1. The Isles grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first twenty minutes, on goals by Matt Moulson, Jon Sim, and Richard Park. Moulson's goal, came one second after an Islander power play expired and was his 16th of the season, tying John Tavares for the club lead. Sim recorded his third goal in the last four games and sixth overall, while Park scored for the first time in 16 games.
2. Maxim Afinogenov scored twice in the second period (he also had two assists), but each goal was answered by an Islander tally, as Trent Hunter made it 4-1 and Josh Bailey made it 5-2. Bailey's goal, his second in three games, came two seconds after the midway point in the game. However, the Islanders could not deal with the prosperity. Nik Artropov scored ten seconds after Bailey to get the Thrashers within two and Rich Peverly scored 2 1/2 minutes later to make it a 5-4 game after two periods.
3. The only goal of the third period came on the power play off the stick of Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovvalchuk, who scored 320 goals in the 2000's, second only to Jarome Iginla (360), now has scored twice in two games to kick off the 2010's. The Kovalchuk goal was his fourth point of the game, and was enough to get the Thashers a point, but the Islanders would eventually prevail in the shootout.
...a few more...
4. Jeff Tambellini and Frans Nielsen scored for the Islanders in the shootout to give the Isles a 2-0 advantage.. Tambellini is now six of nine in shootouts, while Nielsen has converted eight times in 13 attempts. After Slava Kozlov scored for the Thrashers, Rob Schremp shot the puck over the net but Rich Peverley shot the puck wide on his shootout attempt to give the Islanders the victory and the extra point.
5. It was the third straight Islander game to end in a shootout. The Isles have won two shootouts at home, and lost in Ottawa during this stretch. It's the first time in Islander history that three consecutive games have required a shootout and the second time that the Isles have had a shootout in successive home games.
6. The Isles improve to 3-2-0 in decade-opening games:
October 7, 1972 Lost 3-2 to Atlanta
January 2, 1980 Beat Toronto 3-1
January 2, 1990 Beat Los Angeles 5-3
January 2, 2000 Lost 4-1 to Philadelphia
7. Prior to scoring the game-deciding goal in the shootout, Frans Nielsen was credited with three assists. It's the first three assist (and three point) game of his career. Schremp had a perfect night in the face-off circle, winning all six of his draws; the Isles won 34 of 56 overall. Dwayen Roloson improved to 4-0-1 in his last five games, making 22 saves. Johan Hedberg finished with 31 saves for Atlanta.
8. The Islanders recorded their first 6-5 win since February, 2007 when they did s otwice in a ten-day period. The shootout victory allowed the Isles to avoid a 6-5 loss for the first time since losing to Washington in overtime in February, 1996.
9. The Isles improve to 17-18-7, climbing within one win of NHL .500 for the first time since December 17th. The Isles are 4-1-1 in their last six games, while their opponents are 2-1-3 as three of the four Islander wins have come in extra time.
10. The Isles lead the season series three games to none, and six points to one. The final meeting will be in
Atlanta on March 4th. The Isles have won four straight overall from the Thrashers, who are 0-4-2 on their seven game road trip and 0-5-3 in their last eight games overall. Atlanta is 4-10-3 in their last 17 games, with all four wins coming in extra time.
Up next: The Islanders begin a three game road trip on Wednesday in Denver against the Avalanche. Game time is 9:00. The Isles have not won in Denver since November 19, 1999, when Butch Goring was still their coach. They have gone 0-2-2 since then, tying once and losing once in overtime. The Isles are, however 4-0-2 in their last six against the Avalanche since being blanked 1-0 on Novermber 16, 2001 by Patrick Roy.
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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