NHL New York Islanders

John Tavares Will Lead the New York Islanders Through Playoffs

James Guillory – USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders have made the playoffs.  Its the first time they’ve clinched a spot since the 2006-07 season and a big reason for that is Islanders center John Tavares.  The Islanders have had a really rough start to this abbreviated season, but they turned it around during the second half thanks, in large part, to Tavares.

Tavares, a likely candidate for the Hart Trophy this season, currently has 47 points (28G, 19A) for the season in 48 games he has played.  He is third in the race for goals scored behind Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.  The Islanders are so dependent on Tavares’ talents that their record (through this past Friday) when he scores at least a point is 19-6-1; when he doesn’t, it is 2-10-3, according to the New York Times.

The Islanders lost their last three away games against the Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres.  But they will need to find the momentum to take with them into the playoffs and Tavares will be a big part of that just like he was one of the biggest reasons why the Islanders are in the playoffs to begin with.  Now they have to rise to the occasion.

Stephanie Lewark is an NHL and Pittsburgh Penguins Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her Facebook page, or add her to your Google+ circle.