Monday, January 11, 2010
Stat Trick: Isles 5, Phoenix 4 (shoot-out)
Some games are stranger than others. When you get a hockey game where one team kills a five minute power play only to find themselves shorthanded for an addiitonal 2:52 because they did not have a man in the penalty box. When you get a game where one team plays with an extra man for 9:58 of consecutive play to build a 4-1 lead, blows that lead in the third period, and then wins in a shootout, you have one strange game. On to the trick:
1. This one started innocently enough. With the Isles having killed 20 of 22 coming into the game, Ed Jovanovski scored just three minutes into the game on the power play. However, the Isles tied the game on Blake Comeau's first goal in seven games with 2 1/2 minutes to play in the period.
2. The game changed in the final seconds of the first period, when Jovanovski was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for elbowing John Tavares. Before the delayed penalty could be asssessed, Kyle Okposo scored for the third straight game to give the Isles the lead heading to the first intermission. It was Okposo's ninth goal of the season; eight have been scored on the road.. While the Islanders did not score on the ensuing power play, Phoenix did not have a player in the penalty box and thus played shorthanded for an additional 2:52, ending only when Martin Hanzal took another penalty. When former Islander Adrian Aucoin joined him in the penalty box, the Isles finally converted on the power play as Mark Streit and Josh Bailey scored power play goals. It was Streit's first goal in 27 games and the first by an Islander defensemen since December 17th. Bailey's goal completed the first thiree-point game of his career; he had six points on the road trip and now has a 6-game point streak (4-6-10) and a 5-game assist streak. He's the first Islander to have an assist in five straight games since Doug Weight did so October 20-November 1, 2008; no Islander since the NHL lockout has had a longer streak.
3. While the Isles carried the 4-1 led into the third period, but for the sixth time this season, could not hold a three-goal lead. The Coyotes tied the game with three goals in a 3:43 span. Paul Bissonnette scored to get Phoenix back in the game; Taylor Pyatt and Peter Mueller then scored power play goals to even the contest. It was the 99th career goal for Pyatt, and only the 2nd goal in 37 games for Mueller, who was chosen with the pick right before Okposo in the 2006 Entry Draft. Neither team scored in the final 10:46 of regulation or in the overtime, setting the stage for the Islanders to win in a shootout.
.... a few more...
4. Each team scored in the first and third rounds of the shootout with Robert Lang and Lauri Korpikoski scoring for Phoenix and Frans Nielsen and Josh Bailey responding for the Islanders. It was the fifth goal in seven career shootout attempts for Nielsen. After five shooters were stopped, Matt Moulson secured the extra point for the Islanders with his first career shootout goal.
5. Dwayne Roloson made 25 saves for the Islanders to record his third straight win and was voted the game's number one star. He stopped 21 shots over the third period and overtime, and probably earned some support for his play in negating three attempted icings by Phoenix that would have allowed the Coyotes to get back to full strength after the Jovanovski penalty. Roloson is now 6-0-1 in his last seven starts. The win was his 17th of the season, tying Jamie McLennan 14th place on the all-time Islander list.
6. Ilya Bryzgalov allowed four goals on 15 shots before being pulled midway through the contest. Jason Labarbera stopped the final 15 shots for Phoenix. Bryzgalov, who has allowed 12 goals in his last three starts, is 1-2-2 in six appearances since being named to the Russian Olympic team.
7. John Tavares, who has scored only once in 14 games, was credited with an assist on Streit's goal, but replays indicated that the assist should belong to Doug Weight. Weight played in his 1,200th NHL game; he's the 82nd player in NHL history to reach that mark.
8. Despite their inability to hold leads, the Isles improved to 16-1-3 in games that they lead after two periods. The Isles have been outscored 55-26 in the third period this season. The 29-goal differential ties Carolina for the worst differential in any period this season.
9. The win breaks a six-game losing streak for the Islanders in the back-end of back-to-backs (0-5-1).
10. This was the only meeting of the teams this season. It's only the second win in ten games in Arizona for the Islanders (2-6-2). The Isles are 6-2-1 in their last nine games overall and are 4-1-1 in their last six road games. It's the first time that the Isles have earned nine points over six road games under Scott Gordon, and matches their best road six-game streak since going 5-0-1 over six games early in the 2006-07 campaign that produced their last playoff berth.
Up next: The Isles return home to entertain Detroit on Tuesday. It's the first of game of a stretch in which the Isles will play six out of seven games at home, with a road game in Pittsburgh separating two three-game homestands. It been a looooooong time since the Red Wings lost a game on Long Island. Barry Richter scored the winning goal in a 3-1 Islander victory on February 27, 1999. That game was marred by a vicious incident in which Sergei Federov eventually received a five-game suspension for slashing Zdeno Chara's neck, rendering the Islander defensemen briefly unconscious. Detroit has made only five visits since then, winning four (twice in overtime) and tying once. In fact, this will be only the second Red Wing visit to the Coliseum since 2002. Henrik Zetterberg scored in overtime on January 30, 2007.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