On a night featuring several marquee matchups (we’re looking at you, Washington-Philly, Toronto-Boston and Montreal-Pittsburgh) it’s not surprising the New York Islanders-Tampa Bay Lightning game has flown under the radar. Tampa is off to a pretty rough start and the Islanders…are the Islanders.
That said, it’ll be interesting to see what New York C John Tavares does tonight. The last time these two teams met — a 5-1 victory for the Islanders back on Oct. 13 — Tavares went mental in the first period, registering four points in 18 minutes. He scored New York’s first goal, set up Matt Moulson for the second, scored the third and then set up P.A. Parenteau for the fourth.
In doing so, Tavares became the first Islander to score four points in one period since 1996. He also tied the club record for most points in a first period — first set by Bryan Trottier, then matched by both Zigmund Palffy and Wendel Clark.
Something else to watch tonight? The matchup between Tavares and Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman, the first two picks at the 2009 Draft. Last time they met, Tavares and Hedman got in each others’ faces midway through the third period and were tagged with roughing minors. The night was a brutal one for Hedman — he finished minus-3 and gifted Tavares the first goal by swatting the puck into his own net.