Brooklyn Boro

Isles enjoy happy homecoming at Barclays

Tavares, Okposo Spark New York to 5-2 Victory over Arizona

November 17, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
John Tavares celebrated his Bobblehead Night at Barclays Center with two goals and an assist in the Islanders’ 5-2 win over Arizona on Monday night. AP photo
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After an impressive West Coast swing, John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and the rest of the New York Islanders made the most of their first game back in Downtown Brooklyn since the Sunday before last, cruising to a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes Monday night in front of 11,841 fans at Barclays Center.

Tavares, whose bobblehead doll giveaway was all the rage on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, commemorated the evening in fine fashion, scoring two goals, including the game-sealing empty-netter, and handing out an assist as the Islanders (10-6-3, 23 points) improved to 3-1 since losing five of their previous six contests.

“It was a good team win. A lot of guys contributed tonight,” said Tavares, who leads New York with nine goals and is well on his way toward being considered for the league’s Hart Trophy (MVP) for the third time in four seasons.

Okposo racked up three assists, giving him 200 for his career, and was named the game’s first star after dishing out helpers on goals by Tavares, Frans Nielsen and Brock Nelson.

The Islanders, who will get three days off before beginning a home-and-home with Montreal Friday night at Barclays, opened a 4-0 lead on veteran winger Steve Bernier’s first goal of the season midway through the third period.

But the Coyotes answered with two quick scores in the final five minutes off New York goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who finished with 31 saves, before Tavares iced it with his unassisted empty-netter.

“We played some good hockey on the road trip [going 2-1 against San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim] and this is always a tough game,” said Okposo. “We did a heck of a job executing. Offensively we were pretty good, too.”

“Coming back from the west coast wasn’t easy,” admitted Tavares after helping the Isles improve to 6-3-2 in their new home. “I think if you ask most guys, they probably didn’t feel their best. But we battled through it and were strong mentally.”

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