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New York Islanders Surge Alongside Tavares’s Shot Rates

By Corwin McCallum
Oct 12, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) and center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates Nelson
Oct 12, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) and center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates Nelson /
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As John Tavares goes, so do the New York Islanders.

With that said, the New York Islanders and their fans will be happy to know that after a mid-season slump, John Tavares’s shot rates have nearly doubled.

After falling out of a playoff spot, the Islanders shoved their way back in with an 8-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday afternoon. They have been playing their strongest hockey of late, ranking fourth in the league in score-adjusted Corsi over the last ten games and it’s no coincidence that leading up to and during this stretch of hockey, John Tavares has also started to play his best:

15-16shots
15-16shots /

It’s not uncommon for players (even ones of Tavares’s caliber) to go through slumps like this in a season, but it’s a promising sign to see Tavares coming out of his. As you can see when we lay his 2015-16 season over his rates from 2014-15, he started out last season at a similar pace:

vsshots
vsshots /

Tavares’s shots per game peaked around the same time in 2014-15, and as a result, he started showing up on the scoresheet more often. Through the Islanders first 51 games last season, Tavares had actually scored below a point per game and for the final 31 games, he scored at a rate of 1.19 points per game.

With Patrick Kane running away with the scoring title this season, it’s highly unlikely John Tavares can get back into contention, but his performance could be exactly what the Islanders need.

Recently, we wrote about how one of the large discrepancies between this season and last has been the performance of the Islanders’ best player. If he is able to pick up some momentum, he may be able to thrust the Islanders into a permanent playoff position and potentially more.

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With all of their defenders back and clicking with their line mates, the focus will shift back to the forwards carrying their weight. If Tavares closes out the season anything like he did last year, it may give the New York Islanders the opportunity to take advantage of their weak division and conference.

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