This was a game the Islanders needed, clearly. They had to snap a four-game losing streak, but they also had to play the sort of game that gives them life. Led by John Tavares' line and backed up by another strong performance from goalie Kevin Poulin, it was a top-to-bottom effort in the Isles' 3-1 win over the Predators at the Coliseum Tuesday night. "It was a good game for us, getting the two points. It was good to see everything clicking," said Tavares, who had a goal and assist and threw a healthy scare into his team and the 12,108 in the building when he tumbled heavily into the boards midway through the third period. Tavares got to the bench slowly, took a power-play shift and then went down the runway to the Isles' dressing room to try and stretch out his hip. He returned for the final 5:30. "It's a little sore right now," he said. "Hopefully it's nothing too bad. I expect to be fine with some treatment." The Isles jumped on the struggling Predators, who came in having lost consecutive 5-0 decisions and had Marek Mazanec making his first career start in goal. The Isles held a 21-3 edge in shots attempted at the halfway mark of the first, rolling four lines effectively and skating in transition well. On their third power play of the first period, the Isles finally struck. Frans Nielsen poked a loose puck out to the slot where Tavares got it, alone. He beat Mazanec for his eighth goal of the season at 15:30, giving the Isles the lead. Just 1:53 later, Nielsen won a rare draw (the Isles were just 22 of 60 on faceoffs) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard circled in the Nashville zone, then snapped off a sharp-angle shot that squeezed between the post and Mazanec for a much-needed, two-goal lead through one period. "We had a tough road trip and we've got this little homestand here, so we wanted to get out strong," said Bouchard, who has goals in two straight. "Guys were on the puck, skating, checking."
Tavares sparks much-needed win for Islanders, 3-1 over Predators
Newsday | Nov 13