Young Islanders find Toronto visit special

DAN ILIKA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:08 PM ET

TORONTO - No matter how many times they play against Toronto, it’s still hard for Islanders John Tavares and Matt Moulson to shake the nerves when facing the Maple Leafs.

“It’s still special to play here for me,” Tavares said. “The connection I have here growing up playing minor hockey and really becoming who I am now so (it’s) always a lot of fun.”

Moulson, who was born in North York, said the Air Canada Centre holds a special place for him.

“It’s always special,” Moulson said. “I grew up bleeding blue and white when I was young in the (Doug) Gilmour and Wendel Clark days.

“I would’ve loved to get a chance to play in the Gardens but (the) ACC is not a bad fallback,” Moulson added. “It’s always great to (play) in this building, especially when a lot of friends and family are here — even though I think they still cheer for the Leafs.”

Tavares, who grew up in Oakville, played four seasons in nearby Oshawa for the Generals of the OHL.

Tavares said his overtime winner over the Leafs at the ACC on Oct. 18 ranks pretty high on his personal favourites from his young career.

“It’s up there,” Tavares said. “I’ve had a lot of highlights already in only a year and a half so definitely it was a big goal and a great way to do it.”


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