John Tavares recorded his seventh career hat-trick Tuesday night, as the New York Islanders beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-3 at Barclays Center.
Tavares finished the night with four points, three goals via deflection and an assist on Scott Mayfield's insurance marker. As a result, the Islanders picked up their third straight win, their fourth in five games and improved to 3-0-1 at home for the first time since the 1984-85 season.
"He was owning the puck, possessing the puck and he led us tonight," Head Coach Doug Weight said. "We needed his leadership tonight."
Video: ARI@NYI: Tavares collects seventh hat trick of career
Tavares' offense was ultimately the difference in what was otherwise a scrappy, back-and-forth game with the winless Coyotes, but fourth-line forward Casey Cizikas played a key role early. Down 1-0 off Anthony Duclair's power-play goal, the Islanders shorthanded unit, led by Cizikas, came up with a critical 5-on-3 kill to keep the Coyotes from going up two.
The 36-second 5-on-3 was more like a 5-on-2.5 after Cizikas' stick snapped in half and he lost his glove hitting the deck to swipe away a puck from Duclair. Cizikas' whatever-it-takes effort led the gutsy kill and gave the Islanders a spark midway through the first.
"I just tried to get in the shooting lane, try to do as much as possible to take away lanes with my skates," Cizikas said. "When it comes down to it, our D and Jaro played a huge role in that. That's a big turning point. It's a big kill for us, especially after giving that first one up."
Tavares tied the score 3:41 into the second period, tipping a Jordan Eberle pass top corner off his backhand for his first of the night. Tavares' second came at 14:25, when Adam Pelech's shot kicked off Tavares' skate, then his stick before sliding past Louis Domingue.
Video: Tavares leads Islanders to win with hat trick
Tavares made Islanders history in the second period, surpassing Bob Bourne for seventh all-time in Islanders goals (241) and John Tonelli for seventh all-time in Islanders points (547) with his first and second goals of the night.
But the Coyotes didn't go down easily, coming back to tie the score 2-2 and then again at 3-3 after Brock Nelson briefly put the Islanders ahead with a power-play goal. Tavares completed the hat trick with 7:19 to play, deflecting another Pelech shot past Domingue for the eventual winner.
Video: ARI@NYI: Nelson whips power-play goal past Domingue
"I don't think I tipped or deflected one in last year and I had three of them today, so it's nice to get them and when they come in a win, it's that much better," Tavares said.
Mayfield added the insurance with 2:57 to play, netting the first goal for an Islanders defenseman this season. The D corps finished with five points (1G, 4A) on Tuesday.
Video: ARI@NYI: Mayfield blasts one-timer from the point
Halak made 32 saves in the win, while Domingue stopped 20 in the loss.
The Islanders now head out on a two-game road trip beginning on Thursday night in Minnesota.
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