BOSTON — John Tavares was hardly in a mood to celebrate his 200th career goal, given the 3-1 loss his Islanders suffered on Saturday afternoon.
But it was a weekend for a bit of celebration and reflection for Tavares, whose uncle, also named John, was hailed in a jersey retirement ceremony in Buffalo on Friday night to commemorate a legendary pro lacrosse career.
“It was pretty special to watch it on TV (Friday) night,” said the Isles captain, who delivered a video message played during the ceremony in Buffalo. “He was my hero growing up. Not a lot of kids can have a family member do what he did so I feel pretty lucky to have had him in my life.”
The elder Tavares’ No. 11 went to the rafters in First Niagara Center after a career that finished with him as the NLL’s all time leading scorer.
His nephew scored a pretty fancy goal on Saturday. After Kyle Okposo circled the Bruins net and lost the puck, Tavares was there to quickly roof a backhand over Tuukka Rask, becoming the 11th player in Islanders history to score 200 with the team.
“I didn’t really know about it until a couple days ago,” Tavares said. “It’s 200 and hopefully there’s a couple hundred more . . . I don’t think 200 is that many goals.”
Tavares leads the Islanders with 26 goals and he now has 10 goals and 10 assists in 19 games since the All-Star break. That’s more like his usual production after a real slog the first 44 games of his season, when he posted 16 goals and 18 assists and had stretches when he did not look like himself.
He played with different linemates again on Saturday, skating between Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo, a trio that finished Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout loss in Toronto but did not start that game together. Tavares has had a jumble of linemates all season, something the Islanders may try hard to address this coming offseason.
Tavares and Okposo have played together so rarely that Saturday’s goal was just the fifth of Tavares’ 20 even strength goals that Okposo has assisted.
But the captain’s only concern after the loss was the way his team played, not the milestone he reached.
“I’m just not really thinking about that at all,” he said. “I’m focused on the disappointment of losing this one.”
Which, of course, is part of what makes Tavares so special.
“It’s too bad we couldn’t get the W to make this a game for him to remember,” coach Jack Capuano said. “He’s going to score many more.”
John Tavares became the 11th player to score at least 200 goals for the Islanders. The 200 Club:
11. John Tavares 200