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The Skinny: Isles 5, Pittsburgh 4

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Game 82 Isles 5, Pittsburgh 4    On to the Playoffs! Simon Holmstrom scored the winning goal with 5:3...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Stat Trick: Isles 4, Maple Leafs 1

Blake Comeau recorded the first three-assist game and set a career high with 27 points as the Isles concluded a three-game homestand with five out of a possible six points, with a 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs.  On to the trick:

1. Nikolai Kulemin scored just 57 seconds into play, extending his point-scoring streak to five games and giving Toronto the lead.  However, Tim Jackman tied the game just 1:54 later, and Richard Park gave the Isles a lead with a shorthanded tally.  It's the second time this season that the Isles have scored shorthanded in consecutive games (October 22-24) but the first time that they had done so in both ends of a back-to-back since November 3-4, 2008.

2. Frans Nielsen expanded the lead to 3-1 with a goal off a gorgeous passing play late in the second period. It was Nielsen's 10th goal of the season, giving the Isles eight players with at least ten goals.

3. Matt Moulson added the final goal when he scored on the power play with 2:22 to play.  It was his 25th goal of the season; he's the first Isle to reach to 25 goals since 2006-07.

...a few more...

4. Martin Biron made 26 saves to improve his record to 3-0-1 in his last four starts.  He had only two wins prior to this stretch.  JS Giguere finished with 28 saves for the Leafs.

5. Trevor Gillies recorded his first NHL point on the Park goal. He is 662 points behind Clark Gillies on the all-time Isles list.

6. Special teams helped win the game for the Isles, as they killed all seven Leaf power plays, and scored both a power play goal and a shorthanded goal.  Toronto was 1-20 on the power play this season against the Isles.  The Isles have now scored a power play goal in four straight home games for the first time since last January/February.

7. The Isles improve to 19-13-3 at home.  With six games remaining, they are assured of an NHL-.500 season at home.  The 41 points is one more than they managed last season and equaled their total two seasons ago under Ted Nolan.

8.  It's only the second time all season that the Isles have won consecutive games, both in regulation.  The Isles won consecutive regulation-time games on October 31 (vs. Buffalo) and November 2 (vs. Edmonton).

9. The Isles scored four goals in each of the weekend games.  They had not scored four goals in consecutive games since January 18-19.

10.  The Isles win the season series three games to one, six points to three.  They now have a seven point lead over the Leafs in the overall standings (and climbed over Carolina in the process).  The Isles won both Coliseum match-ups and are 9-1-2 in their last twelve games at home against Toronto.

Up next: The Isles begin a four-game road trip in Vancouver on Tuesday. This is the only meeting of the season between the teams, who have traded shootout victories the past two seasons.  It's only the fourth trip of the century for the Isles to Vancouver (0-2-1), who have won only once in Vancouver since 1993 (1-5-2).  The Isles' most recent win in Vancouver came on March 18, 1999 by a 3-1 score.  Mark Lawrence, Mike Watt and Bryan Smolinski scored in that game for the Islanders, which was played the week John Tavares turned 8 1/2 years old. Wade Flaherty recorded the victory in nets for the Isles.  The trip continues with games in Anaheim and Los Angeles, before finishing next Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

 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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