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Tavares leads rising Isles past struggling Leafs

Jan 7, 2014, 10:24 PM EDT

John Tavares Getty Images

John Tavares and the New York Islanders seem like they might just be turning things around. On Tuesday, that meant making it appear that the opposite is true for the Maple Leafs, as the Isles topped Toronto 5-3.

Islanders climb

Simply put, Tavares has been dazzling. Chew on this: he has eight points (three assists tonight, a hat trick and two helpers on Monday) in the last two nights. He’s also rising up the ranks of the NHL’s top scorers, as his 54 points tie him with Patrick Kane for second in the league.

(Apparently getting into town late and facing back-to-backs can’t stop the Canadian Olympian.)

The Islanders have won two in a row and five of their last six games after seemingly looking left for dead in mid-December. It remains to be seen how Evgeni Nabokov‘s IR stint may affect the team, but so far, they’re winning with Kevin Poulin back in net.

Wilting Leafs

Jonathan Bernier has often been brilliant this season, but he allowed four goals in tonight’s defeat after giving up five goals and being pulled in an embarrassing loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday. While he’s often carried a sorely out-chanced Leafs club this season, Randy Carlyle pinned three of tonight’s four goals on the 25-year-old, the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle reports.

“It was one of those games,” Bernier said.

Toronto faces three of its next four games on the road, so it’s up to Carlyle & Co. to figure out how to avoid more of those games.

  1. dkphilly1122 - Jan 7, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    Tavares is a freaking machine…….I loveeeeee watching this kid play. This as a Flyers fan. He just is exciting to watch. Plus he is still young!!!!

  2. blomfeld - Jan 7, 2014 at 11:33 PM


    How does Wang’s lowly team do a number like this on the 1.3 billion ‘self anointed’ Super-Leafs ? The entire notion is preposterous at best and yet I’m feeling bad right now for our former comrade Jonathan Bernier … hang in there friend and stay strong, for a new day is sure to come, God willing


    • lowenni - Jan 7, 2014 at 11:49 PM

      Where do you find these songs….

      • blomfeld - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:09 AM

        um, like the internets ? …

  3. bcisleman - Jan 7, 2014 at 11:47 PM

    No accident Isles started playing better when Brian Strait returned. Now they are suddenly 6 points out of a playoff spot with 37 games to go. The question will be whether to trade Vanek if the Isles keep climbing and Vanek does not re-sign before the deadline.

    • rjmisles1980 - Jan 8, 2014 at 8:53 AM

      Vanek has been quoted as saying he enjoys the team and has enjoyed his time with the Islanders, but there has also been talk that it is a done deal and he is going to Minnesota next year. Snow can not let him walk for nothing, he would have to trade him and get something in return if Vanek fails to sign.

    • jl9830 - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      Strait is awful. It’s actually no accident they started playing better when Nabokov came back.

      • garyreasons55 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        I used to agree that Strait was awful but since he’s come back he’s been a solid Dman for our standards. I think it was a combo of a few things. Vanek came back and really started clicking with JT and KO, Nabby came back playing well, CALVIN de HAAN playing great D for us, and also according to Butchie the Isles changed their D system to a more traditional and more conservative style which has helped the young dmen. You would think that Snow is working his butt off trying to get Vanek signed before the deadline but he is Garth Snow and they are the Islanders so who knows. Yeah, and not to mention that the Leafs had the whole 2’nd period as a PP and still lost.

  4. pftfan - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:32 AM

    If Vanek doesn’t sign before the deadline they NEED to trade him. Letting Vanek bolt for somewhere else and losing a First AND Second Rounder in the process is GM gross negligence at its finest.

  5. sunderlanding - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Doesn’t it seem like Bernier lets in one flukey, or crappy, goal a game? Carolina icing in the net, the poke check that bounced into his net, that stupid one last night, the horrible five hole goal against the Rangers. The list goes on. Sure his technique is great, but I question his mental game. Riemer seems to be stronger mentally.

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