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Islanders' swan song for Tavares?

DETROIT -- Saturday night's game could be center John Tavares' last with the New York Islanders.

The Islanders visit the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena in the final game of the regular season for both teams, who find themselves out of the NHL Playoffs.

Tavares, the 27-year-old Islanders captain, has 36 goals and 47 assists for 83 points this season. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and has been the focal point of the organization since he was the first overall pick in the 2009 draft.

"I'm not trying to look at it as the end because, obviously, that hasn't been determined," Tavares said after Thursday night's 2-1 win over the New York Rangers at the Barclays Center. "I've always wanted it to work out and stay, so that's still what I hope transpires. But, obviously, that will come in the time ahead."

But New York coach Doug Weight, a native of Detroit, says the decision will be Tavares' alone.

"People say it's like a marriage. But that's BS. I know my wife controls pretty much everything I do and we don't control anything with John," Weight said. "But no, I don't have nervousness. Anxiety is probably a closer word.

"But you have to do what you have to do as an organization, no matter what. With or without him, we're going to move forward and try to win. We'd like him here."

Detroit is focusing on the young players who could be part of the future. One of those is forward Tyler Bertuzzi, who has been impressive since being called up from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League during the season.

Bertuzzi, 23, has seven goals and 24 points in 47 games this season, mostly in a top-six role. He has played a lot on the left wing with center and captain Henrik Zetterberg and right winger Gustav Nyquist.

That's where Bertuzzi -- the nephew of former NHL player and Red Wing Todd Bertuzzi -- was in Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena, in which Bertuzzi scored a goal and had a few other quality scoring chances.

"Bert's game was totally excellent," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "He's a real hockey player. He's a guy I would say is a great complementary guy for a guy like Z (Zetterberg) that can control the puck and hold onto the puck. He goes to the net, he's great defensively, he plays through bodies.

"He's a heckuva hockey player. That's a great, great draft pick by our scouts (58th overall in 2013), and he's going to be a heck of a Red Wing."

Five of Bertuzzi's goals have come in the last seven games, all of that time playing with Zetterberg and Nyquist.

"You dream to play with a guy like that (Zetterberg)," Bertuzzi said. "I've been lucky enough to get the opportunity to stick on that line and just be able to play with him and learn a lot. He's obviously helping me produce offensively."

Updated April 6, 2018

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