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The New York Islanders pulled a win out of their……..pockets last night, defeating a very good Lightning team. Thanks in major part to the effort of goaltender Dwayne Roloson who nearly stood on his head last night to keep the Islanders in the game at times. Islanders’ killer Ryan Malone would get the only goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning, while PA Parenteau and John Tavares were last nights goal scorers for the Islanders.

John Tavares

 John Tavares #91 Of The New York Islanders ScoresOf course going into the game most of the chatter was about Josh Bailey’s return to the Isles roster. Most of the post game revolved around John Tavares though. During the middle of the second period Tavares took two penalties in the span of three minutes. Although the penalties did not cost the Islanders on the scoreboard it did seem to some to have been penalties taken out of frustration by the young star. Although Islanders head coach did not agree with that assessment when asked during the post game press conference. “I think you can’t look at that,” Capuano told reporters. “When John starts to score it will come in bunches. If he wasn’t getting the chances as a staff we’d be concerned but the last couple of games he’s been around the net and he’s had some chances. He just hasn’t put the puck in the net.” A very true statement indeed by the head coach. Prior to last night’s game winner, Tavares has not had a goal since Thanksgiving eve against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Although John had not been producing scoring wise, it does not mean he wasn’t being productive in other areas. Two areas of John’s game that seem to be over looked are both his playmaking skill and his defensive awareness. John has some of the best passing skills and hockey sense on this young Isles roster. An attribute you saw on display last night when he was able o quickly find PA Parenteau who then scored to tie the game. It’s a facet of John’s game that has been there since day one and seems to get overlooked.

Another is his, as mentioned before, his defensive awareness. “Johnny does so many great things away from the puck that maybe some people don’t notice the whole time,” Travis Hamonic said following last nights win. “Especially as a defenseman when you’re watching plays unfold you see Johnny doing all the small things. His back side pressure is something that really helps me out personally, he keeps coming back and tracking back. Just because he’s not scoring five goals a game doesn’t mean he’s not doing stuff. “

Tavares’s game winner was a welcomed sight to many and the 7,000 plus that showed up were happy to see him get the game winner. For head coach Jack Capuano, he saw an overall good performance. “He’s a puck position kind of guy but good game for him in the second half here tonight. Hopefully he can build off it.”

Dwayne Roloson

Then there was the work of Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson. Again Roloson did what he does best, keep his team in the game. Roloson saved 34 of 35 shots faced including being peppered 16 times in the first period. “(Roloson) was probably our best player tonight, for sure, Capuano said after the game. “Rollie kept us in the game. You give a team like that with a power play like that six minutes in the first period we were really fortunate to come out of that period one nothing that’s for sure. He gave us a chance to battle back and we did so you know lot of credit goes to Rollie tonight.” Roloson earned first star honors last night as well.

The Penalty Kill

Although the lone Lightning goal came on the power play the Islanders penalty kill was outstanding last night. The Lightning came into last night’s match up with the third best power play in the league compared to the Isles who came in with the 19thbest PK. Well seems as though the Islanders got the better of he third best power play in the league. The Islanders were able to force the puck out of their zone, had a very hot net minder and even had several shorthanded scoring opportunities that were nearly converted to goals.  “I think it was just our hard work meeting our hard work,” Travis Hamonic responded when asked about what went right on the penalty kill. “There is always the old saying that the power has to out work the penalty kill but from our stand point on the penalty kill you want to out work the power play. I thought the guys did a really good job killing some key penalties for us and the main thing was that all the clears we were getting went down the ice.” Hamonic continued, “It’s frustrating on the power play when you have to keep going back to break it out and I thought we frustrated them throughout the game kept wearing them down.”

The 1st Period

While for the most part the Islanders did a lot of things right, they were very sluggish in the first period. They were out shot 16 to 3, gave up their only goal of the night and looked very lethargic. They also took three bad penalties, one of which was turned into a goal for the opposition. Poor first period that luckily was corrected during the intermission.

Post Game Quotes

John Tavares on the win: “We had a slow start. It took us a while to get some more pucks to the net, but it seemed after PA’s goal we started to really start moving out feet, really start getting it in and challenging their D and start to pick it up. Got opportunities, killed a big penalty there with under 10 minutes to go and it was a good all around team win.”

 John Tavares on moving forward: “The last three games have been something to build on. We just gotta make sure we keep focused on that and we can't get complacent at all. We gotta know how tough it's been for us the last month and a half and you know we'd like to move forward to get something going here.”

Jack Capuano’s thoughts on the team: “We feel as a staff they got to believe right now. They’re a good bunch of kids, they work hard, they get along, and they’re high character guys. They’re working hard and that’s all we can ask for. That’s a pretty good hokey team that we played. We didn't get a lot of grade A chances tonight. We had a few chances but I like the way that we competed and that’s all you can ask for.”

 Josh Bailey’s thoughts on the game: “I thought we played well the whole game. They were out shooting us for a while there pretty bad. When I looked up at the shots I was surprised to see they were out shooting us that bad. I think we were getting good pressure we just weren’t getting pucks to the net. When we started changing that we got the PA goal and just kept trying to build off that.”

Travis Hamonic on the last several games: “I don’t think there’s a heck of a lot of difference. The last couple of games the guys are playing very confidently. We’re really pushing the pace offensively we’re getting a lot of shots every night, we’re throwing a lot of stuff on net and pucks are going in for us. It’s a lot of fun to be playing when you’re winning. It’s a great feeling in the dressing room right now but that’s the nice thing about this league you get to go right back at it tomorrow night. We have a big test in Jersey and we’ll be ready to go here.”

 Travis Hamonic on how to keep the momentum going: “You just gotta find what really helps and works for you and you gotta keep doing it. There is an old saying that hockey players are a creature of habit and I firmly and strongly believe that. You do the things on the ice that make you successful and repeat those things when it’s working for you. For us we just have to approach every game like it’s a new one.”