Islanders beat Panthers 2-1 in 2OTs to end playoff drought

The Islanders wanted to come out and seize control of Game 6.

Remember, Tavares was also the one who scored the game-tying goal with 53 seconds left in regulation.

Tavares was easily the best player on the ice in this series and pretty much singlehandedly lifted the Islanders to the win in Game 6... and the series.

The Isles will next take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Islanders improved to 7-0 with a potential clinching Game 6 at home, last accomplishing the feat against Washington in the first round in 1993. Nikolay Kulemin tried to tip it in, but Luongo dived to his left on top of it. But the puck trickled out from underneath him to his right, and Tavares swooped in and put it in for his fourth of the series. Tavares has done wonders for the franchise, and it doesn't get brought up enough.

Neither side could be separated after the first half of OT, but Tavares produced some magic in the second with a brilliant wrap-around goal to seal the Eastern Conference series 4-2.

Stay tuned for live updates from the Barclays Center.

Throughout the series, the New York Islanders didn't seem to be able to consistently hit Florida's fastball at 5-on-5.

For the first time since the 1992-1993 season, the Islanders are advancing to the second round of the playoffs; John Tavares was 2 years old when that happened. Tavares was a Hart Trophy finalist last season, and with any justice will be one again this season. This was the player the Islanders drafted number one overall in the 2009 National Hockey League draft, a player who could take over a game in an instant. "I thought we played a good series".

"First and foremost, I think our fan base, they've been dying for it, obviously", Tavares said in the Islanders' strangely muted locker room considering the great weight that had been figuratively lifted from their collective shoulders.

Hail to the new king, baby.

After producing an NHL-leading 8 points (4G/4A) in the first three games of the series, Reilly Smith couldn't add to it over the final three tilts.

Jonathan Huberdeau opened the scoring with his first goal of the postseason with 1:02 remaining in a cautiously played first period that saw the two combatants combine for just 12 shots on net.

As Nick Leddy - man, Nick Leddy - carried the puck up ice, Greiss dashed toward the Isles bench and Tavares jumped over the boards. The Panthers were prepared for an Islanders onslaught to start the possible clincher and blocked 10 shots in the opening frame, forming a tight circle around Luongo to keep the Islanders from any second or third opportunities.

Even Panthers coach Gerard Gallant, who never publicly questions officials' calls, admitted that he would've been preparing for Game 7 on Tuesday night at the BB&T Center instead of exit meetings there Tuesday morning if one of those trips were called. Florida failed to clear the puck on many occassions, and Luongo was left to defend the net all too often without much help. It appeared the Islanders would make it 16 consecutive games where they could not string together back-to-back playoff wins.

Luongo made 49 saves in a strong effort, but the Islanders won in overtime for the third time in the series. Tavares skated in and fired an initial shot that Roberto Luongo saved, but the NY captain got the rebound and scored to end the longest home game in Islanders history.

Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports.

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