Sunday, January 17, 2010
Stat Trick: Isles 3, Buffalo 2 (shootout)
Trent Hunter scored the deciding goal in the eighth round of the shootout as Rick DiPietro earned his first victory since 2008 with a 3-2 shootout victory over Buffalo at the Coliseum. It's the fourth straight home win for the Isles --their longest home win streak since 2007. On to the trick:
1.. The Sabres had the better of play early, but John Tavares put the Isles on the board 5:38 into the first period with his 17th goal of the season. Tavares leads all rookies in goals, is tied with Matt Moulson for the club lead and is tied with Matt Duchesne for the point lead. Kyle Okposo assisted on the goal, extending his point streak to five straight games.
2. The Isles dominated the middle session, outshooting Buffalo 21-6, but each team scored a goal 21 seconds apart. Sean Bergenheim scored to give the Isles a 2-0 lead at 16:33 of the second period, but Matt Grier replied 21 seconds later for Buffalo. It was the first Sabre goal in 166:42 at the Coliseum, dating back to Columbus Day 2008.
3. The Isles appeared to take a 3-1 lead in the third period but a Richard Park goal was waved off due to a controversial call against Andy Sutton for impeding Ryan Miller's ability to play the puck, Drew Stafford then tied the game just before the mid-way point, eventually sending the game to overtime and the shootout.
...a few more...
4. Ryan Miller was superb in the Buffalo net, particularly in the second period. He finished with 36 saves. DiPietro, playing his first home game since December 26, 2008, recorded his first victory since that date as well. DiPietro improved to 17-9 in career shootouts, stopping 5 of 8 Sabres in the shootout. The Isles did get to Miller in the shootout, scoring four times with Rob Schemp, Matt Moulson and Tavares scoring before Hunter's game deciding goal.
5. With Bergenheim and DiPietro both appearing in the same game, the Isles had five of their own first round draft picks in action tonight. It's the first time since at least the 1995-96 season that as many as five Islander first round picks have appeared for the Islanders in the same game. In 1995-96, eight former first rounders appeared for the Isles in at least one game.
6. The Isles are now 5-1-0 in 2010 and are 5-1-0 in their last six at home. They have killed 16 of 17 in the last six games at home.
7. Tim Connolly assisted on Grier's goal to extend his assist streak to five games and his points streak to eleven games. The point streak is the longest active streak in the NHL. Josh Bailey had his six-game assist streak, and seven-game point streak stopped.
8. With the win, the Isles reach 50 points in jsut 48 games (21-19-8). they didn't reach the 50 point mark until their 66th game last season. They are one point ahead of the 2006-07 team's pace. The Isles take over 8th place from Montreal; the Isles have a game in hand. The Isles are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games; it's their best 11-game stretch since also going 8-2-1 in late February/early March 2007.
9. While the Isles did not score on the power play, they did have ten shots on goal over their last two power plays. The Isles won 30 of 59 draws; a vast improvement from losting 39 of 47, as they did in Buffalo earlier this year.
10. The teams split the season series two games each, with Buffalo taking five points to the Islanders' four. The Isles have now won three straight at home over Buffalo. The Isles are now 6-5-4 against the Northeast Division this season, with five games still to play.
Up next: The Devils make their first of two visits to Long Island in six days, when they play the Islanders Monday in a holiday matinee. The Devils have won both games of this year's season series, but the Islanders own a two-game home winning streak over New Jersey. It's the 9th time that the Isles are hosting an MLK matinee -- the Isles are 2-3-3 in the prior eight.