Don’t look now, but the Islanders have won four of their last five games and are within four points of a playoff spot.
Led by a resurgent John Tavares, the Isles (20-17-9, 49 points) have looked rejuvinated since interim coach Doug Weight, who called Wednesday’s 4-2 statement win against the Blue Jackets “one of our best efforts of the year,” took the helm after Jack Capuano was fired on Jan. 17.
Tavares has rebounded after a quiet 12-point December with his team in the cellar. The captain’s most prolific stretch of the season began with a Jan. 13 hat trick against the Panthers, and he leads the team with 11 points over the Isles’ last seven games. The team’s lone All-Star is getting plenty of scoring opportunities, having finished with at least six shots on goal in three of the last seven games after not doing so since Nov. 1.
The first-line center has performed even better under Weight, registering three goals and three assists since the interim coach took over.
“At this point in the year, you’re not always feeling your best,” Tavares told reporters after assisting on two goals in Wednesday’s victory at Barclays Center. “It’s a big win, and we’ve got to carry it through the break.”
Tavares and company hope to finish the first half on a strong note Thursday night at home against the Canadiens before the break.