When the New York Islanders selected John Tavares with the first pick in 2009 no one expected him to make the immediate impact that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin did. Although the general consensus throughout the league was that Tavares was a special player, his 54-point rookie year was to be expected.
In the 2010-2011 season Tavares improved by five goals and eight assists, to give him a second year total of 67 points. At the beginning of this year Tavares looked to be on the verge of a breakout, scoring six goals and adding four assists in the first six games of the Islanders season. At one point Sports Illustrated crunched the numbers and found that Tavares was actually leading the league in goals per minutes played, with a goal every 24 minutes and 52 seconds of ice time.
Since then Tavares has struggled, and is currently on an 11 game goal-less streak. He has also recorded only four assists in that stretch. His goals per ice time average, which at one point lead the league, has dropped all the way to a goal every 51 minutes and 49 seconds.
This isn’t to say that Tavares is not playing well, he is still doing a lot of the little things well, he is just not putting the puck in the net. The problem is that no one on the Islanders is consistency scoring, so Tavares’ goal slump is not hidden by a team putting up a lot of points.
This slump may be getting to Tavares, as last Friday he was fined by the NHL for a slash on New Jersey’s Zach Parise. In Tuesday’s game against Buffalo Tavares really seemed to be working his hardest on the ice to get back in the scoring column, and there is no doubt that at some point he will.
Other Islanders Stats and Notes:
-Mark Streit recorded a point for the first time in six games Tuesday when he took a shot from the point on an Isles powerplay that was just barely tipped in by Matt Moulson. Although Streit has not been putting up monster numbers there is no doubt he is the biggest threat on every Islanders power-play.
-David Ullstrom recorded his first NHL point Tuesday night when he assisted on Brian Rolston’s game winning goal. Ullstrom has shown an impressive combination of grit, skill and hustle and has been one of the better Islanders the past few games.
-Al Montoya has done a good job of quieting down any discussion of a goalie competition, stopping 76 of the 80 shots sent his way over the past three games. That adds up to a .950 save percentage and a goals against average of 1.33. On the season he is tied for seventh with a save percentage of .933.