If you weren’t already talking about John Tavares possibly being a Hart Trophy candidate, it may be time to fix that.
The Islanders star forward had two goals and an assist tonight to help lead the way to a 5-3 win over the playoff-itchy Toronto Maple Leafs.
Toronto has been hoping to clinch a playoff spot with a win (and a loss by Winnipeg) but have been unable to do that the last two games. Instead, Tavares has the Islanders inching closer to sealing up their own playoff destiny as the victory gives them 51 points on the season and puts them just two points back of the fifth place Leafs.
Tavares, meanwhile, now has 45 points on the season including 26 goals. That’s good enough to put him third in the league for goals and ninth in points. With how low the expectations were for the Islanders, making the playoffs should give Tavares’ case for the Hart Trophy a significant boost.