The Buzzer: Barzal takes over; Tatar comes up in the clutch

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Three stars

1. Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders

It’s crazy to think a year ago, Barzal was posting five-point nights like they were going out of style.

He hasn’t had that same type of success this year. In fact, up until Friday night, Barzal hadn’t had a three-point game yet this season. By comparison, he had nine instances where he scored at least three points in his rookie season.

Barzal had two goals and an assist in a 6-3 win against the Ottawa Senators. He scored the game’s most crucial goal, to put the Islanders ahead 4-3 in the third. His second made it 5-3 for his first two-goal outing of the year.

2. Tomas Tatar, Montreal Canadiens

Tatar needed just 35 seconds to give the Habs a 1-0 advantage against the Florida Panthers on Friday.

And when they needed a goal the most, Tatar once again answered the bell, snipping a wrist shot on the power play in the third period to give the Canadiens a 3-2 lead. They’d go on to win 5-3, with Tatar’s brace being a big difference maker.

Tatar, who was benched at times with the Vegas Golden Knights during last year’s run to the Stanley Cup Final, has 14 goals and 28 points in 38 games this season.

3. John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs

Tavares is having a ridiculous year and he still might not make the NHL All-Star Game.

That speaks to how talented the Maple Leafs are, of course, and highlights the cruel reality that the current format brings with it.

Tavares notched two more goals to his 2018-19 belt on Friday in a 4-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s got 26 goals (three back of Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead) and 44 points on the season now.

Highlights of the night

Out for a rip, are ya bud?

You gotta hit him harder than that…

Bob had no chance:

Factoids

You couldn’t have better active players on this list:

Scores

Canadiens 5, Panthers 3

Islanders 6, Senators 3

Maple Leafs 4, Blue Jackets 2


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck