If there is one thing that John Tavares’ NHL First Star of the Week honor reaffirms, it’s how he takes over the NHL in the month of January.
A Tavares surge in January is about as reliable as a crowded gym after New Year’s. The Islanders captain already has 12 points (5g/7a) in six games this month, averaging two points-per-game. Of course, two points are merely an average, as Tavares put up a five-spot (3g/2a) against the Dallas Stars on Jan. 6 and followed it up with three assists the next night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Stars got a second helping of Tavares-in-January last night, as the league’s second-leading scorer had two points, including the game-winning goal. So far, the Islanders are 5-1-0 this month.
Tavares has already outdone himself compared to last year, when he scored 11 points (4g/7a) in seven January games. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a full January last season, so what Tavares could have done remains a mystery, but he still helped the team to a 4-2-1 record.
Of course, all his January production is going to be compared to the 2011-12 season, the true benchmark of his January potential. The then third-year player scored 22 points (9g/13a) in 13 January games, taking home the NHL’s first star of the month award. Among Tavares’ exploits were six multi-point games, four game-winning goals and a 10-game point streak (6g/11a)*.
The Islanders played the Carolina Hurricanes three times in January 2012 and Tavares had nine points (4g/5a). Overall, the Islanders went 7-5-1.
There are still 10 games on the Islanders January schedule this season, so Tavares needs just over a point-per-game to set a new high-water mark. If he keeps it up, the NHL will have to start calling it Johnuary.
*The 2012 point streak actually lasted 12 games, as it started on Dec. 29 with a goal and an assist against Calgary.