It meant something for John Tavares to be able to play in Sunday's preseason game at Nassau Coliseum.
It meant a lot more to be able to score the OT winner, as the captain led the Islanders to a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in front of a sellout crowd at NYCB Live.
"It was a lot of fun to be back out here. We know what this place means to everybody involved with the Islanders. It was a lot of fun, there was a lot of emotion out there," Tavares said. "We got a little extra time to extend it as we could and it was a nice way to cap this one off."
Tavares forced a turnover in the Flyers' end, skated the puck into the slot and beat goalie Leland Irving far side for the OT-winner, sending an already electric sellout crowd into a frenzy not often seen in the preseason.
Video: Tavares Scores OT Winner At Coliseum
"It had the atmosphere like most Saturday home games when we were here and pretty close to what we had in the playoffs," Tavares said. "I was fortunate that Dougie picked me to play today."
Tavares finished the day with two goals, starting an Islanders comeback in the second period after the Flyers took a 2-0 lead midway through the game on goals by Mike Vecchione and Jori Lehtera. Mathew Barzal scored the tying goal in the third period, as the rookie made an impact on the score sheet and on Head Coach Doug Weight.
"He showed well today," Weight said of Barzal. "Strong, some great decisions with the puck and he created a lot. I thought throughout our lineup we had guys who played their roles well."
Video: Barzal's Quick Move Ties It Up
Barzal was slotted in as the second-line center for Sunday's game, getting a chance to play with established veterans Andrew Ladd and Josh Bailey.
"I thought it was good. It was nice to get the legs under me a bit," Barzal said of his first preseason game. "Playing with Ladd and Bailey was super easy. Bails is obviously super skilled and Ladder is a really smart and gets greasy. They both made it really easy on me."
The Islanders continue their preseason on Monday night when they take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Check back to NewYorkIslanders.com for Monday's lineup.
Video: Tavares' First Of The Night
Video: Preseason Postgame: Doug Weight
Video: Preseason Postgame: John Tavares
Video: Preseason Postgame: Mathew Barzal