Islanders’ Tavares nets hat trick against Devils

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It’s gone perhaps a little bit under the radar, but John Tavares is closing in a goal-a-game pace.

The 22-year-old New York Islanders center scored three times in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils Saturday night.

He now has 11 goals in 14 games, and is up to 20 points.

“I tried getting back to some things over the summer shooting-the-puck wise that I wanted to work on,” Tavares told NHL.com following the game.

“Not that I go out there thinking about leading the League in goals, but when I get opportunities, I want to capitalize.”

And to think Tavares went without a goal through the first four games of the season.

He now has at least a goal in each of his last five games.

“I think any great player puts a lot of responsibility on (themselves) because they want to lead (their) team,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano told Associated Press.

“To me, an elite player is someone you watch night in and night out, and your coaches prepare for in your pre-scout. You’re looking at 91 (Tavares).”

The Islanders have now won back-to-back games, against their arch rivals, the New York Rangers, and the Devils.

“Not only are they doing the right things at the right times, but they’re playing physical,” Capuano said to NHL.com.

“That’s exactly what we want them to do. Hopefully that’ll continue for us. I would say that’s something that we were missing last year.”