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The Skinny Playoff Preview

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick The Isles return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday. Here is a preview- Skinny style. UP NEXT TH...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Stat Trick: Lightning 4, Isles 0.

Mike Smith made 30 saves to record his 9th career shutout as the Lightning blanked the Isles 4-0 on Saturday night.  The Isles are winless in Saturday road games in 2009, with one final chance coming on December 26th at Madison Square Garden.  They are 1-15-5 over the last two years in Saturday road games.  On to the trick:

1.  It was clear early that this wasn't going to be the Isles' night.  Ryan Malone dug the puck out of the pads of Dwayne Roloson just 1:35 into play to give Tampa an early lead; it was his 15th goal in 20 career games against the Isles. Steve Downie and Jeff Halpern scored power play goals for Tampa and Viktor Hedman converted a beautiful pass from Vinny Lecavalier for his first NHL goal.  Malone, Downie and Halpern each extended their point streak to three games and Tampa broke a 4-game losing streak (0-3-1).

2.  The Isles had a goal disallowed for a hand pass, and couldn't legally beat Smith.  Special teams let the Isles down. The Bolts scored twice on three power plays, while the Isles failed on six power plays (including 1:21 on a 5-on-3).

3.  The Isles played twice in Tampa in 2009 and didn't score a single goal.  Mike McKenna, who is now playing for the Lowell Devils, blanked the Isles in February for the only shutout of his NHL career.

... a few more...

4. It's the second time this season that the Isles have been shutout; they were blanked in Buffalo last month.  The Isles have been shutout seven times since Scott Gordon became their head coach, with all seven occurring on the road.

5.  It's the first time in 14 games (dating back to the shutout in Buffalo) that the Isles did not lead at any point.

6.  The Isles are now 1-2-0 on this three-game road trip.  They are now twelve games into a stretch of fourteen games where they play only twice at home.  The Isles are 5-5-2 in that stretch, including 4-4-2 on the road.

7.  The Isles drop to 11-11-7 on the season.  It's the 10th time this season that the Isles have been at NHL .500.  The Isles have alternated wins and losses for the past two weeks; they have won consecutive games only once this season --when they won four straight to raise their record from 1-4-5 to 5-4-5.

8. Andrej Mezaros, Martin St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier each had two assists for the Lightning.  St. Louis played in his 336th consecutive streak -- longest active streak for an Eastern Conference player, and 6th longest current streak overall.  Lecavalier now has 38 points in 39 career games against the Isles.

9.  The top pick in the last two NHL drafts were both held without points. Steven Stamkos is tied for the most goals in the NHL since February 17th while Tavares continues to lead all rookies in both goals and points.

10.  The Lightning lead the series 1-0-0; three meetings remain, with the next scheduled for December 21st on Long Island.  The series will conclude with a pair of games nine days apart in early February.  The Isles have now faced every Eastern Conference team at least once this season.

Up next:  The Isles travel to Philadelphia for the first time this season on Tuesday.  It's the first of two nationally-televised Islander games this season; both of them will be in Philadelphia.  The Flyers have had the Isles' number for some time.  The Isles have lost seven straight at the Wachovia Center (0-6-1) and haven't beaten the Flyers in their last 11 meetings (0-8-3), dating back to a 4-3 Islander win at the Coliseum on February 12, 2008.  The game will be telecast on Versus (unless you have DirecTV, which has still not settled their dispute with the NHL's cable network); Chris King will have a REAL radio broadcast (not a simulcast) on WMJC 94.3FM.

 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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