Tavares gets his first Career Hat Trick in the NHL, but the Isles Lose in Florida

By John Panarese

My brother made the declaration after the game, Florida 4, John Tavares 3, but no matter how you look at it, the Islanders dropped a close one to the Florida Panthers last night. John Tavares scored his first hat trick in the NHL, and was just a dominant force on the ice. All of that strength he added in the off season surely paid off, as JT earned one of those “dirty goals” around the blue paint I love so much among his 3 in the game (2 being on the power play as well).

The Islanders played probably their worse period of hockey in the first period of the game, being out played in all facets of the game by Florida. It was not something I have been accustom to witnessing this season, but the boys played with much more intensity and desire during the second and third periods. It was a back and forth affair, which was tied 3-3 after two periods.

Unfortunately, in the third with under five minutes left in the game, Radek Dvorak scored the game winner for the Panthers. The Islanders showed a lot of desperation and that no quit attitude in the closing minutes of the game, but a interference penalty to PA Parenteau took a bit of the momentum out of them and also removed the 6 on 5 skater advantage with Ricky having been pulled. They just could not get the equalizer, and Tomas Vokoun came up with some big saves to win the game for his team.

Overall, in my opinion, Rick DiPietro played another great game for the Isles in net. I don’t think he could really be faulted on any of the goals. One goal was just a bad luck deflection off an Islander d-man that led to the goal, while I believe 2 of the other goals were screens in which Ricky probably didn’t see them. It also didn’t help that the officiating was not exactly the best either.

Still, the Islanders gutted it out to the end and did not give up. Despite a loss, I’d rather have them show up to play and play to win, instead of quitting or just going through the motions. They now have four days off until they go to Montreal to play there and then play the Habs on Friday at the NVMC.