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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Stat Trick: Isles 3, Rangers 2

Kyle Okposo scored the winning goal with 47 seconds to play in overtime to give the Islanders a 3-2 win at Madison Square Garden.  It's the Islanders' second straight win at MSG and their third in four games against the rival Rangers this season.  On to the trick:

1.  The Isles grabbed a 2-0 lead as Frans Nielsen scored 7:45 into the first period and Blake Comeau scored shorthanded at 14:21 of the second period.  It was the first shorthanded goal of Comeau's career and his third in the last six games.

2.  for the third time in the last two seasons, the Isles carried a shutout into the third period at the Garden but couldn't closed the door for their first shutout at MSG since 1975.  The Rangers got the game even with a pair of third period goals by Brandon Dubinsly.  Both goals were scored following the conclusion of Ranger power plays.  The second goal, with 47 seconds left in regulation, came with Henrik Lundqvist on the bench for a sixth attacker.  It was the second two-goal game of the season for Dubinsky and ensured the Rangers of their first point when trailing after two periods this season (0-13-1).

3.  Okposo, who had assisted on both regulation goals, scored for the first time since scoring against Florida on November 14.  The goal ended a career-long 18-game goal-less streak, and gave him the first three-point game of his career.  The win gave the Isles their second winning streak of the season -- they won four straight from October 28-November 2.  The Isles improve to 6-7 in overtime games, but are 5-3 in games decided by an overtime goal (1-4 in shootouts).  The Isles have won three straight overtime games, and are 5-2 since opening the season with four losses in their first five overtime games.  The Isles have scored four of their five overtime goals on the road; that ties the club record for road overtime goals, set in 1985-86:
12-Oct-85 @ Los Angeles 5 4 Wot
24-Nov-85 @ New York     4 3 Wot
31-Dec-85 @ Detroit         5 4 Wot
2-Feb-86 @ New Jersey   3 2 Wot 

...a few more...

4.  Okposo is the fifth Islander to score three overtime goals.  Pierre Turegon has four, while Trent Hunter, Oleg Kvasha, and Roman Hamrlik also have three.

5. Okposo, who beat Carolina in overtime last month, is the first Islander since Jason Blake to score two overtime goals in one season (12/31/02 in Buffalo and 3/1/03 vs Buffalo) and the first since Pierre Turgeon to score two road overtime goals in one season  (10/10/93 at Anaheim and 11/21/93 at Philadelphia).

6.  The Rangers outshot the Isles 38-22, including 33-17 after the first period.  Dwayne Roloson, who has started eight of the last nine games, made 36 saves, while Henrik Lundqvist, who was making his 12th straight start, finished with 19 saves for the Rangers.
 
7.  It was a night to remember for three Islander defensemen. Mark Streit was on-ice for all three Islander goals, and finished +3, including an assist on the winner.  Streit also finished with three blocks.  Andy Sutton and Jack Hillen saw season high ice-time (27:35 and 28:36
respectively).  Sutton finished with six hits and six blocks while Hillen also had six blocks.

8. In the strange but true category -- this was the first time the Isles have ever played a Saturday night game at Madison Square Garden.  They had played only one previous Saturday game at MSG, in 2002, but that game was a 1:00 start.

9.  The Islanders are 7-9-0 in their last sixteen games.  In their seven wins, the penalty kill has killed all 23 opposition power plays;  In the nine losses, they have killed only 15 of 34 for an almost inconceivable 44% penalty kill percentage.  The Isles have allowed at least one power play goal in 16 of their 17 regulation losses and have not allowed a pp goal in 12 of their 15 wins.

10.  The Islanders lead the season series three games to one, and six points to three..  The Isles failed to get even a shot on their three power plays; they are 1-42 in their last fourteen games against the Rangers (and 1-last 31 overall).

Up next:  The Islanders have a quick turnaround as they host Philadelphia at 5:00 on Sunday.  The Flyers have dominated play between the teams in recent seasons, with the Isles managing only three loser's points in the last twelve meetings.
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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