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The Skinny: Carolina 5, Isles 3 (Carolina leads series 2-0)

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Eastern Conference Round 1, Game 2 Carolina 5, Isles 3 Carolina Leads Series 2-0 Sebastian Aho and Jo...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stat Trick: Montreal 3, Isles 0.

Jaroslav Halak wants to be a number one goalie.  The Islanders would tell you that he already is.  Halak made 40 saves as the Canadiens blanked the Islanders in a blizzard at the Coliseum for Halak's third victory of the season over the Isles.  On to the trick:

1.  Andrei Markov played for the first time since being injured on Opening Night, and one night before his 31st birthday, scored power play goals in both the first and second period.  It was the fourth two-goal game of his career; Markov has never had an NHL hat trick.

2. Glen Metropolit also scored on the power play, with six minutes to play, for the final margin of 3-0.  It was the eighth goal of thed season for Metropolit, who has never scored more than twelve goals in an NHL season.

3.  Halak has allowed only three goals in 182 minutes against the Isles this season (0.99 GAA).  He is now 3-0-0 vs.. the Isles and 3-5-0 vs. the rest of the NHL this season.  Halak improves to 5-1-0 in his career against the Isles; he's allowed only seven goals in the six games. 

...a few more..

4.  The shutout was the fifth of Halak's career and second against the Isles.  He blanked them by the same 3-0 score on March 15, 2008 in Montreal.  It's the first time that the Canadiens have shutout the Islanders at the Coliseum since Jose Theodore punctuated his shutout by scoring an empty net goal on January 2, 2001.

5. Special teams have become a huge problem for the Islanders in recent games.  They went  0-6 on the power play and are 0-17 in their last four games.  The penalty kill is even worse.  Over the last ten games, the Isles have allowed 16 power play goals in 36 times short -- which is a penalty kill percentage of only 55.6%.  They have allowed at least two power play goals six times in that stretch (including three times that they have allowed three power play goals).

6.  As their offense has turned anemic, the penalty kill issues have been magnified.  In their last eight games, the Isles have scored a total of twelve goals, while they have allowed sixteen goals just to the opponent's power play.  The twelve goals marks the fewest that the Isles have scored in an eight-game span since also scoring 12 over an eight-game span in November/December 2007.  They haven't scored fewer over an eight-game span since scoring 11 over an eight-game span in November/December, 2003.  Ironically, those eight games preceeded the Isles' last home blizzard game (a 5-2 win over Chicago on December 6, 2003).

7.  The Isles, who opened the season 7-3-2 in their first twelve home games, have now lost three straight at the Coliseum and have been outscored 15-3.  It's the first time that they have been outscored by at least 12 goals over three home games sicne March 1-6, 2001 when they lost 6-0 to Tampa Bay (costimg Butch Goring his job), 5-1 to Washington and 4-1 to Minnesota.

8. Rob Schremp had a strong game for the Isles, winning 7-of-9 draws and being one of four Isles with at least four shots.  Every Islander had at least one shot on goal in the game. Tomas Plekanec had a strange game statistically.  He assisted on both of Markov's goal and won 16-of-25 face-offs, however he had a "natural hat trick" of penalties as he was sent to the sin bin for three separate second period infractions.

9. Martin Biron continues to get no support from his teammates.  Entering play tonight, he had received the next-to-lowest goal support of the 47 goalies who had played at least one-third of their team's games.  Biron made 25 saves, but suffered his fifth straight defeat.  Marty, who has had only one losing season in his NHL career (17-28-6 in 2003-04) is now 2-10-2 on the season.

10.  Montreal leads the season series three games to none, and  six points to one.  The season series concludes on April 6 at the Coliseum.  Montreal has won five straight on Long Island, equalling their longest-ever streak at the Coliseum.  Montreal has won four straight overall from the Isles and 10-of-12, with the Isles earning one loser point (2-9-1).

Up next:  The Isles are 0-2-0 on this homestand, which continues on Monday against Tampa Bay. Tampa blanked the Isles earlier this month, but the home team has dominated this series in recent years..  The Isles have won four straight from Tampa on Long Island, even though they don't own a regulation win in Tampa since before the lockout.

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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