Feb 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) shoots the puck as Washington Capitals defenseman Connor Carrick (58) and Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov (81) defend in the first period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
#4 May 7th, 2013: John Tavares Nets the Game Winning Goal in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Making their first playoff appearance in six years, the Islanders gave the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins all they could handle. No one gave the Islanders much of a chance of making the playoffs before the season started, and the pundits all believed the Penguins would roll the eighth-seeded Isles in this series. After getting shutout in game 1, it seemed like they were all right. Kyle Okposo spurned the Isles to a game 2 win with a massive performance that included the rare fight for a guy nicknamed “KO,” and the Islanders came home with the series tied 1-1.
The old barn rocked for game 3, and Islanders fans everywhere were excited to see John Tavares on the big stage of the playoffs, but the Isles would lose that in overtime. Game 4 was a different story. The Penguins took the lead early in the third period, but the Islanders came right back to tie it on a goal by Mark Streit. With about 10 minutes left in the third period, Brad Boyes capitalized off an Evgeni Malkin giveaway along the boards and fed Tavares in the high slot.
Tavares danced between 3 defenders and buried his own rebound to break a 4-4 tie. The Coliseum exploded and the Islanders would win 6-4, knotting the series up at 2 games each. The atmosphere in the Coliseum that night harkened back to the “glory days” of the late 70’s and early 80’s. They would go on to lose the series in 6, but the overall feeling around the Coliseum that night was that the Isles had finally gotten back to being contenders.