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John Tavares making MVP case, leads Isles over Leafs 5-3

Apr 18, 2013, 10:07 PM EDT

John Tavares Getty Images

If you weren’t already talking about John Tavares possibly being a Hart Trophy candidate, it may be time to fix that.

The Islanders star forward had two goals and an assist tonight to help lead the way to a 5-3 win over the playoff-itchy Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto has been hoping to clinch a playoff spot with a win (and a loss by Winnipeg) but have been unable to do that the last two games. Instead, Tavares has the Islanders inching closer to sealing up their own playoff destiny as the victory gives them 51 points on the season and puts them just two points back of the fifth place Leafs.

Tavares, meanwhile, now has 45 points on the season including 26 goals. That’s good enough to put him third in the league for goals and ninth in points. With how low the expectations were for the Islanders, making the playoffs should give Tavares’ case for the Hart Trophy a significant boost.

  1. bcisleman - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    The way they are playing now, making the playoffs is the least of it. They are playing like a team poised to go deep.

    • ravenscaps48 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      Been saying it all along. This is the only team in this years playoffs that I do NOT want to go against!

  2. johnstone17 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    As a Rangers fan, I gotta say it. This kid is scary good. And you are right bcisleman, they could go deep in the playoffs.

  3. multiplemiggs - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:52 PM


  4. jr507 - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    JT obviously gets more and more impressive each year, but I tip my hat to Garth Snow. Sublime finds year in and year out (Grabber and A-Mac previously and now Hockey and Colin Mac) combined with a top notch farm system (Nelson, Lee, Nino, Donovan, Mayfield, the list goes on and on). Snow has taken heat but stuck with the plan. We’re certainly throwing any parades, but hopefully this is the genesis of the next golden era of Isles hockey.

    With the new building and loads of cap room, the team is positioned financially to make this an extended run should these kids continue their growth.

  5. bobhpine - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    Good player. He will get handled in the playoffs. Happens to every first timer. I remember Spezza and Alfredsson eating Crosby’s lunch in ’07. That said, this kid hasn’t even overtaken Crosby in points for the season and he has played almost 20% more games.

    • tuberippin - Apr 19, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      The award is for the Most Valuable Player. The Pens have continued to win without Crosby. The Isles would be hard-pressed to be where they are now without Tavares.

  6. blackhawks2010 - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Tavares is having a great year, definitely in the conversation.

  7. jdrew506 - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    JT has gotten better and better each year and he is going to continue on that. And you have to be kidding if you are compairing his points to Crosby’s, look at the talent that Crosby plays with. Put JT with those players and Crosby with the ones JT plays with and see what happens. I am in no way saying Boyes and Molson are not good players however they are still young and growing as a team. The way this team is playing there is no reason to think they can not go far in the playoffs, if they dont get away from playing tgeir game. There are not many teams in the league that can keep up with their speed, add that to Martin leading the league in hits, AMac leading in blocked shots and Nabby tied for wins this team is very exciting to watch. Sorry for the spelling and grammer but just got finished with a 12 hour work day and then just finished watching a rewind of the domminating game they put on toronto.

    • islesjb - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      I’ve said it 100 times- There is not one player in the NHL that I would trade Tavares for. Not even Crosby, mainly because JT has youth on his side without the concussion issues.

      An argument can be made for Stamkos since I think he’s only one year older, but I’ll keep JT.

      I have no idea what team I’ve been watching this past month but I fkin love it. Let’s keep ROLLIN

    • jpelle82 - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      ok…i get that you like the guy you guys drafted and i agree he is worth the number one pick spent on him…but…if you look at kunitz crosby dupuis and boyes tavares moulson…crosby’s making his wingers better while jt is prospering because of his wingers. you can put crosby with anyone and he gets the art ross every year if he’s healthy. kunitz and dupuis were undrafted players and just lumped in with trades as throw away guys until they were teamed up with crosby. tavares has 19 assists as a center this year for 59th in the league and neither of his wingers are close to 20 goals yet. moulson has 27 assists and is tied for 18th in assists with kunitz. role reversal there with the winger feeding center for his goals. both kunitz and dupuis have 20 goals this year with crosby feeding them the puck though and they lead the league 1 & 2 in +/-. i would argue tavares is benefitting from skilled wingers (since his points are goal lopsided) more than his wingers benefitting from his centering abilities. brad boyes is a 1st round draft pick and has scored 20, 30, and 40 goals in a season already before coming to nyi. i will give credit to tavares for moulson’s consecutive 30 goal seasons – those two are like two peas in a pod, better than the sedin twins lately as far as chemistry goes. but you cant say crosby has better players on his line especially because of boyes – you put crosby’s passing with molson and molson puts 40 up every year instead of 30…no doubt.

      • islesjb - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        Saying that JT is having a good year because of his skilled wingers and that JT DOESN’T make players around him better is one of the more ridiculous viewpoints I’ve ever read on PHT.

        JT has REVIVED Brad Boyes career. He was a frigging 4th liner on Buffalo last year who many assumed was washed up. Boyes has been good on the first line (yet frustrating at times), but to say that Tavare’s year can be attributed to Boyes is ludicrous.

        Matt Moulson was a 9th round draft pick and waiver wire pickup. Since playing with Tavares he has scored over 100 goals- JT has been on the ice for practically every single one of them. Moulson’s high number of assists hasn’t been the norm- the last three years he’s had a significantly higher amount of goals than assists. He’s a good player on his own merit, but again, saying JT doesn’t make him better is asinine.

        PA Parenteau got cut by the Rangers before he came to the Isles. After two seasons with Tavares he was offered a multi-million dollar contract. Tavares has nothing to do with that right? (Props to PA for continuing to play great post-Tavares)

        So there you have- What you said is completely backwards.

      • tuberippin - Apr 19, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        I have to agree…normally I’m not this harsh, but this is arguably the dumbest thing I have ever seen posted on a PHT article, excepting comments meant to be troll posts.

        Seriously, what f**cking year do you think this is? Brad Boyes hasn’t scored more than 14 goals in a season since 2008-09. He had a total of 37 points in 86 games between 2010 and 2012; in 44 games this season, he has 34 points. But you’re right, it must be his play that’s suddenly turned around (note that he’s still not scoring goals anywhere near what he did back in the day), rather than playing on a line with John Tavares. Just like how PA Parenteau had a grand total of 9 points in his career before coming to the Islanders…and then posted a 53 point season and a 67 point season while playing on Tavares’ line. Yet somehow, inexplicably, you seem to think that it’s the wingers that make Tavares better, not the opposite, though it’s very clearly the opposite.

        You also seem to think that Chris Kunitz was a “throw-away” trade piece. He had a 50 point season (with 21 goals) and a 60 point season (with 60 goals) in the two years before Anaheim traded him to Pittsburgh.

        “i would argue tavares is benefitting from skilled wingers (since his points are goal lopsided) more than his wingers benefitting from his centering abilities.”

        I would argue your understanding of hockey must have tailed off around the time Barack Obama was first elected to the Presidency. That, or you’re just stupid.

        My reaction to your post:

      • islesjb - Apr 19, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        Well said- Penguins fans are the absolute worst and JT absolutely plowed this kid’s mom or sister or both. Only way to explain his irrational hate for Tavares.

        I’m about to leave work so I’m done responding to this moron

  8. jpelle82 - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    3rd in goals, 59th in assists, 9th in points. 1.02 ppg for 16th place there too. theres 10 defensmen above him in assists and tavares plays CENTER. i doubt he will even be a finalist, much less a winner. this run the islanders are making while impressive, has been without much help from tavares and his linemates until last night. last night was his first 3 point game since feb 16th. he has 9 pts in 9 games in april where the islanders have gone 7-0-2 and 4 of those games he has been off the score sheet alltogether. the only stat that might keep him in the conversation is his 34 pts in their 23 wins this year including 5 game winners.

    • islesjb - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      Bailey, Okposo, Grabner and Nabakov have been instrumental to this run but without Tavares, this team is no where. Stop commenting on the Isles, you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. Just another whiney, hating Penguins fan.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 19, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        ok, just ignore the facts, stats, and proof and blame it on the fact that i’m a penguins fan. dont actually contribute to the conversation or counter anything i’ve said. that would be too difficult for you i guess. the fact that you bring up parenteau makes me laugh because he clearly was the best player for the av’s this year…without tavares. boyes played for buffalo and was hurt the whole time. if tavares resurrected his career tavares would have more assists than his measely 19 and boyes would be back on a 30 goal pace…which he is not even close to. you act like he is an old man…he’s only 30 yrs old. as far as moulson goes, you cant deny the chemistry like i’ve already said but he is clearly a better scorer and skilled player than kunitz or dupuis. kunitz had 26 goals last year playing with malkin the mvp – he has 21 this year in half the time with crosby instead. dupuis same story. the two of them were on pace for 40 goals with crosby and neither have ever broke 30 in a year without crosby. tavares has most of his points against weak opponents – only 17pts in 24 games against playoff teams (bos, mtl, ott, pit, wash, tor, nyr) – also he’s -6 in those games. mvp’s show up for big games, tavares has 2 multi point games in those 24 games against good opponents. compare that to crosby against the same opponents – crosby is +20 with 32 pts in 20 games – including 9 pts against your islanders…tavares has 2 pts in 5 games vs the pens. no comparison, mvp’s show up for big games, tavares doesnt.

      • tuberippin - Apr 19, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        “mvp’s show up for big games, tavares doesnt.”

        Crosby doesn’t show up at all because he’s sitting with a broken jaw.

        I seriously hope your argument is premised entirely upon not liking the Islanders and isn’t a defense of Sidney Crosby for MVP.

      • islesjb - Apr 19, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        I refuted everything you said in my earlier post so I don’t know how I’m not “countering” anything.

        I never said PA and Moulson aren’t good players on their own merit (I specifically shouted out the contrary). What I was saying is that if you look at Tavares’s entire career, he was always made the players around him better, regardless of how many assists he has. To say that the only reason he’s been an all star is because he has been propped up by his wingers is ludicrous. He plays on the friggin Islanders- one of the lowest spending team in the league.

        Tavares’s lopsided G/A #’s has not been the norm in his career. He put up 50 assists last year with 31 goals and 38 assists the year before with 29 goals. All while playing with late round draft picks and waiver pick ups.

        You act like the fact that Tavares has more goals than assists this year means that he just stands in front of the net while Moulson and Boyes do all the work and all JT has to do is tap it in. Watch the games and stop relying on just numbers.

        The guy is a start and makes everyone around him better and always has. End of story

      • islesjb - Apr 19, 2013 at 3:39 PM

        jpelle- answer this honestly. If you could choose, starting today, separate from everything that’s happened in the past- would you take Tavares over Crosby straight-up?

        I think most people would say emphatically, yes.

        Tavares is 22 and has gotten exponentially better every year. Crosby is one bad concussion away from retirement.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 19, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        i dont know a single person that would take tavares over the best player in the world. youre insane. i watch the games. tavares is weak, gets most of his goals off rebounds and by floating around without the puck while the other guys create for him. i would take ovechkin, backstrom, giroux, nash, or callahan before tavares…and i hate those teams and players more than him. he is a slouch and he is lazy. if this were lacrosse i would take tavares over any of them but its not and hate to remind you again but he is not even close to mvp worthy.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 19, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        “Watch the games and stop relying on just numbers” – cause numbers dont matter right?
        numbers dont lie. sounds like a typical argument for someone who has nothing to stand on….”oh he does subjective things that no one can prove and are just matter of opinion so he’s the best because i think so”. keep holding onto that when the islanders are playing golf in may

      • islesjb - Apr 19, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        Your MVP can’t stay on the ice. Your MVP has concussion issues.

        Tavares is 22 and isn’t even close to reaching his potential. Ask a GM who the more valuable long term asset is.

        And jesus christ, sour grapes bro- did JT bang your mom or something? There is literally no reason to hate Tavares like you do.

        “tavares is weak, gets most of his goals off rebounds and by floating around without the puck while the other guys create for him.”- Baffling. That’s how I know you don’t watch the games. Go to youtube and type “John Tavares Highlight Reel” and enjoy. Good luck being a bitter douche as well.

      • islesjb - Apr 19, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        And I never said numbers don’t matter. I showed you the numbers moron. I showed you Tavares’s assist #’s that show what a playmaker he is.

        I never said, “Tavares is the best.” I never said he was better than Ovie or Crosby. He’s more valuable because of his youth and the fact that he hasn’t even reached his peak yet.

    • tuberippin - Apr 19, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      Crosby: 1st in points, not on the ice. You don’t win the MVP for sitting on the bench, injury or no injury. Deal with it.

  9. jlilly67 - Apr 19, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Big test for Isles will be opponents in playoffs taking away Tavares’ line. Do that and it gets thin real quick.

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