Tavares scored 3:16 into overtime as the Islanders rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in the season finale on Saturday night.
Tavares, set to be a free agent in the offseason, broke down the left wing and snapped a wrist shot past Red Wings goalie Jared Coreau on the stick side.
The New York captain, who has repeatedly said he hopes to remain with the only franchise he’s played for, downplayed any suggestion that it might be his last goal as an Islander, while still savoring the moment.
”I think it’s just a good feeling to win and when you get the winner, it makes it feel a little extra special,” Tavares said. ”Just a good way to finish the year.”
Ryan Pulock’s power-play goal with 29.7 seconds left in regulation sent the game to the extra period as Detroit squandered a 3-1 lead. It was his 10th of the season, which leads all NHL rookie defensemen.
Anders Lee got his 40th goal and Andrew Ladd also scored for the Islanders (35-37-10) James Washington Color Rush Jersey , who are missing the playoffs for the second straight year and eighth in the last 11. Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots to help New York win its third straight, its best streak since a three-game run Jan. 7-15.
Mathew Barzal had two assists for the Islanders to give him 63, tying Bryan Trottier’s franchise record for a rookie set in 1975-76. It also tied Barzal with Penguins star Sidney Crosby (2005-06) for the second-most in the NHL by a rookie since the 1983-84 season. Joe Juneau leads that list with 70 for Boston in 1992-93.
”Those are pretty impressive players to be tied with,” Islanders coach Doug Weight said.
Henrik Zetterberg, Justin Abdelkader and Dylan Larkin scored for the Red Wings (30-39-13), who are also missing the postseason for a second straight season after making it in 25 straight. Larkin’s goal was his seventh in the last 10 games. Coreau finished with 35 saves.
The loss was Detroit’s 27th one-goal setback of the season.
”We’ve kind of seen it before,” Zetterberg said. ”There’s probably a lot of things that can change. I think the inconsistency we have is hurting us.”
Lee started the comeback with a backhander over Coreau’s shoulder at 6:25 of the third to pull the Islanders to 3-2. He became the franchise’s first player with 40 goals since Jason Blake in 2006-07.
”That’s a big number in today’s game,” Weight said. ”Forty goals is something not a lot of people in our league can say they did.”
Detroit opened the scoring 7:13 into the game when Zetterberg threw the puck toward the Islanders’ net from the side boards and it deflected off Tavares past Greiss.
The Islanders tied it 3:51 into the second period as Ladd took a feed from Cal Clutterbuck in the slot and zipped a quick shot by Coreau on the glove side.
Zetterberg’s pass in front to Abdelkader banked into the net off Abdelkader’s right skate to give the Wings a 2-1 advantage with 8:02 left in the second.
Larkin made it 3-1 at the 4:10 mark of the third period, chipping a loose puck over Greiss as the goaltender was reaching out with his stick to poke it away to safety.
NOTES: Zetterberg played in all 82 of Detroit’s games for the third straight season. … Red Wings C Luke Glendening returned after missing one game with an upper body injury. … Detroit placed Coreau on waivers Saturday. If he clears Brandon Parker Color Rush Jersey , he will be assigned to AHL Grand Rapids for the Calder Cup playoffs. … Abdelkader’s goal was his 100th in the NHL. … The Red Wings and Islanders combined for 29 goals in three games this season. . Barzal leads all NHL rookies with 27 power-play points.
Islanders: End of regular season. Did not qualify for the playoffs.
Red Wings: End of regular season. Did not qualify for the playoffs.
With the best regular-season record in the NBA all locked up, the Houston Rockets have begun looking ahead to the playoffs.
The Rockets still have two games remaining before postseason play begins next week, however, and they don’t plan on taking any chances against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
Those who are healthy will play at least some against the Lakers, but the Rockets (64-16) will likely keep shooting guard Eric Gordon and stretch forward Ryan Anderson on the bench as they recover from ankle injuries.
“We’re going to be very careful with whoever plays, let’s put it that way,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told the Houston Chronicle. “When we play, we’re going to play hard. It might be for three quarters, it might be for a half Mike Remmers Color Rush Jersey , it might be for a quarter. That will be determined.
“Most guys want to play. If somebody needs a break, we’ll give him one, but we’ll be very careful about how much we play.”
Houston forward James Harden seems like a lock to win his first NBA scoring title. He’s averaging 30.6 points, though he has only bettered that mark once in the past eight games. He’s third in the NBA at 8.7 assists after leading the league in that category last season (11.2).
Winning individual awards means little to Harden at this point of his career, however.
“The ultimate goal is holding that trophy up,” Harden said. “So until we do that, there’s no celebrations. … We haven’t done anything yet.”
Los Angeles (34-46) will be playing its final home game of the season.
The Lakers will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season, but there’s plenty of optimism heading into the offseason.
The player generating the most excitement lately is rookie shooting guard Josh Hart, who’s coming off back-to-back 20-point games for the first time this season.
Hart had 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 113-96 loss to the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night Jets Sam Darnold Jersey , and then came back with 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting in a 112-97 loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday.
“Throughout the season, every time he gets the opportunity to play big minutes or have a bigger role, he has been pretty good for us,” Lakers coach Luke Walton told reporters after the game against Utah. “He is one of our best finishers, he’s one of our best rebounders, and he can push it in transition.”
Hart started in place of another rookie on Sunday. Kyle Kuzma missed the game after spraining an ankle against Minnesota. Los Angeles was also without rookie point guard Lonzo Ball (knee) and forward Brandon Ingram (concussion protocol).
“He’s done a nice job of figuring out what the NBA game is about,” Walton said. “I think he’s another one of those guys that’s going to have a big offseason, now that he’s gotten to experience guarding James Harden, guarding other teams’ best players Jonathan Allen Color Rush Jersey , elite scorers, and also figured out where he can get his shots.”
Hart scored a season-high 26 points against the Rockets on Dec. 31, going 9 of 13 from the field in a 148-142 loss in Houston..