John Tavares is on-pace for 82 points, which would set a new career high for the New York Islanders star, besting his previous mark by one point. But even if he doesn’t set his career high, he can point to his goal on Thursday night as an indication of how great he has been in 2014-15.
With the Islanders down by two midway through the second period, Tavares crossed the red line with three Bruins defending his solo rush. So, naturally, the shifty center flipped the puck over the heads of the three defenders, beat them all in a foot race to the rebound that bounced off the pads of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and chipped the puck to the back of the net.
The most incredible part of this goal is that he even thought to attempt this. If this were the All-Star Game – in which Tavares scored four goals – maybe this is something you try. Maybe. But the Islanders captain went for it in the middle of a game against an incredibly respectable opponent like Boston.
Aside from the guts it took to give this a go, it’s hard not to appreciate the execution. After all, if Tavares attempts and fails, we’re never talking about this play. The dump-in on Rask hit the netminder in the exact spot it needed to, Tavares had just enough room to split the defensemen, and then he outmuscled Boston blueliner Kevan Miller to tap the loose puck home.
It may not be goal of the year, but it’s one of the most creative markers of the season.