHL in 30 flippin’ years.

Why in God’s name did Snow hire someone such as Cronin for the primary responsibility to run the PK, while yet being fully cognizant of the fact that it was poor while he was running it with another team?
Am I missing something here?
Posted by LIslander on Nov 6, 2014 | 10:23 AM

You are not missing anything; your understanding of the situation is correct.

I hate Cronin.
Posted by Zen of Eighth on Nov 6, 2014 | 9:58 AM

I don’t hate Greg Cronin; I hate his hockey beliefs. I hate his defensive philosophy and how it favors passivity and willful surrender over aggression and preventive action. I hate how it purports to limit danger when, in practice, it actually facilitates it. I hate the unconditional commitment to something so plainly self-destructive. I hate how eloquent he was in that interview while expressing such utterly terrible, repugnant opinions.

But I don’t hate Greg Cronin as a person. That’s ice cold, Zen.

its good to fall asleep
During the game and wake up for JT OT !
Posted by WRANGLERICK on Nov 6, 2014 | 7:53 AM


Overtime Goal #6

Islanders vs Capitals (11/26/2014)

Assists: Ryan Strome and Johnny Boychuk

In their annual Thanksgiving Eve home game, the Islanders win for the 10th time in their last 11 games (going back to the Anaheim game). They were flying high at the time; the barn was packed and loud in what was thought to be the last season the team would play at Nassau Coliseum (it wasn’t).

We have a real team full of real players who really know how to play hockey.
Posted by Scoobahgee on Nov 27, 2014 | 2:33 AM

It really doesn't take much to make us happy.

Orpik was his usual scumbag self...
Posted by afrosupreme on Nov 26, 2014 | 10:58 PM

I once heard that Brooks Orpik greets his family at Thanksgiving by cross-checking them in their faces.

When we scored in OT
I yelled so loud and woke up the kids.
Posted by mr high on Nov 26, 2014 | 10:42 PM

That’s a start. Nothing to write home about.

I ran through my house like a nutjob and might have broken my toe...Worth it.
Posted by dgmilazz on Nov 26, 2014 | 11:13 PM

So you "might have" broken a toe? I don't understand, are you committed to the cause or not?

Almost died on my ride home from work
But the almost dying was worth it for this game.
Posted by Uncle Slappy on Nov 27, 2014 | 12:09 AM

Ok, now we’re talking. Good battle level, Slappy.

That team seems to match up well against us. Hope we don’t play them in the first rd.
Posted by oren.harsanyi on Nov 26, 2014 | 10:15 PM

Me neither, Oren. Me neither.

(Ominous, foreshadowing music plays in the background.)

Overtime Goal #7

Islanders at Devils (1/9/2015)


What an absolutely gorgeous play by Tavares as he just completely undresses Adam Larsson on the forecheck and cuts into the slot for the sweet wrister past Keith Kinkaid. And he tops it off by doing the Yes-Yes-Yes chant together with all the visiting Islanders fans at The Rock. Just phenomenal.

That is the stuff legends are made of!
Posted by rant6196 on Jan 9, 2015 | 10:56 PM

I wouldn’t go so far as to call Adam Larsson a legend just yet. That’s a bit of a stretch. By the way, this probably wasn't the play Peter Chiarelli was watching on a loop when he traded Taylor Hall for Larsson. But if it was, then at least we know he’s got a great sense of humor.

That’s why he gets paid the big bucks.
And that’s why JT is money in OT.
Posted by 10 to 27 to 23 on Jan 9, 2015 | 10:22 PM

Well he wasn’t getting paid the big bucks when this happened, but he will be once next season starts. That’s because he’s going to become a free agent on July 1st. I just wanted to throw that in here for the zero of you reading this that don’t already know that.

This team though, man...this season, this year, every game, every interview, every moment.
I’m buying in.
And then John Fucking Tavares...Look at his face.
He is screaming it
Just as loudly and proudly as we do.
And he did it in an away game in front of his teams fans.
I’m in.
I’m all in.
Posted by Bleuchz on Jan 10, 2015 | 2:54 PM

Think back to where this team was when this happened. The excitement, the promise, the potential, the asbestos, the cap room, the path towards sustained success.

Now, think about where we are today.

That sucks, doesn’t it?

Overtime Goal #8

Islanders at Leafs (3/9/2015)

Assists: Tyler Kennedy and Travis Hamonic

Another beauty by JT in his hometown and this one here was just ridiculous. He dekes and dangles through the entire Leafs team for his fourth OT goal of the season.

I still can’t believe that move.
Posted by David G on Mar 10, 2015 | 1:01 AM

That’s because it was an unbelievable move, David.

JT was leading the league in scoring when this occurred. He’d continue doing so until the very last game of the season, when Jamie Benn scored four points and stole JT’s Art Ross trophy away from him. What an asshole.

The best he has ever played in an NYI uni
Posted by davesy22 on Mar 10, 2015 | 1:02 AM

You’re right, I can’t remember Tyler Kennedy ever playing better than this.

I'm 19 and tavares is the guy that really got me into hockey
he’s forever going to be my favorite athlete
Posted by Jenny Berman on Mar 9, 2015 | 11:44 PM

Jenny’s 22 now and I’d bet her offseason plan for a future without JT is more thorough than Garth Snow’s.

Overtime Goal #9

Islanders vs Capitals (Game 3) (4/19/2015)

Assists: Nikolai Kulemin and Nick Leddy

John Tavares scores his first playoff overtime goal just 15 seconds into the extra frame in Game 3 against the Capitals.

My heart would not have lasted 16 seconds.
Posted by Icefan71 on Apr 19, 2015 | 3:27 PM

This was the second-fastest playoff OT goal the Islanders have scored in their history after JP Parise's goal 11 seconds into OT that eliminated the Rangers in 1975.

My wife is so happy because I’m happy.....
…..and said I can do whatever I want today
Posted by GiantsFanInPA on Apr 19, 2015 | 3:42 PM

I think this was the last anyone’s heard from GiantsFanInPA.

OT is JT time!
Posted by 10 to 27 to 23 on Apr 19, 2015 | 3:33 PM

Aside from when it’s Hickey Time, yes, overtime is John Tavares time. That is precisely why I’m writing this long ass post, which is taking me forever to finish.

I was getting ready to have my heart broken.
Posted by NYIJK71 on Apr 19, 2015 | 3:52 PM

I hope you didn’t stop getting ready after this Game 3 win. Because the Islanders' Game 7 loss in Washington (in which they only mustered 11 shots on goal - still the NHL record for fewest shots on goal in a Game 7) was about as heartbreaking as it gets.

Overtime Goal #10

Islanders vs Panthers (Game 6) (4/24/2016)

Assists: Kyle Okposo and Alan Quine

After tying Game 6 with one minute left in regulation, John Tavares’ incredible wraparound goal in double-overtime lifts the Islanders to their first playoff series win in 23 years. Fans everywhere collectively lose their shit.

This is the signature goal of John Tavares’ career and without a doubt a moment most of us will remember for as long as we live.

Openly weeping
So happy right now. Love this team.
Posted by Goldbond on Apr 24, 2016 | 11:27 PM

Posted by ArrogantBastard on Apr 24, 2016 | 11:27 PM

What an arrogant bastard.

Posted by ablesser88 on Apr 24, 2016 | 11:27 PM

Posted by AP77 on Apr 25, 2016 | 12:21 AM

That second guy seems really excited. Look at all those exclamation points. What a great, supportive fan he must be.

I’m so goddamn happy
I love this site, I love all of you
Posted by Zhora on Apr 24, 2016 | 11:30 PM

Does that include me? What about me though?

Was in Sec. 107
Things just got delirious as JT completed that gorgeous, diving wraparound in 2OT. All I know is I lost my voice so the message I left when I called out of work sick today definitely sounded legit.
Posted by Spizzwolf on Apr 25, 2016 | 2:30 PM

There I am, that’s my comment. Me me me, everything should be about me.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one here who was at the John Tavares Draft Party. This is probably what we all dreamed of when we cheered that night.
All the corrupt owners. Mike Milbury. Crap politicians. Years of being the league’s doormat…
All seems vindicated by John Tavares scoring the series winner on Roberto Luongo in Brooklyn.
Posted by Ethan.K on Apr 24, 2016 | 11:22 PM

Well said, Ethan.

This can’t be real
I feel like I’m about to wake up and Joe Sacco is still our premier player
Posted by GiantsFanInPA on Apr 24, 2016 | 11:41 PM

Oh shit, there he is! GiantsFanInPA is okay!

Rangers suck
Posted by Clarke W. Griswald on Apr 24, 2016 | 11:53 PM

Really, Clarke? You can’t just enjoy a great Islanders win? You really need to laugh at the Rangers and their misfortune (they’d just been eliminated) to feel satisfied? That is so immature. I’d never do something like that.

There is only one John Tavares.
And he is ours.
Posted by Dan Saraceni on Apr 24, 2016 | 11:48 PM

He sure is, Dan. I mean was. I mean is. I mean was. I mean FUCK.

The Islanders would go on to lose in five to Tampa Bay in round two.

After the season ends, the team’s two alternate captains and longest-tenured players, Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen, leave in free agency.

Garth Snow replaces them with Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera.

Ahh, memories.

Overtime Goal #11

Islanders at Hurricanes (3/14/2017)

Assists: Josh Ho-Sang and Nick Leddy

This is Josh Ho-Sang’s eighth NHL game and he’s starting to look like a dangerous offensive player. He notches one goal and one assist in each half of a back-to-back set with Carolina. This assist here is a drop-pass he leaves through his own legs to John Tavares, who fires a wrist shot from the top of the slot for the OT winner. Ho-Sang does a great job opening up more room for his captain by driving to the net.

The coach is obviously happy with him, his teammates appear happy with him, he seems elated, I honestly couldn’t be happier with the guy myself. :)
Posted by TheMetalChick on Mar 14, 2017 | 10:36 PM

I couldn't be happier with him either. I bet things will go smoothly next season as well.

As I said before its his hubris thats a blessing but also a curse.
Posted by Snowangledalkinuano on Mar 15, 2017 | 3:09 PM

What hubris you must have to think Ho-Sang’s hubris will be a factor. Spare me. Things will go smoothly next season.

Weight needs to get them to play better defense so they wont be giving up 7 or 8 goals at a clip.
Posted by Snowangledalkinuano on Mar 15, 2017 | 3:35 PM

Sure, whatever. Weight will heed your advice next season. Giving up goals will not be a problem next season.

Posted by dajokr on Mar 15, 2017 | 4:18 AM

That’s vulgar but thanks for sharing.

I was skiing in Colorado last weekend
In a lift line, I saw a pair wearing Penguins jerseys, one with a Lemieux. Sporting my Islanders hat, I said, “Hey! You’re wearing Josh Ho-Sang’s number!”
Posted by Dominik on Mar 14, 2017 | 10:30 PM

Wow, that is a travesty that you said that, Dom. I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of this.

Overtime Goal #12

Islanders at Canadiens (1/15/2018)

Assists: Thomas Hickey

The Islanders deserved to lose this one; they were completely dominated and hemmed in their own end nearly all night long. But in this game, Thomas Greiss made 54 saves, Barzal and Tavares did their thing, and that was that.

This goal was nearly identical to OT Goal #2 vs Tampa, with Tavares stuffing home his own rebound in tight after receiving a pass from his left defenseman. Which is to say it was pretty lame. You gotta have a specific reason to vote for this goal.

Like JP, for example:

My first time at Bell Centre...
Wow, that place is incredible. So top class. Hockey sight lines are phenomenal. So many pissers in the bathrooms.
Posted by JPinNYC on Jan 15, 2018 | 11:43 PM

How many pissers, exactly?

they don’t know WTF they are doing in their own end.
Posted by Cheepnis on Jan 16, 2018 | 11:28 AM

This is not fair and balanced reporting. Half the team doesn’t know what they’re doing in the other end, either.

It’s delusional to think this team has any chance to win a Stanley Cup.
Posted by LittleCharlieHusher on Jan 16, 2018 | 11:17 AM

It’s also delusional to think the best way to play defense is to lay down and roll over. Being delusional is the new big thing.

A garbage pail with a great personality would be a viable Chimera replacement
Posted by LaFontaine16 on Jan 16, 2018 | 10:56 AM

That’s not right to single out Chimera like that. I’d never do something like that.

I’ll take the win. Buuuuuuut, I don’t think that way of winning is sustainable. Do you Garth?
Posted by IsleBeWaitingForAFifth on Jan 16, 2018 | 8:58 AM

The Islanders gave up 50+ shots on goal six times this season. That’s tied for the most ever in a single season. And they actually won three of those six games, too. That’s more wins in games conceding 50+ shots in one season than two-thirds of the league has accumulated in the last 20 years.

By all accounts, the Islanders will enter next season with the same coaching staff intact.

So yes, it does in fact seem like Garth Snow thinks this is sustainable.

Overtime Goal #13

Islanders at Red Wings (4/7/2018)

Assists: Ryan Pulock

This brings us to the present day. In the final game of a profoundly disappointing season, no. 91 ends it with another beauty. This was just a lethal inside-outside dangle to cross up poor #39 Anthony Mantha (a winger). JT tops that move off with a perfect short-side wrister.

Game over, season over.

This is the wizardry of John Tavares. The tenacity, the determination, the intelligence, the skill. What an absolute thing of beauty this goal was.

And what an absolute shame it would be if this was the last goal he ever scores for the Islanders.

But if it was, how absolutely fitting it would be for that goal to come in overtime.


Which John Tavares OT goal is your favorite?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    OT Goal #1 at Toronto (10/18/2010)
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    OT Goal #2 vs Tampa Bay (12/22/2010)
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    OT Goal #3 at Colorado (1/8/2011)
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    OT Goal #4 vs Carolina (1/21/2012)
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    OT Goal #5 at Anaheim (11/5/2014)
    (0 votes)
  • 13%
    OT Goal #6 vs Washington (11/26/2014)
    (14 votes)
  • 33%
    OT Goal #7 at New Jersey (1/9/2015)
    (36 votes)
  • 22%
    OT Goal #8 at Toronto (3/9/2015)
    (24 votes)
  • 3%
    OT Goal #11 at Carolina (3/14/2017)
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    OT Goal #12 at Montreal (1/15/2018)
    (0 votes)
  • 19%
    OT Goal #13 at Detroit (4/7/2018)
    (21 votes)
107 votes total Vote Now