Ever since he was a boy, New York Islanders star John Tavares dreamed of one day playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs and scoring the game-winning goal in overtime as the whole world watched.

John Tavares Nets Winner For Islanders In 2-1 Double-OT Win Over Panthers, A Dream Come True

On Sunday, that dream came true after the Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers 2-1 in double-overtime in Game 6 to win the first-round playoff series 4-2.  After a goal from the Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau just 1:02 into the game, the Islanders trailed 1-0 at their own Barclays Center in New York.

However, after a scramble in front of the Florida net, Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo seemed to believe he had swallowed the puck. Instead, it lay beside him, a mere two feet away from the goal line. Tavares took his chance and drained the puck to tie the game 1-1 just 54 seconds into the third period and force overtime.

Then, deep in the second overtime period, (10:41 into it, specifically) Tavares skated behind the Panthers net and came out the other side. Luongo was unable to cross over to the other side and Tavares netted the wraparound goal to secure the victory and series for the Islanders, a team that hadn’t won a playoff series in 23 years.


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“I feel especially good for our fans,” Tavares said. “They have waited so long. But we can’t just accept this. Enjoy it tonight but then look to what’s ahead.”

Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk noted how impressed he was with Tavares.

“Johnny elevated his game to another level,” Boychuk said. “And we’re all thankful he did.”

“As a kid growing up, you dream about scoring an overtime winner like this,” Tavares added. “But to do it is incredible. You just soak it all in. It’s about the team and the fans. I’m happiest for them.”

It was the most famous goal in Islanders history since David Volek scored in overtime in Game 7 of a second round series against Pittsburgh on May 14, 1993, thus eliminating Mario Lemieux’s Penguins.

The Islanders now advance to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round. Three of the Islanders’ four victories this first-round playoff series came in overtime.

Tavares was two years old when the Isles last won a playoff series back in 1993. Now, at the age of 25, his dream of one day becoming an overtime NHL hockey hero finally came true.

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 24: John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders attempts to get away from Dmitry Kulikov #7 of the Florida Panthers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 24, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders won the game 2-1 in double overtime to win the series four games to two. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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