New York Islanders Move On Thanks To Heroics Of John Tavares (Highlights)

The New York Islanders outlast the Florida Panthers in double overtime and advance to the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Everything was set up perfectly for the New York Islanders in Game 6 in Brooklyn on Sunday night.

The team was coming off of their marathon double OT victory in Florida in Game 5, back to their home barn where they could expect a raucous crowd. Both of the Game 6’s that had occurred earlier in the day resulted in the favored team winning (although by the skin of their teeth in both instances).


Well it took longer than most fans would have liked, but it finally happened; the New York Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers  2-1 in double overtime to claim the series 4-2 and advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

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The first period was undoubtedly one of the best stretches of 5-on-5 play the Islanders have provided in this series. They were the team that was playing with energy, flying over the ice and delivering hit after hit, while also managing to pepper Robert Luongo with some high quality chances.

Yet it was a knuckleball shot from Jonathan Huberdeau that deflected off of Nick Leddy and into the back of net, giving the Cats a 1-0 lead heading into the second:

In the middle period, the Islanders decided that one period of worthwhile play was enough and were outmuscled by the Panthers for the bulk of the time. Florida dominated zone time, and also received some high quality chances in front of the Islanders net.

If not for Thomas Greiss continuing to impress, the Panthers would very likely have held a multi goal lead. Instead, Greiss kept the game at a single goal deficit heading into the third.

The third period showed the Panthers continuing to impose their will until the latter minutes when the Islanders did their best to make a sustained attempt at tying the game up. But despite their best efforts, even with a power play opportunity, the Islanders could not beat Luongo.

That was, until the final minute of play, when a late rush from Nick Leddy eventually resulted in the puck squirting out from underneath Luongo, allowing John Tavares to swoop in and score one of the easiest goals he’ll ever see.

The Barclays Center exploded, and with that the two teams were headed for yet another overtime contest in this series:

Overtime in Game 6 was a carbon copy of it’s earlier incarnations; the opening minutes were categorized by some careful play by both squads, with neither wanting to give up a game ending opportunity. But as time went on, the ice opened up and there were frantic moments for the Islanders and Panthers that no doubt raised the (already high) blood pressures of everyone watching at home. Again, Greiss and Luongo were up to the task, and Game 6 dragged into a second overtime.

The second overtime was less sloppy than the version we had just seen Friday night, but it was no less fraught with tension. Each missed pass, each shot just barely wide of the net only served to drive the stakes higher and higher. But it was at the 10:41 mark where John Tavares officially sealed his claim as the captain of the New York Islanders, and playoff superstar in the making, as he scored on a wrap around goal around Roberto Luongo, and sent the Barclays Center in bedlam.

The Islanders now move onto play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the divisional round of the Stanley Cup playoffs: start time TBD.

3 Stars Of the Game

  1. John Tavares, 2 Goals
  2. Thomas Greiss, Greiss 21 Saves
  3. Nick Leddy, 1 Assist

NEXT: New York Islanders Captain John Tavares Ties Game 6 With Just 54 Seconds Remaining (Video)

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Jeff Clutterbuck resides just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but has inherited a passionate fandom for the New York Yankees and New York Islanders from the Long Island-based side of the family. Jeff has been a long time member of the music review site The Daily Vault, but recently decided to experiment with sports writing, and express all of the frustrations and joy of being a New York sports fan!