There are 690 players staking claims to roster spots during the National Hockey League season. And each week, the league announces only 3 that lifted their play above and beyond that of their brethren. Those whose inspirational play lifted not only their personal stock but their teams as well.
This week, the New York Islanders were finally recognized as the hottest player on one of the hottest teams in the entire league over the last 10-12 games collected first star honors. After collecting their 7th straight road victory last night in Dallas (a feat not accomplished by any other team this year) the team has now won 7 of their last 8 and 8 of their last 10 games. The victories have moved the Islanders to within 4 games of .500, a feat that just last month looked almost impossible.
With important games coming up against conference and divisional rivals, the time is now for New York to start making real headway in the standings and there is no more important talisman to lead them than their captain.
John Tavares collected 4 goals and 6 assists over 4 games in collecting the award. He became the first Islander in 24 years to collect 8 points over a 2 game span. The 23 year old’s outburst has put him in a second place tie (with Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks) for scoring in the entire league, trailing only Sidney Crosby. Tavares’ 21-35-56 line obviously leads the team in scoring as well.
While both goaltenders had outstanding weeks and led their teams to impressive victories, neither was as dominant as Tavares as the league took notice.
The skills that make him the Islanders undisputed leader were on full display in last night’s victory, snapping home the game-winner from one knee off a beautiful pass from defenseman Calvin de Haan.