It hasn’t been the easiest of seasons for Islanders captain John Tavares. Following last Spring when the former 2009 first overall pick led the Islanders to their first playoff series win since ’93, the 26-year old star center has had to adjust to life without former sidekick Kyle Okposo.
In a year that’s tested everyone’s patience including coach Jack Capuano, who called out some veterans following a third consecutive 2-1 loss at home, Tavares led his team to a bounce back 5-2 win over the Panthers in a rematch at Florida. He also made some history by reaching 500 career points- doing it in style by recording his sixth career hat trick.
He entered the contest with only 11 goals in 39 games. By the end of the night, he had numbers 12, 13 and 14 in a satisfying victory that got the Islanders to 16-16-8 over 40 games. They remain in last place with 40 points in a ultra competitive Metropolitan Division. However, it doesn’t take away from Tavares’ accomplishment. Here are the highlights of his big night with number 500 a classic goal from a very skilled player who deserves better than this:
In the victory, Jason Chimera and Nick Leddy also tallied in support of winning starter Thomas Greiss, who finished with 27 saves. Josh Bailey added two assists including the primary on Tavares’ highlight reel goal in which he juked around a Florida defender and finished in style with a forehand past Roberto Luongo.