Scoring Lead Within Reach for Tavares

By Joe Powers

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Scoring sensation John Tavares has the league’s scoring lead within reach tonight when his Islanders travel to Pittsburgh to face Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.

Tavares enters tonight’s matchup with the having recorded 25 points, just three back of league leader Crosby’s 28. He is certainly capable of multiple point games, with several to his credit already this season. In addition to the potential for scoring outbursts he has also been the model of consistency. He has enjoyed a couple of lengthy scoring streaks, including a league-high ten game run in October. He has tallied twelve points through ten games in November.

As consistent as Tavares has been, what might be more impressive is the fact that he has done so without the benefit of regular linemates. Since the departure of Matt Moulson to Buffalo Tavares has played with various combinations of players over the course of the year, including Kyle Okposo, Thomas Vanek, Brock Nelson, Michael Grabner. Vanek figured to play a major part in the team’s plans, but was sidelined after just a handful of games. He has missed several games due to injury, but is slated to return for tonight’s matchup against the Penguins.

Unlike Tavares, Crosby has been plagued by injuries over the course of his career. This season both have remained healthy, playing in 22 games apiece to date.

The Penguins lead the Metropolitan Division and rank third in the Eastern Conference, but so far this season the Isles have had the last laugh, dropping the Pens 4-3 in their first meeting of the year. The two teams met in the first round of last year’s playoffs. After giving the opposition all they could handle in what was widely regarded as the young squad’s coming out party, The Islanders fell to the Penguins in six games. The Isles have struggled to find their game this season, sporting an 8-11-3 record going into tonight’s game.