Matt Moulson, John Tavares

Moulson and Tavares are New York’s dynamic duo


Last season the rest of the league and many fans got to know what Islanders fans have been getting used to the last few seasons.

The duo of John Tavares and Matt Moulson were one of the league’s top scoring duos last season and the company they kept is pretty lofty.

The pair of Islanders forwards combined for 91 points last season, including 43 goals. That point total put them in position with some of the best last season:

  1. Martin St. Louis – Steven Stamkos — 117
  2. Sidney Crosby – Chris Kunitz — 108
  3. Alex Ovechkin – Mike Ribeiro — 105
  4. Patrick Kane – Jonathan Toews — 103
  5. Henrik Zetterberg – Pavel Datsyuk — 97
  6. Eric Staal – Alexander Semin — 97
  7. Phil Kessel – Nazem Kadri — 96
  8. Jakub Voracek – Claude Giroux — 93
  9. Tavares-Moulson — 91
  10. Taylor Hall – Sam Gagner — 88

That’s pretty lofty company with the likes of Crosby, Ovechkin, Kane, Toews, Datsyuk, and Giroux involved. After all, Tavares and Moulson aren’t household names quite yet, but maybe they ought to be.

Ever since joining the Islanders back in 2009-2010 as a free agent from Los Angeles, Moulson has scored 30 goals in every full season. His 15 goals last year put him on pace to do it again if not for the lockout. A multiple-time 30-goal scorer would have to be a superstar by now, right? Not so.

Tavares, meanwhile, has the No. 1 overall draft pick pedigree. The 2009 top choice has improved in each season and was a Hart Trophy finalist. At 22 years old, he’s poised to be the new captain of the team and will likely push for an Art Ross Trophy this season given his yearly improvements.

With these two leading the way, the Islanders’ future is indeed bright and with Moulson providing the veteran leadership as a 29-year-old, things are looking great for fans on the Island and in Brooklyn for years to come.

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.