With 29 seconds to go in overtime, Tavares got the puck from Travis Hamonic at center ice. He darted toward the far boards, and started to make his move. Tavares beat Richard Panik cleanly over the blue line, then used a fake-wide-cut-inside move to draw the attention of both Leafs' defensemen, as he pulled the puck to his forehand and beat Jonathan Bernier through the five hole for overtime winner.
"[On that play], I'm kind of just reacting. I just tried to gain some speed, and I saw the defenseman kind of back off and kind of give me the lane to the net. I just able to hesitate enough to open up Bernier, and I was just happy it trickled in. I didn't get a whole lot of it, so [it was] just nice it went in.
Tavares also had assist and four shots in 22:12 of ice time. He leads the league in points with 72, three over Alex Ovechkin.
Just when you think you've seen it all from the Islanders captain, he does something like this. The move was flat out filthy. Tavares beat three of the four Leafs players on the ice before depositing the puck into the net and grabbing two big points for the Isles on Monday. It was a thing of beauty. I don't know what made me smile more: the goal itself or Tyler Kennedy's face when Tavares converted that looked somewhere between pure joy about the win and sheer bewilderment at how JT pulled it off.
Is there any doubt this guy should win the Hart Trophy at season's end? Not in my book. I think you can easily make a case that Tavares is the best player in the NHL, and the impact he has on the Islanders -- from nasty moves like this to his day in, day out leadership shows why he's MVP material.