Maple Leafs’ John Tavares to face familiar Islanders

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2021-11-21 18:13:24 GMT+00:00 – If there’s any opposing participant familiar with the world saga of the New York Islanders, it may be John Tavares.

Since becoming a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tavares confronted the Islanders 3 times at a barely renovated Nassau Coliseum and heard boos every time he touched the puck.

Tavares possible will hear them once more Sunday evening when Toronto visits New York for the second recreation on the newly opened UBS Arena in Elmont, N.Y., adjoining to Belmont Park. But regardless of the hostility of his former followers, he’s completely happy concerning the new constructing opening.

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“I think it’s tremendous for the franchise and fan base,” Tavares mentioned after Toronto’s morning skate on Saturday. “It’s something that has been hanging over them for a long time, probably decades. Not only is it a new building, it’s their building.”

Tavares made his debut with the Islanders in 2009 as that 12 months’s high general draft choose. In 2016, he helped the Islanders win their first postseason collection since 1993 by scoring in double additional time in Brooklyn towards the Florida Panthers — a 12 months after the Islanders performed their last recreation at Nassau Coliseum, solely to return there on a cut up foundation.

Then he signed together with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs in free company following the 2017-18 season after scoring 272 regular-season targets in 669 video games for the Islanders.

While Tavares has spent three-plus seasons in his hometown, the Islanders had been laying the groundwork for his or her new area after years of hypothesis, they usually opened the constructing by shedding 5-2 to the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

“We have a home now,” Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield mentioned. “We’ve talked about it leading up to it with what guys have gone through. Brooklyn, split seasons, closing out the Coliseum. … It’s special to be home.”

Although it was a particular evening for opening the brand new area, it has been a irritating week for the Islanders. Besides being outscored 24-6 in a five-game shedding streak, the Islanders are taking part in with out captain Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Ross Johnston and Anthony Beauvillier together with defensemen Adam Pelech and Andy Greene due to COVID-19 protocols.

“It’s an incredible building; the atmosphere was electric. Not the results we were looking for, but the fans showed up, they were excited.” New York’s Kyle Palmieri mentioned after Brock Nelson scored twice in a recreation the place the Islanders fell behind 4 minutes in.

Besides getting their first look on the NHL’s latest constructing, the Maple Leafs hope to begin a four-game journey by rebounding from a 2-0 loss to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday that halted a five-game Toronto profitable streak.

“This game’s over with,” Toronto’s Mitch Marner mentioned. “Can’t dwell on this too long, or else it’s going to go into tomorrow night’s game.”

Toronto will head to Long Island on a formidable 10-2 stretch since dropping 4 straight final month and has six one-goal wins, with three of these in additional time.

“We do have a tough road trip ahead,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe mentioned. “So this one here certainly gets everybody’s attention.”

Tavares leads the Maple Leafs with eight targets and 16 factors.

–Field Level Media

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Nov 20, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;   Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91) skates with the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period at Scotiabank Arena.   Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports