I’ve written eight straight pieces about the NBA. Clearly, I need to switch things up a bit.
So let’s talk about the NHL. The Devils are not quite New York but as New Jersey’s lone professional team, they are playing some of the best hockey in the entire league and find themselves second in the Eastern Conference.
Many think the time is now for the Rangers who started off slow, but entered Sunday’s game against the Washington Capitals at 7-5-1; just six points behind the Devils. But this is not the time to mention them either.
So who else is left? The Islanders? You mean that franchise that hasn’t been relevant since they were a dynasty in the early 80’s? Why would I want to write about the Islanders, who are now moving to Brooklyn for the 2015-16 NHL season and currently sit in fourth place in the Atlantic Division?
What could I possibly write about those guys?
Well, when one guy is playing as well as John Tavares, it’s something worth writing about. Tavares is doing his best to keep his franchise relevant while also living up to the hype of being the first overall pick in 2009. If you don’t know him, keep your eye on Tavares who has helped the Islanders score the fourth most goals (45) in the Eastern Conference. He is forcing people to take notice his play and in turn, the Islanders as well.
Tavares has been so hot that it’s shocking that the ice hasn’t melted when he has touched it over the last five games. He has scored at least one goal in five straight games including a hat trick against the Devils on Saturday night. Entering Sunday, his 20 points on the season is just three behind NHL leader Thomas Vanek and his 11 goals puts him in a three way tie for first.
Unfortunately for Tavares and the Isles faithful, he can’t prevent teams from scoring on the Islanders as proficiently as they score against their opponents. Despite the 45 goals that the Islanders have netted, they are still a -2 when it comes to goal differential.
There are still a lot of questions that surround the Islanders. Every game, there is a question on who is going to start in goal whether it be favorite so far this year Evgeni Nabokov or the 15-year contract man Rick DiPietro who has been forced to the bench for a most of this season. Their 6-7-1 record is largely in part to a five game losing streak that started February and was ended last week with two wins against the Rangers and Devils.
But if there is one sure thing for the Islanders it is this: John Tavares is one of the best talents in the NHL. At only 22 years old, he should give the fans of Uniondale, NY something to look forward to before their team pulls a New Jersey Nets and moves to Brooklyn.
Hopefully for them, Tavares can give them a few more memorable years before they leave.
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