Predators coach Trotz compliments Tavares

John Tavares of the Islanders and David Legwand

John Tavares of the Islanders and David Legwand of the Predators battle for the puck in the third period. (Jan. 16, 2012) (Credit: David Pokress)

Despite the fact that the Islanders were down early and deeply, there still was reason for excitement every time John Tavares was on the ice Monday. There always is a sense that something positive is going to happen for the Islanders when he is out there.

And it did, when he broke up the Predators' shutout with his 16th goal of the season at 16:02 of the third period. It extended the first-time All-Star's point streak to nine games and actually stirred some late life into the Islanders' 3-1 defeat.

"We usually see just snapshots. When you see him in person, he's much quicker," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "Where he has really improved is his strength on the puck. It's so much better. He's a special guy and the game slows down for those special players. It's slowing down even more for him, which is good news for Islanders fans and bad news for the rest of us in this league."

It appeared for a moment as if there were bad news for Tavares when he couldn't get out of the way of a shot by Mark Streit in the first period. The puck caromed more than 30 feet to the crease. Not a problem, though. "It hit my heel," Tavares said, adding that he will be fine for the game Tuesday in Washington.

Hamonic thinks with feet

Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, who had a rare minus-1 rating for the day after having been plus-8 in the previous three games on the homestand, came up moving slowly after getting hit on the foot. "Shea Weber has got one of the hardest shots in the league," he said of the Predators' captain. But Hamonic also was OK, because of protective footgear. "I wear Shot Blockers for a reason,'' he said. "I definitely don't wear them for style points."

Preds' Suter hurt

Ryan Suter, a solid defenseman for the Predators, suffered an upper-body injury. He is doubtful for the Predators-Rangers game Tuesday night.

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