Stanley Cup Playoffs

New York Islanders: John Tavares Has Stepped Up His Game

By Matt O'Leary
Apr 27, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) shoots against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in game one of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 27, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) shoots against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in game one of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Islanders Captain John Tavares has caught fire at the right time.

Early on in the season many believed John Tavares was having a down year. Initially, the usual Tavares production was just not the level that we have learned to expect from him. Although luckily for the New York Islanders, he has found his game and then some.

Since the start of the playoffs, John Tavares looks like a man on a mission. Last year, he was an important factor in the Islanders Game 7 loss to the Washington Capitals. Tavares did not register a shot on goal in that game. It’s tough to win a playoff game, especially a Game 7 when your best player is a nonfactor.

With his Game 7 performance in recent memory, many had some doubt in the back of their mind as the playoffs rolled around this year. Could John Tavares play at the superstar level that is expected? Tavares has clearly quieted his critics with his play in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Right out of the gate Tavares made his presence felt in Game 1 of the Florida series with a goal and two assists. He just took off from there. His top line dominated in this series; they were by far the Islanders most potent scoring threat.

In the six games series with the Panthers, John Tavares had nine points. He was arguably the best player on any team in the first round of the playoffs by simply the way he took over every game. Tavares has had a knack for scoring clutch goals along the way, none more clutch than the series clincher.

It was rather fitting that John Tavares was the guy to end the twenty-three-year drought without a playoff series win. Tavares did not disappoint in Game 1 of the Lightning series. He added a goal and another assist to his already impressive playoff performance, making his goal total six with a solid eleven points through just seven games.

If the Islanders would like to continue their playoff success against a rather difficult opponent in the Tamp Bay Lightning, they are going to need John Tavares to continue to play at his unworldly level.

When the Islanders drafted him first overall, their expectation was for him to turn into the player that he is right now. They were looking for someone to finally get them over the hump and make them relevant again.

Next: Islanders Fourth Line Is Struggling

It took seven years, but Tavares was finally able to carry the Islanders to a playoff series win. It’s pretty well known that Tavares is the epicenter of this offense. For the Islanders to take the next step of being a legit contender, Tavares is going to have to be able to continue to carry the workload. He has certainly proven that he is capable of doing so.

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