John Tavares Carries New York Islanders to Victory Over Coyotes
By Jacob Seus
John Tavares led the charge on Tuesday night and single handily led the New York Islanders to a 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes.
The Coyotes came into the game 0-7-1 and I may sound pessimistic but it would be a total New York Islanders move to hand them their first victory.
Jaroslav Halak was in goal for the Islanders and Nikolay Kulemin and Scott Mayfield came back into the lineup after a few days off.
Doug Weight’s wakeup call in practice yesterday certainly didn’t help early on. The Islanders were on cruise control and found themselves down a goal after one period of play.
The Coyotes capitalized on the power play when former Ranger Anthony Duclair cleaned up a rebound in front of the net. The Isles had no defenseman even in the vicinity and the Coyotes took advantage. The only bright spot was the Coyotes came into this one 0-5-1 in games they’ve scored the first goal.
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After the goal, the Islanders penalty kill turned out to be the only upside of the first period. The PK unit found themselves down 5 on 3 for 1:14 but managed to kill it off with only one clear. Casey Cizikas was the hero of the penalty kill losing both his stick and one of his gloves and still managing to help his team. Cizikas has really turned into a player that can help in all facets of the game.
There were no major scoring chances for the Isles in the period. Rushes lacked enthusiasm and shots were not even getting to the net. If Weight gave it to the team during practice, I would have loved to have been in the locker room during intermission.
The pep talk may have just been what the Islanders needed. They finally found their footing in the second. The fore-check was much better early on and it led to multiple scoring chances and eventually the game-tying goal.
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Jordan Eberle dashed into the zone and threw a pass to John Tavares that was tipped in for the captain’s 2nd goal in as many games. Anders Lee started the play with a nifty turnover. The 1st line was cooking and the score was even.
Despite still not having a goal, Eberle continues to play well and help create scoring chances. If you told me Eberle still would not have a goal at this point, I would be concerned. Here I am though, not concerned at all.
Tavares would add his second of the period when an Adam Pelech shot hit his skate and into the net. The Isles were up 2-1 after two and looking to bury the Coyotes.
It was a wild third period in Brooklyn, which is something you really don’t want to hear against the 0-7-1 Coyotes.
The Isles came out very lackadaisical and Coyotes tied things up quickly. Halak has had a good start to his season but has let up too many soft goals, especially in the 3rd period. When he should be his toughest, he has shown a weak side. Thomas Greiss has been the better goalie thus far but if Halak can cut down on the mental errors he isn’t too far behind.
Brock Nelson would regain the Islanders lead (ON THE POWERPLAY) as he continues to show…do I dare say consistency? Nelson’s best asset is his shot and if he knows his role there is no reason he should not continue to produce. Believe it or not he’s also been decent while simplifying his game on defense as well. Weight cannot be anything but happy with Nelson’s play through the first nine games.
Once they had the lead again the defense got lazy and the Coyotes would not go away. It was clear from puck drop that the Isles treated them like a bottom level team. No matter what they are professionals and are going to play hard. Nick Cousins tied the game at three and I was beginning to get worried.
There was no doubt the Islanders were the better team but they gave the Coyotes every chance to win the game.
Just when they needed it, Tavares came to the rescue once again. Ederle made a great play to keep the puck in the zone and Tavares tipped a Pelech shot into the net for his third of the game. I don’t know why he turned into Lee for this one, but I’ll take Tavares goals any way they come.
Scott Mayfield would add insurance as the clock wound down to secure the Islanders third straight win. Mayfield might have the most underrated shot on the team and I don’t think many people know that.
Next: John Tavares Hat Trick (Highlights)
Basically, the Islanders played well enough tonight to beat the Coyotes but not many other teams. That seems to be a common theme thus far. None the less the Isles will ride a little momentum as they head back on the road to take on the Wild on Thursday.