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The Skinny: Carolina 6, Isles 3 (Carolina wins series 4-1)

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Eastern Conference Round 1, Game 5 Carolina 6, Isles 3 Carolina Wins Series 4-1 School is out. Jack D...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stat Trick: Isles 5, Sabres 0

At 2:00AM local time on Sunday, most of the United States and Canada will turn their clocks back.  The Islanders beat them to it, turning their clocks back to the 70's and 80's with a shutout win over the Sabres.  On to the trick...

1.  Jeff Tambellini recorded his first career hat trick, scoring twice in the second period and once in the third.  Tambellini, who is now tied for the club goal-scoring lead with six (in only eight games), has never scored more than seven goals in an NHL season.  He's the first Islander to record a hat trick against Buffalo since Pat LaFontaine did so on December 31, 1989 and the first Islander to ever have a hat trick against the Sabres at the Coliseum.

2. Martin Biron made 38 saves to register his first win as an Islander and his 200th NHL win.  He now has 26 career shutouts, including two against the Sabres.  Biron, who had two shutouts as a Sabre against the Islanders, is the first Islander to ever shutout a team that he had once played for, and had recorded a shutout against the Islanders. (Kevin Weekes did it in reverse: he shutout Tampa Bay as an Islander, and then shutout the Isles after joining the Lightning)

3. Richard Park and Josh Bailey had the other Islander goals.  It was Park's first goal of the season.  Nine different players had points and ten Islanders were "plus" players, with Bailey, Tambellini, Mark Streit and Doug Weight all finishing at +3.

...and a few more...

4.  The game was played before only an announced attendance of 8,889.  It's the smallest crowd at the Coliseum since only 8,161 witnessed the Isles-Dallas game on Thanksgiving Eve, 2007 and likely one of the smallest Saturday night crowds in Islander history.

5.  The Islanders have won three straight games for the first time since winning four straight last January 21-February 3.

6.  The Islanders have won three games in four days, defeating three of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference (based on current standings).  The Islanders last won three games in four days from Febraury 18-21, 2008.  The three straight wins allow the Islanders to finish at NHL .500 for the month of October, with a 4-4-5 record.  The Isles are at .500 this late in the season for the first time since they were 32-32-7 after losing in Tampa Bay on March 11, 2008.

7.  The Islanders have now shutout the Sabres in two consecutive games on Long Island.  Yann Danis blanked Buffalo 2-0 last Feburary 27th.  The Isles have shutout the Sabres thirteen times, more than any other opponent.  Chico Resch recorded the first three Islander shutouts against Buffalo; nine other goalies have had the last ten, with only Chris Osgood having two.

8.  Doug Weight was stopped on a penalty shot with 13 seconds to play.  It's the second time in his Islander career that he has been stopped on a penalty shot in the game's final seconds; Cam Ward of Carolina stopped him with less than a second to play last October.
The Islander have failed on their last five penalty shots and sixteen of their last seventeen with only Ryan Smyth scoring in that span. Tim Connolly, who played for the Sabres tonight, was the last Islander to score on a penalty shot before the stretch began.  There has been a penalty shot in both Islander-Sabres games this season; Clarke MacArthur scored against Dwayne Roloson in the first game.  Leaguewide, there have been only three goals on twelve penalty shots this season.

9. Four of the Islander goals were 5-on-5 goals.  The Sabres had allowed only nine 5-on-5 goals in their first ten games.  Ryan Miller, who suffered his first defeat, was chased after allowing three goals on just sixteen shots.

10. Craig Rivet received an instigator penalty with less than 5 minutes to play and is subject to a suspension from Buffalo's next game, which is on Wednesday at home, against the Islanders.  The season series is even at one game (and two points) each.  The Sabres will return to Long Island on January 16.

Up next:  The Edmonton Oilers pay their first visit to Long Island since 2005 when they play the Islanders on Monday at 7:00pm.  The teams have met in Alberta each of the last two seasons with the Oilers winning both games, but Edmonton has lost four straight on Long Island and haven't won at the Coliseum since 1999.

 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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