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John Tavares (illness) will not play against the Devils

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Mustard Minute: Islanders Go Back to Old Goal Horn

New York Islanders center John Tavares has missed the past two games due to illness. He will not be playing in Tuesday's game against the New Jersey Devils, but he did skate in practice this morning according to head coach Jack Capuano.

John Tavares has team-leading 11 points in his first 10 games. Tavares, the first overall pick of the 2009 NHL Draft, is currently tied for the team lead in goals with five. His six assists are tied for the team lead with Kyle Okposo. Tavares was a Hart Trophy finalist and first-team All-Star in 2014-2015 after he led the Islanders back to the playoffs with 86 points and 35 goals. Tavares also finished third in the Hart Trophy voting back in 2012-2013.

The Islanders have struggled without their captain, losing to the Devils 3-2 in a shootout and to the Sabres 2-1. The Islanders are 6-3-3 this season, but they are 0-1-1 without Tavares in the lineup. Tavares is suffering from "flu-like symptoms" according to Islanders head coach Jack Capuano. Without Tavares in the lineup, the Islanders have been going with Frans Nielsen as their first line center. He's been playing alongside wings Anders Lee and Okposo. Nielsen's second line center role is being filled by center Brock Nelson.

This comes at a rough time for the Islanders, as they are already without defenseman Thomas Hickey and are looking to drag themselves out of a three-game losing streak against a Devils team that is 6-4-1.

There is some good news about John Tavares. He could be back in the lineup as soon as Thursday. The Islanders face the Atlantic Division-leading Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. Getting their captain back would sure help the Islanders' chances of winning.

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