When it comes to the Stanley Cup playoffs, the New York Islanders arguably are the Kings of Overtime.
Some of the goals they’ve scored in OT are not only memorable in franchise history, but NHL postseason history as well:
April 11, 1975 — J.P. Parise at 11 seconds to eliminate the New York Rangers.
April 18, 1987 — Pat LaFontaine at 8:47 of the fourth overtime of Game 7 to beat the Washington Capitals.
May 14, 1993 — David Volek at 5:16 of Game 7 to end the Pittsburgh Penguins’ two-year reign as Stanley Cup champion.
And, of course, May 24, 1980 — Bob Nystrom at 7:11 of Game 6 to beat the Philadelphia Flyers and give the Islanders their first Stanley Cup.
Jude Drouin. Billy Harris. Ken Morrow. Mike Bossy. Denis Potvin. Bryan Trottier. John Tonelli. Clark Gillies. Bob Bourne. Wayne Merrick. Brent Sutter. Anders Kallur. Ray Ferraro. All have scored overtime winners in playoff games for the Islanders.
On Sunday, John Tavares added his name to the list. He beat Capitals goalie Braden Holtby from a sharp angle 15 seconds into the extra session to give the Islanders a 2-1 win in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal at Nassau Coliseum and a 2-1 lead in the series.
In doing so, Tavares finally made his presence felt in the series.
Not that he was playing poorly. But the Islanders needed him to have more of an impact.
One of the keys for the Islanders to be successful in the series was secondary scoring. Tavares couldn’t do it all by himself. And they have been getting it. Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome and Kyle Okposo each have two goals in the series, Josh Bailey and Cal Clutterbuck one each.
One problem: Tavares wasn’t doing his usual thing. Give some credit to the Capitals defense for that. In the first two games, he had just two assists and two shots. During regulation of Game 3, he had two shots in the first period and one in the third.
But great players have to find a way to overcome and rise to the occasion. Tavares did just that in overtime.
The Islanders dominated most of Game 3, holding a 33-13 advantage in shots on goal after two periods and finishing with a 42-25 edge. That’s why a loss in overtime not only would have given home-ice back to the Capitals, it could have been demoralizing for the Islanders.
Tavares prevented that and became the latest hero for the Kings of Overtime, who are now 30-13 in their history when a playoff game extends beyond regulation.