The New York Islanders scored six unanswered goals Thursday night as they spoiled the return of their former captain John Tavares with a 6-1 win at home over the Toronto Maple Leafs at a raucous Nassau Coliseum.
Casey Cizikas scored twice while Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee, Valterri Filppula and Brock Nelson also scored for the Islanders, who moved back into sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division. New York is two points ahead of the Washington Capitals, who visit the Coliseum on Friday night.
Goalie Robin Lehner recorded 34 saves.
Zach Hyman scored in the first period for the Maple Leafs, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Goalie Garret Sparks made 31 saves.
Tavares, who spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Islanders before signing as a free agent with his hometown Maple Leafs in July, was held off the scoresheet, though he was on the ice for Hyman’s goal as well as a second goal by Hyman that was waved off due to offsides.
The quiet night for Tavares no doubt satisfied a sellout crowd of 13,917, which booed the 28-year-old from the moment he took the ice for warmups — one fan threw a jersey at him — and every time he stepped on the ice during the game.
The fans even booed and chanted throughout a first period video tribute to Tavares, lessening only slightly when footage of him aired of him in the Long Island community. The chants — the cleanest of which was “WE DON’T NEED YOU” — rained down all evening and remained as loud as ever even as the Islanders piled on by scoring three times in a span of fewer than 10 minutes spanning the second and third periods.