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The Skinny Playoff Preview

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick The Isles return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday. Here is a preview- Skinny style. UP NEXT TH...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stat Trick: Pittsburgh 3, Isles 1

Chris Kunitz scored his first two goals of 2010 to lead the Penguins to a 3-1 win over the Isles at the Igloo in Pittsburgh.  On to the trick:

1. Kunitz, who returned to action on Sunday after missing 15 games with an abdominal tear, gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead just past the midway point of the second period.  Islander-killer Evgeny Malkin added a tally at 17:00 of the period to double the Penguins' advantage. Malkin, who had already assisted on Kunitz' goal to extend his point streak to 11 games, now has 14 goals and 20 assists in 26 career games against the Isles.

2. Frans Nielsen got the Islanders back in the game off a face-off play midway through the third period, but Kunitz added his second tally with 5:12 to play to seal matters.  Nielsen is the only Islander forward to score in the past three games.

3. The Isles out-shot the Penguins 38-28.  It was the most shots for the Islanders in a road game since launching 40 against Florida on November 14th.  Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves as he improves to 10-4-3 against the Isles in his career.

...a few more...

4.  The Isles have lost seven straight in Pittsburgh and are just 1-10 in their last 11 trips to the Steel City.  The Isles are 3-16-1 in divisional road games over the past two seasons, with all three wins at Madison Square Garden. 

5.  The Isles went 0-3 on the power play, including a 48 second 5-on-3.  The Isles, who allowed four power play goals in their last game in Pittsburgh, killed the only Penguin power play.

6.  The Isles have dropped six straight on the road, and have been outscored in those games 22-9.  They are 0-20 on the power play in that stretch.

7. Dwayne Roloson, who played his 499th NHL game, suffered his fourth straight loss.  It's the first time this season that's he's gone more than three games without a win.

8.  Scoring Slumps: Sean Bergenheim/John Tavares - 12 games, Trent Hunter/Richard Park - 10 games, Blake Comeau - 8 games, Kyle Okposo - 7 games

9.  With the Flyers defeating the Devils in the snow at the Rock tonight, the Isles are now seven points out of the playoffs ... and only seven points ahead of the last place (in the East) Maple Leafs.  Of course, one look across the ice can show the advantage a team can accrue by drafting top picks in consecutive years: Marc-Andre Fleury, Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal were selected by the Penguins with a top-2 pick in consecutive drafts from 2003-2006.  Both Fleury and Crosby were the top pick overall.

10. The Penguins lead the season series three games to one (and seven points to three).  The teams will meet twice in four days to end the regular season in April.

Up next:  The Isles return home to finish up the pre-Olympic schedule, hosting Tampa at 2pm Saturday and Ottawa at 5pm Sunday.  The Lightning have swept the first three games of the season series, including a 5-2 win in Tampa last week.

Leftovers from Tuesday's Stat Trick: (with thanks to Elias and Matt Borzello)

Matt Martin did something on Tuesday night that had never been done in his lifetime.  He became the first Islander since Rich Pilon to record two assists in his NHL debut.  Pilon had two assists against the Calgary Flames on October 6, 1988.  (Martin was born seven months later.)  Gary Suter scored for the Flames as part of a three-goal Calgary comeback; his nephew Ryan played against Martin on Tuesday.

All three Islander goals Tuesday were from defensemen as Freddy Meyer, Bruno Gervais and Mark Streit scored.  It is the first time since December 29, 2007 that three Islander defensemen have all scored in the same game. That night, Chris Campoli, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Andy Sutton all beat Martin Brodeur as the Isles defeated the Devils 5-2.
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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