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The Skinny: Isles 5, Pittsburgh 4

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Game 82 Isles 5, Pittsburgh 4    On to the Playoffs! Simon Holmstrom scored the winning goal with 5:3...

Friday, October 10, 2008

All hopes spring eternal -- it's opening night

Happy New Season.

How happy we shall see, now won't we?

Tonight's game is a 7:00 face-off on MSG +2 (It's channel 79 on Cablevision's LI system -- check your local listings for the channel every where else.) No pre-game shows on TV this season. (Chris Botta has a bunch about that on his blog.)

Speaking of blogs, I've had one for a number of seasons that I use as an archive of my posts.

It's verrrrrrrry low key, but if you're looking for something that I might have noted in the past, it's there (at least for the post-lockout era). My posts used to be archived somewhere else but they mysteriously disappeared... :) :)

Isles dominated the Devils last season, going 6-1-1, earning 13 of their 79 points on the season vs NJ. That includes 3 wins in four tries at the Rock.

Random notes:

Isles are 6-8-2 in coaching debuts; 2-5-2 when the game is a season opener. Laviolette and Henning were the two coaches to win a season opener in their first game as an Isle coach.

The Isles will be looking to win consecutive openers for only the second time in their history. They won the first game of their Cup defenses in both 1980 and 1981.

Friday marks the 10th anniversary of the last Isle opener on home ice (10-10-98 vs Pittsburgh). They are 2-5-1 in openers since, with the 2004 opener being lost to a lockout. Ironically the Isles were supposed to open at home that year.

This is the 3rd time the Isles have opened in NJ and the 4th time the Isles have opened in a road game against the Devil franchise, counting Bryan Trottier's NHL debut in Kansas City in 1975.

The Isles have opened at home only four times in their history (1972, 1980, Jan 1995, 1998). Only Anaheim has opened at home less frequently -- three times. (The Wild will play their 5th opener at home on Saturday.)

The Devils have done well in openers (18-8-7; .652 win pctg is 3rd best among current NHL teams, behind Ottawa and Colorado (Tampa was ahead of them before their loss to the Rangers last week.)

The Devil franchise has never lost a season opener at home, going 11-0-5. This includes two NJ wins and one KC tie against the Islanders.

The Isles are only 9-18-8 in openers, tying Pittsburgh for most losses in openers for any expansion team (Pens are 17-18-6 after their win last week.)

The Isles are opening at home for the 32nd time, keeping pace with the Bruins, who opened for the 32nd time on the road on Thursday. Of course the Bruins were founded in 1924.

The only expansion team that is anywhere close to the Isles in road openers is St. Louis. The Blues have opened the season on the road 25 times. (They open at home Friday before visiting the Island on Saturday)

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick. Eric has worked the Stanley Cup Finals four times, and celebrated his 26th anniversary as the statistician on Islander home telecasts on January 21, 2008.

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