Isles' Tavares breaks his goal-scoring drought

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With his goal that gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 5:38 in the first period Saturday night, rookie John Tavares halted his biggest slump of the season. As a bonus, he also scored in the shootout.

Tavares, who is the rookie scoring leader, entered the game with a festering nine-game goal drought and only three points in the previous 16 games. But Tavares sensed the end was near.

"I hope so," he said before the game. "I've been playing better and better. The last game, I had a lot of opportunities, a lot of shots on net, and it was a good game to build on."

Coach Scott Gordon agreed and viewed Tuesday's performance against the Red Wings as a good omen.

"After the game John had against Detroit, I really think it's right around the corner for him. He's doing a lot of the little things right," Gordon said.

During the nine-game stretch, Tavares focused on improving other aspects of his game, hoping that his work would translate to better results.

 

Okposo stepping up

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Speaking of slumps, Kyle Okposo has rebounded well from the 18-game span in which he struggled to find the back of the net.

Okposo has four goals in the past four games and leads the Islanders in scoring with 31 points (10 goals and 21 assists).

But despite his spike in goal-scoring, Okposo said he has not made any modifications in his game. The only difference? He's getting the bounces now.

"Absolutely," Okposo said when asked if his four-game point streak has given him a lift. "Any time you score goals and contribute, it gives you confidence."

Nate Thompson, Jeff Tambellini and Martin Biron were healthy scratches. Dwayne Roloson, 7-0-1 in his last eight starts, served as Rick DiPietro's backup.

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