1. Chris Stewart scored on the power play less than three minutes into the game to give the Avs the lead with his 13th goal of the season, but Jon Sim celebrated his 400th NHL game by scoring for the third straight game to even the score at 1-1 late in the first period. It was the fourth goal in the last five games for Sim, who has twice scored 17 goals in an NHL season.
2. The second period featured a highlight reel goal from Rob Schremp as he gloved down a pass and batted it behind Craig Anderson. It was the third goal of the season for Schremp. All three of his goals have come on the power play; he has three of the last four Islander power play goals. Schremp also assisted on Sim's goal to give him his first multi-point game as an Islander (he had a two-assist game for Edmonton 13 months ago). John Tavares (8), Nicolas Bergfors (8) and Matt Duchesne (4) are the only NHL rookies with more power play goals than Schremp.
3. The Avalanche tied the game in the third period on a goal by Matt Hendricks at 9:37 of the third. The Avalanche dominated much of the period, but the Isles got a huge save from Dwayne Roloson off of Matt Duchesne on a power play early in the period, and Okposo then converted for the winner at 16:43. Okposo continues his penchant for scoring in the clutch; four of his seven goals this season and eight of his 27 career NHL goals
have been game-winners..
... a few more...
4. The Isles are 4-1-1 in their last six games; all six have been decided by one goal. The Isles improved to 4-12-4 when allowing the first goal of the game.
5. The Isles are back to NHL .500 with an 18-18-8 record. It's the first time since they were 11-11-7 after being shutout in Tampa on December 5th that they have reached NHL .500 and he first time that they have been at .500 this late in the season since going 32-32-7 in the first 71 games of the 2007-08 season.
6. The Isles have the New Year off to a good start. They are 2-0-0 in January; believe it or not, it's the first time since 1990 that the Isles have opened a calendar year with two consecutive victories.
7. The Isles improved to 8-10-6 on the road. Their 22 road points are one more than they managed all last season. They are now 2-6-2 in ten visits to Denver against the Avalanche; it's their first win in Denver since November 19, 1999, when they defeated Colorado by an identical 3-2 score. This was the only meeting of the teams this season.
8. Three Islanders extended point streaks. Josh Bailey now has a 4-game streak with two goals and three assists, while Sim (3-0-3) and Schremp (2-2-4) each have three-game streaks.
9. Roloson, who finished with 30 saves, is 5-0-1 in his last 6 games, allowing just 13 goals in the six games. Roloson recorded his 16th win, passing Wade Flaherty and tying him with Wade Dubielewicz for 15th place on the all-time Islander win list. He has 101 fewer wins as an Islander than Rick DiPietro, who dressed for an NHL game for the first time in just over a year. Craig Anderson made 32 saves for Colorado.
10. It was the first meeting between Duchesne and #1 overall pick John Tavares. Duchesne had four shots, three of which resulted in remarkable saves by Roloson, but finished -1 when he was on-ice for the winning goal. Tavares had only one shot on goal, but was +1.
Up next: Could Rick DiPietro make his season NHL debut this weekend? The road trip continues on Friday in Dallas, with the Islanders making their first trip to Texas since November 15, 2006. DiPietro will remember that game; he shut out the Stars 3-0 that night for his 7th career shutout. The Isles are 2-0-1 in their last three in Dallas; their last loss there was on March 23, 2001, with Brett Hull notching the winning goal. The final game of the trip will be Saturday in Phoenix.
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