New York Islanders 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (OT): Isles get back on track (Highlights)
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In a game the New York Islanders desperately needed, John Tavares came up big and led the Isles to victory.

  • New York Islanders (16-9-3, 35 points) 4
  • Los Angeles Kings (20-10-3, 42 points) 3 
  • NYI Goals: Josh Bailey (9), John Tavares (19), Anders Lee (20), Jordan Eberle (13)
  • LA Goals: Oscar Fantenberg (2), Tyler Toffoli (15), Anze Kopitar (17)
  • NHL, Final, Box Score
  • Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

The New York Islanders needed a win tonight in the worst way. Islanders coach Doug Weight felt the same way and sent Josh Ho-Sang down to Bridgeport in favor of Steve Bernier. The Islanders have come out flat a few times recently and have fallen in the standings because of it. Coach Weight said that too many guys were playing like “passengers.”

John Tavares got Coach Weight’s message loud and clear. He was the lynchpin for a few fantastic shifts tonight and this showed up in the box score. That’s exactly the type of guy you want to step up when your team is struggling.

The Kings have been one of the worst teams in the league on the power play this season. Coming into tonight, Los Angeles had only scored three power-play goals this season. Tyler Toffoli capitalized on a power play opportunity in the first period. This was the second of two Kings goals in the first period.

But the Islanders wouldn’t go away. Despite struggling of late, Thomas Greiss and the Islanders never let the Kings pull away. Josh Bailey continued his excellent season with a goal coming off of a deflection late in the first period.

After a scoreless second period where the Islanders squandered multiple power play opportunities, the Islanders came out full tilt in the third period. John Tavares made up for any missed opportunities that came earlier. He scored a beautiful goal when the puck came to his stick while Kings goalie Darcy Kuemper was caught out of position.

Late goals were traded by the teams. Anders Lee scored what looked to be the game-winner late, only to be outdone by Anze Kopitar with less than a minute left. This was a controversial goal that was ultimately allowed, but the hockey gods rewarded the Islanders for their patience. Eberle went top shelf on Kuemper off of a pass from Barzal.

Tavares is the captain for a reason. He’s the captain for nights like tonight. The Islanders need to right the ship and find their groove. Grinding out wins like this will go a long way towards fixing what’s wrong with this team. They gain two much-needed points tonight and no one helped more than John Tavares.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.