2. John Tavares First NHL Goal
When a team drafts their next face of the franchise with a number one overall draft pick, there is anticipation that he can become the savior that the team needs. That was exactly the way Nassau Coliseum felt watching John Tavares score his first goal in the NHL.
The first game of the 2008-09 season was almost everything a suffering Islanders fan could have asked for, minus a win. They finished at the bottom of the league the previous season and won the NHL Draft Lottery to secure the first overall pick that they used to select Tavares. The fans would see their young core players such as Kyle Okposo, Matt Moulson, and Tavares on display for the first time against the rival Penguins. They would all register at least one point.
Tavares would first score his first assist earlier in the night off of a Mark Streit goal on a 5-on-3 just past the halfway mark of the first period. He then followed that up in the second period by burying his first NHL goal in his first NHL game past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, which ignited the crowd.
Fans immediately got behind this, with this goal being the origin of the "John Ta-var-es" chants frequently heard by the Coliseum faithful when their franchise center would make big plays. Fans before this goal even happened were wearing 91 on the backs of their jerseys, and it became the easiest choice for fans to purchase as he would become a mainstay on the Island for years to come.
"He's become a tremendous leader for our team. As he goes, we go. "- Jack Capuano
The foreshadowing of the quality player the Islanders got in the draft that night was present, as Tavares would get Hart trophy votes twice as a member of the blue and orange, along with almost winning an Art Ross trophy in 2015. You can think whatever you want about him now after he departed New York in free agency in 2018 to play for the Maple Leafs, but his career as an Islander stands as one of the best since the Stanley Cup days, and that cannot be denied.