Islanders 3 Oilers 1
SASKATOON — It didn’t take long for John Tavares to produce the first point of his young professional career.
The 2009 first-overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft assisted on Matt Moulson’s second period power-play goal Sunday as the New York Islanders beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 in pre-season play.
Tavares failed to register a point in his professional debut when the Oilers topped the Islanders 3-2 in Edmonton on Wednesday.
“It’s nice to get it,” said Tavares. “I knew my opportunities were going to come. Obviously it’s nice once you start to produce some offence.”
The rookie had a glorious opportunity to score his first NHL goal late in the second period, but Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk turned aside the breakaway attempt.
“I just wanted to make sure I got a good shot off,” said Tavares. “I tried to catch (Dubnyk) off guard going far side, but he made a good save.
“Hopefully I can get my first one soon.”
Radek Martinek opened the scoring for the Islanders early in the first, rifling a shot past Dubnyk from just beyond the hash marks.
Later in the period, Josh Bailey pounced on a Blake Comeau rebound to put the Islanders up 2-0.
Tavares’ first point came midway through the second when he centred to Moulson, who deflected the puck past Dubnyk.
Patrick O’Sullivan broke Martin Biron’s shutout bid shortly after courtesy of an Islanders’ defensive miscue that left him alone in front of the net.
Jeff Tambellini, a buzzsaw all night for the Islanders, had two assists.
The Oilers failed to generate much offence in the first two periods, managing only 13 shots on goal. The third was much busier for Biron, but the Oilers were never really a threat.
Biron looked sharp in stopping 23 shots and being named the game’s first star, making his claim to start in the Islanders’ goaltending carousel which also includes Dwayne Roloson and Rick DiPietro.
“If you look at the locker-room there are a lot of guys battling for a spot with the team,” said Biron. “That competition is healthy, it’s great for the team (because) it makes everybody play better, certainly for us in net.”
The win wrapped up the Islanders’ week-long training camp stint in Saskatoon, which began Sept. 13.
The Islanders were victorious in both games they played at Credit Union Centre, beating the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Saturday.
“I thought it was a consistent 60 minute effort by our players right from the get go (tonight),” said Islanders’ head coach Scott Gordon.
“It didn’t matter who was in the line up (Saturday or Sunday), both groups executed perfectly. The fact that we can mix it up and get the same response from every player is excellent.”
New York travels to Kansas City to play Los Angeles on Tuesday while the Oilers head home to play Calgary on Wednesday.