clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

John Tavares found a 2nd gear when the Panthers had none left

Breaking down the goal that send the Islanders to the second round.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Every moment matters in the Stanley Cup playoffs, especially when one mistake or terrific decision can lead to a season-altering goal in overtime. With that in mind, we'll dive in deep with a video breakdown for every game-winning overtime goal of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs to highlight the little things that you might've missed while celebrating or crying.

* * *

The goal that sent the New York Islanders to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1993 depended on one star rising above his competitors to out-class another.

As NBCSN analyst Ray Ferraro pointed out on Sunday, you draft a world-class talent at first overall hoping he'll someday rise to the occasion in high stakes playoff situations. John Tavares fulfilled that expectation yet again with two goals and the game-winner in Game 6 for the Islanders.

Make no mistake: this goal relied on the excellence of Tavares and the exhaustion of the Panthers.


Thanks again to Mike Darnay for making this. This might be the most simple overtime goal of the playoffs to examine so far.



Roberto Luongo makes the save, and the Panthers have at least one defender on every Islander in the play. Everything checks out so far, right?

Well ...


Spot the problem?

The obvious sign of trouble is that there are now four Panthers defenders on one side of the net as Tavares is breaking around behind it.

That guy shoving an Islander out of the way is Panthers forward Teddy Purcell. It's a nice idea, but pointless. Kyle Okposo is nowhere near a rebound chance. More importantly, Purcell doesn't recognize that Tavares has the puck behind the net. Brian Campbell is trapped, Luongo is miles out of position and Purcell is the only guy nearby to save them.

Instead ...


The other reality here is that Luongo didn't track the puck well. In that split second where he loses it, Tavares gathers it and spins around the net.

So the blame goes to ...

Campbell, Purcell and Luongo. Campbell for overpursuing and not securing the puck, Purcell for inattention and Luongo for a fatal split-second of confusion.

But maybe we should just blame Tavares. When everyone was exhausted, he found a second gear to split the defense, gain separation and beat Luongo to the far side. As elite players are wont to do.