John Tavares exploded for five points, two goals and three assists, to lead the Islanders to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Islander rookie had a point on each Islander goal including his 19th and 20th tallies of the season. Dylan Reese scored the first career goal of his NHL career, Matt Moulson added to his team lead in goals with his 26th of the season and Freddy Meyer scored his second goal in three games. The Islanders improve upon their record, making them 29-32-9 this season for 67 points.
The Islanders opened the scoring in the first period as Reese tallied his first career NHL goal, 6:22 into the opening period. Matt Moulson played the puck to Tavares along the right half-wall. Tavares faked as if he was going to throw the puck back to Freddy Meyer at the right point and instead dragged it around a Vancouver forward and dished the puck to Reese at the center point position. Reese waited for Moulson to set up a screen in front of Canucks’ goalie Roberto Luongo, then wristed a shot that sailed over the left shoulder of the gold-medal winning net-minder, to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
Tavares, who seems to save his best games for Canadian teams, was once again factoring in on the Islanders’ second tally of the period. The Islander center took a feed from Frans Nielsen below the goal line and slid a pass to Blake Comeau who one-timed a shot from the high slot. Luongo made the initial save but the rebound fell to his left pad where Tavares snuck in and jammed the puck under the Vancouver goalie for his 19th tally of the season, giving the Islanders a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of play.
In the second period, Moulson gave the Islanders a three-goal advantage with his team-leading 26th goal of the season. Jon Sim started the play, winning a battle in the near corner and snapping a shot on Luongo that he redirected to the right-wing wall. Tavares was there to quickly grab the puck and center a no-look pass to Moulson, cutting through the crease, where he tipped the puck over Luongo’s right pad for the 3-0 Islander lead.
During a two-minute span, Vancouver would pull within a goal of the Islanders with tallies from Kyle Wellwood and Alexandre Burrows. After sustaining tremendous pressure in the Islanders’ zone, the Canucks finally capitalized on a rebound that starter Dwayne Roloson could not scramble to his feet in time to make the save on. Christian Ehrhoff fired a point shot on Roloson that the Islander goalie kicked aside but the puck fell in the right circle where Wellwood snapped the puck over the Islanders’ out-stretched net-minder to make the score 3-1 Islanders.
Burrows was next followed suit at the 18:35 mark of the second period. The Sedin brothers, Henrik and Daniel, played catch behind the net until Daniel stepped out from the right post and fed Burrows for the tap-in past Roloson’s pad. The goal was Burrows’ 32nd tally of the season to cut the lead to 3-2.
Determined to regain the Islanders’ two-goal advantage, Tavares set up goal number four. The Islander rookie, playing in his first career game against the Canucks, drove past Vancouver defenseman Andrew Alberts and backhanded a centering pass that deflected off of Meyer’s right shin-guard and past Luongo for the 4-2 Islander lead. The goal was Meyer’s fourth marker of the season and fourth point for Tavares in the contest.
Tavares would seal the win with his second of the game, giving him five points on his 20th of the season, an empty net tally assisted on by Bruno Gervais.
Roloson earned his 22nd win of the year for the Islanders, making 35 saves on 37 shots. The Islanders were 1-for-4 on the power-play and 2-for-2 on the penalty.
1. John Tavares – Five points in the game
2. Mark Streit – Plays 26:22 and is a +2
3. Kyle Wellwood – Scores a goal
Honorable Mention: Matt Moulson – Adds to his team lead in goals with his 26th
Olympic Feel: Only two weeks out from when the city of Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and the city is still buzzing. Inside GM Place, the red and white of the Team Canada jersey blended in with the blue and green Canucks jerseys. At the top of the building, hanging from the rafter end-zones, were banners with the Olympic phrase, “With Glowing Hearts.”
Canadian Flavor:John Tavares has done quite well against the Canadian teams in the NHL. Against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tavares has three goals in four games, vs. Ottawa he has an assist in three games, against Edmonton he has one goal in the only game he has played against the Oilers and tonight against Vancouver he had five points (2 goals and 3 assists). Montreal is the only Canadian team he has played against that he does not have a point against.
Post It: On the Islanders’ white board this morning was the article of a local writer who had several misspellings in his article and picked the Canucks to dominate the game. He spelled numerous players’ names wrong including Matt Moulson as “Coulson.” You can believe Moulson felt good pumping his fists to the air when he scored his team leading 26th goal of the season.
Forwards 22 Daniel Sedin – 33 Henrik Sedin – 26 Mikael Samuelsson
14 Alexandre Burrows – 17 Ryan Kesler – 38 Pavol Demitra
21 Mason Raymond – 42 Kyle Wellwood – 36 Jannik Hansen
10 Ryan Johnson – 37 Rick Rypien – 15 Tanner Glass
Defensemen 23 Alexander Edler – 6 Sami Salo
41 Andrew Alberts – 5 Christian Ehroff
29 Aaron Rome – 3 Kevin Bieksa
1 Roberto Luongo (starter)
30 Andrew Raycroft
1 - 0 NYI
2 - 0 NYI
3 - 0 NYI
3 - 1 NYI
3 - 2 NYI