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NHL New York Islanders

2013 NHL Playoffs: John Tavares Must Step Up for New York Islanders

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders stood just one chance of advancing deep into the NHL playoffs this season, and that would be if John Tavares came up with the best games of his career. The Islanders have started in early trouble after losing 5-0 in Game 1 of their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Game 2 is Friday night, and if the Islanders don’t want to get swept right out of the playoffs, this is going to need to be a game where Tavares scores at least once.

Tavares finished the regular season with 47 points in 48 games including 28 goals. He was the obvious leader of the team from a scoring aspect. It was probably the worst thing to happen for the Islanders to finish with the eighth seed and had to play the top seed in the Eastern Conference with how good Pittsburgh is this season. New York has depended on Tavares all year long to pick them up when they are struggling. I would think that there is some pride in there for him to do something to support his team in Game 2.

He didn’t have a single shot on goal during Game 1, and that obviously must change. The Islanders must put up at least three or four goals against the Penguins if they want to have a chance to win since their goaltending isn’t very good. I would hope that Tavares can do some of that damage so the team can go home with at least some sort of confidence in their ability. I’m sure the Islanders knew that it wasn’t going to be easy to beat Pittsburgh, but they had to hope to play better in Game 1. The effort will be definitely different from Tavares and the Islanders during Game 2.

Andy Schmidt is a writer/columnist for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.