The Islanders captain scored his first hat trick of the season and the second five-point game of his career on Monday, pacing New York to a 7-3 victory over Dallas at Nassau.
The five-point outburst came just three games after Tavares went for four points — two goals, two assists — in a 5-3 win over Boston on Dec. 31, giving him 13 points in his last six contests.
Tonight, Tavares literally took over the game.
With the the Isles down 2-0 to start the second period, Tavares assisted on Ryan Strome’s power-play goal, then scored one himself, then set up Brian Strait’s marker early in the third period, then scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season. He was in on the scoring for five of New York’s seven goals and on the ice for six, finishing with a plus-3 rating.
So yeah, not a bad night.
A virtual lock for Team Canada’s Olympic roster announcement tomorrow, Tavares also set a number of personal marks against the Stars. He recorded the 300th point of his career, his fifth-ever hat trick and put himself back on pace to score 40 goals this season, which would eclipse his career-high of 31 (scored during the 2011-12 campaign).
Oh, and in case you’re curious, Tavares’ first and only other five-point game came against Vancouver during his rookie campaign.
With training camp and the preseason now in full swing, it appears the Bruins are bringing in a veteran blue liner — at least on a professional tryout.
On Friday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that unrestricted free agent blue liner Christian Ehrhoff is about to join Boston on a PTO following his showing at the World Cup of Hockey.
In six games with Team Europe, Ehrhoff had three assists — all at even strength — and nine shots on goal.
Ehrhoff is now 34 years old, and the Bruins already have a pair of seasoned defenders in Zdeno Chara (39 years old) and John-Michael Liles (35 years old) on their roster. Adam McQuaid turns 30 years old in October.
He was most productive during two seasons in Vancouver, a puck-moving defenseman that could effectively skate the puck out of trouble and move the attack that way if need be. But that was from 2009 to 2011. His production has dipped, especially over the last three years.
He was also pivotal to Vancouver’s power play, especially in 2011 when the Canucks won the Presidents’ Trophy and made it to the Stanley Cup Final — against Boston.
Again, that was five years ago.
Lehner (forearm contusion) to miss preseason game versus Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.
“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”
(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)
Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.
The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.
McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious
It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.
The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.