John Tavares scored a natural hat-trick on Saturday night, as the New York Islanders scored a 6-2 win over the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Tavares' three straight goals turned a 3-1 Islanders lead into a 6-1 advantage by the 7:26 mark of the third period. The Islanders power play also netted a hat-trick, going 3-for-5, as the Isles bounced back from Thursday's loss in Minnesota for their fourth win in five games.
"I think overall we played a pretty good game," Tavares said. "It's a tough league, playing a really good team in a tough building to win in, so overall, a pretty good effort. Hard to be too critical of anything tonight."
Video: NYI@NSH: Tavares completes hat trick with PPG
Tavares's eighth-career hat-trick sealed the game, but the power play got the Islanders started. After going 2-for-33 to start the season, the Islanders more than doubled their output on Saturday night, one day after Head Coach Doug Weight shuffled his personnel.
Video: Tavares notches hat trick in Islanders' 6-2 win
One of those changes was inserting Ryan Pulock back into the lineup after a two-game absence. Pulock was key to the power play's success, scoring a goal and an assist with the man advantage. Of the Islanders four power-play goals this season, Pulock has been in on three of them, despite only playing in three games.
Video: NYI@NSH: Pulock wires one-timer past Saros for PPG
"He certainly earned some stripes today," Weight said of Pulock. "He played well, he shot the puck and most importantly to me, I thought he was a physical asset in our zone. He played the game with some heavy assertiveness."
Eberle scored his first two goals as an Islander on Saturday, en route to a three-point night (2G, 1A). Eberle's first came on the Islanders' first power play, snapping a wrister through Juuse Saros at 4:21 of the first period and his second snuck through the Predators backup in the final minute of the second.
Video: NYI@NSH: Eberle pots first goal as an Islander
"I just want to continue to contribute," Eberle said. "It was good to get a win tonight. We obviously didn't play well in Minnesota, so it was a good bounce-back game for us."
Eberle's first opened the scoring Saturday, giving the Islanders a 1-0 lead in a period they out-attempted the Predators 21-11.
The Predators got on the board early in the second period, as Filip Forsberg cleaned up a Kevin Fiala rebound to tie the score 1-1. The Islanders used their power play to retake the lead midway through the period. Anthony Beauvillier (2A) - a recent addition to the Islanders second unit - fed Pulock a one-timer that he blew by Saros at 9:49.
Video: NYI@NSH: Eberle pots his second goal of the game
The Islanders new-look second line of Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal and Eberle came together to put the Isles up 3-1 before the end of the second. Eberle ultimately finished the play with his second of the night.
Up 3-1, the Islanders didn't hold back in the third period. Tavares made it 4-1 12 seconds into the period, then got a stick on a pin balling puck to make it 5-1 at 2:52. Tavares completed the trick on the power play, blasting a one-timer top corner at 7:26. Nashville's Craig Smith made it 6-2 at 13:57 to round out the scoring.
Video: NYI@NSH: Tavares pads Islanders' lead with tap-in
NOTES AND NUMBERS:
Josh Bailey extended his point streak to six games with an assist on Saturday. Bailey now has nine points (2G, 7A) on his streak… Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves in the win, while Saros stopped 17 in the loss… Anders Lee's two assists extended his point streak to five games (4G, 4A).
Video: NYI@NSH: Tavares banks puck in off opponent's skate
The Islanders return home on Monday to play the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.