It has been a real long time since the Isles last had a game against New Jersey that ended like this.
A 60 minute effort, and from about the 16 minute mark of the second, a 22 year old decided to put his game into another gear.
JT showed the NHL that he MUST be included among the tops in the league, scoring his fourth career hat trick (and at times just missed four), as the Isles slammed the Devils 5-1 tonight at the Coliseum.
The Isles got three power play goals (two from Tavares and one from Matt Moulson). Michael Grabner scored the final goal with a few minutes remaining in regulation time.
The Islanders totally dominated in every aspect of this game. They were outhitting the Devils, working harder than the Devils and got themselves in the right positions at the right time.
The Devils are such a strong team, that if they get the first goal of the game, they can play such a stingy defense, that can end the game just like that. What impressed me about the Isles tonight, that when they got the first goal, it seemed like the overdrive just kicked in, and they went into another gear. Especially with number 91.
JT has the ability to drag a few defenders around, and still find the shooting lane, or get a perfect pass to a teammate. He is showing what everyone in the NHL expected him to eventually do; take over a game by himself. However, since he is playing for such an ‘inferior’ team (in their eyes), he will never get the positive recognition that he truly deserves.
I will say that the young couple that wore Devils red and black were quite impressed with JT, and told me so. They were a very nice couple from Brooklyn (ironic, eh), who were very nice, and I can say I enjoyed their company, talking hockey in a nice and respectful fashion.
Credit Johan “Moose” Hedberg, for at times, playing outrageous in goal. He has been a freak against the Isles this season, and despite giving up 5 tonight, played a strong game. Malik Zdlicky scored his first of the season on the power play for the Devils.
The Isles, following the victory at MSG on Valentine’s Day, followed it up with a totally super effort tonight. Monday, they take on the Flyers, who now have the bottom position in the division, thanks to two extra games played than the Isles. They lost to Montreal this evening, so I guess they will not be happy on Monday afternoon. The Isles need to take the positive momentum, and keep it going for the matinee.
Philly’s defense is their Achilles heel right now – and the Isles need to exploit that. We will see on Monday afternoon. Maybe we will say the NHL leading goal scorer is John Tavares.
My “Star” of the game – as if….. No brainer here. #91.
My “Dud” of the game – no one. This was a strong effort all around. All four lines and all 6 D were playing well. Can not really make any excuses or see any problems with anyone tonight.
To contact me – go to @islessection317 or @islestalk on Twitter – or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org