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John Tavares is the first Islander to play in an NHL All-Star game since Mark Streit in 2009. Michael Grabner made it to the skills competition last year as a rookie but did not play in the game itself.
Tavares managed to shine in both the skills competition and the game. The announcers at one point during the skills competition even compared him to his native legends Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros.
It was all fun and games during the skills competition, but some players took it seriously. While Patrick Kane’s goofy antics got him attention, John Tavares was also praised for his pure skill during the Breakaway Challenge. Tavares was placed at one of the hardest angles for the relay challenge and he managed to shine in that as well. Tavares got one-timer passes sent down the ice from a tough angle parallel to the net and he helped his team earn the point with the shortest time.
Tavares also managed to make it to the third round of the elimination shootout along with Steven Stamkos, who won the whole challenge for team Alfredsson.
The game was expected to be high scoring and back and forth. It was all of the above. One name you heard mentioned in the broadcast a lot was Tavares. He netted the tying goal at the end of the first period to make the game 3-3. That might have been his only goal of the game, but that wasn’t all he did. Tavares sent a perfect pass in front of the net to Milan Michalek of the Ottawa Senators, once again tying the game 7-7. Eventually Team Chara ran away with the scoreboard ending the game 12-9.
“I worked hard to get where I am. It’s obviously great playing with such talented players. It’s a special thing. These guys are the best in the world, and to be part of that group is tough to believe. It’s still sinking in.” – John Tavares
Tavares heads back to Long Island to start the remainder of the season. It is now crunch time for the Islanders and he has to bring the All-Star momentum with him. The Islanders are only five games out of a playoff spot and three wins away from breaking .500 in their record (19-22-7).
They return to the ice Tuesday night at 7 p.m. to take on the Carolina Hurricanes.