Maple Leafs’ John Tavares meets well-known islanders

11/20/2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs striker John Tavares (91) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period at Scotiabank Arena. Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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2021-11-21 18:13:24 GMT + 00: 00 – If there’s one opposing player familiar with the New York Islanders arena saga, it could be John Tavares.

Since joining the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tavares competed three times against the Islanders in a slightly renovated Nassau Coliseum and heard boos every time he touched the puck.

Tavares will likely hear them again on Sunday night when Toronto visits New York for the second game at the newly opened UBS Arena in Elmont, NY, next to Belmont Park. But despite the hostility of his former fans, he is happy about the opening of the new building.

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“I think it’s great for the franchise and the fan base,” said Tavares after Toronto’s morning skate on Saturday. “It’s something that has hovered over you for a long time, probably decades. It’s not just a new building, it’s your building.”

Tavares made his debut with the Islanders in 2009 as the best draft pick of the year. In 2016, he helped the Islanders win their first postseason series since 1993 by scoring in double overtime against the Florida Panthers in Brooklyn – a year after the Islanders played their last game at Nassau Coliseum, only to split -Base to return there.

He then signed with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs in Free Agency after the 2017/18 season after scoring 272 regular-season goals in 669 games for the Islanders.

While Tavares has spent more than three seasons in his hometown, after years of speculation, the Islanders laid the foundation for their new arena and opened the building, losing 5-2 to the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

“We have a home now,” said Islanders defender Scott Mayfield. “We talked about what the guys went through. Brooklyn, divided seasons, the closure of the Colosseum. … It is something special to be at home. “

Although it was a special night for the new arena opening, it was a frustrating week for the Islanders. Aside from outnumbering the Islanders 24-6 in a five-game losing streak, the Islanders are playing without captains Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Ross Johnston and Anthony Beauvillier and defenders Adam Pelech and Andy Greene due to COVID-19 protocols .

“It’s an incredible building; the atmosphere was electrifying. Not the results we were looking for, but the fans showed up, they were excited.” New Yorker Kyle Palmieri said after Brock scored Nelson twice in a game the Islanders were four minutes behind.

In addition to a first look at the NHL’s newest building, the Maple Leafs hope to begin a four-game journey by recovering on Saturday from a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who ended a five-game winning streak in Toronto .

“This game is over,” said Mitch Marner of Toronto. “I can’t dwell on it too long, otherwise tomorrow night’s game will go on.”

Toronto will be heading to Long Island on an impressive 10-2 stretch since losing four straight times last month and taking six single-goal wins, including three in overtime.

“We have a tough road trip ahead of us,” said Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe. “So this one is sure to get everyone’s attention.”

Tavares lead the Maple Leafs with eight goals and 16 points.

–Field-level media

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