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The Skinny: Carolina 6, Isles 3 (Carolina wins series 4-1)

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Eastern Conference Round 1, Game 5 Carolina 6, Isles 3 Carolina Wins Series 4-1 School is out. Jack D...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"The Skinny"

By Eric Hornick

Game 9
Montreal 5, Islanders 3

Three James Wisniewski shots from just inside the blue line produced three goals for the Islanders, but it was not enough at the Bell Centre in Montreal as the Canadiens defeated the Isles 5-3 in the front end of a home-and-home, before the customary sellout crowd of 21,273.  The first place Canadiens have won three straight games and are 6-2-1 overall.
 Darche Scores First
Mathieu Darche scored the game's first goal, 13:19 into play as the Islanders fell behind for the second straight game.    With PK Subban sitting out a penalty, Travis Moen converted a great pass from Tomas Plekanec to give Montreal a 2-0 lead late in the first period.  It was Montreal's first shorthanded goal of the season and the first allowed by the Isles in 27 games, dating back to January 28th in Carolina.
Just 1:22 after Moen's goal, James Wisniewski got the Isles on the board in the final minute of the first period with a power play tally. Wisniewksi now has a point in all seven games he has played for the Islanders.
Plekanec Expands the Lead
Tomas Plekanec recorded his 10th career goal against the Isles 7:33 into the second period to make it 3-1 in favor of Montreal.
Mr. Moen, Meet Zenon
Travis Moen took a boarding penalty midway through the second period with a dangerous hit on Wisniewski.  The Canadiens killed the minor penalty but when Moen exited the penalty box, he ran right into Zenon Konopka.  The game's only fight ensued.  It was Konopka's 4th fight of the season; he now has 26 penalty minutes on the season.  After Konopka headed to the penalty box, Wisniewksi came by the penalty box to salute his mate.
Tavares Extends Point Streak to 5 – Matches Career High
Just 13 seconds into the 3rd period, John Tavares deflected a Wisniewksi shot to cut the Montreal advantage to 3-2. It was the Isles’ second power play goal of the evening and gives Tavares a five-game point scoring streak for the second time in his NHL career. Tavares leads the Islanders in goals with six. Four of his 6 goals have come on the power play, tying Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson for the NHL lead.

Halpern Doubles the Lead but Rollie Stops Pouliot

Montreal regained a 2-goal lead at 6:56 as Jeff Halpern's shot appeared to be deflected into the goal by Islander defensemen Mark Eaton.  Fifteen seconds later, Benoit Pouliot was pulled down by Radek Martinek and was given a penalty shot.  Dwayne Roloson stopped him to keep the lead at two.  It was the fifth penalty shot in the NHL this season and second against the Isles.  The Isles have stopped both attempts this season and 28 of 41 all-time opponent penalty shots.  Roloson has stopped 8 of 11 penalty shots in his career.

One Last Gasp…
Doug Weight deflected Wisniewski's shot behind Carey Price to draw the Isles within one with 7:04 to play.  It was the 2nd goal of the season for the Islander captain, who was playing in his 98th game with the team.  Andrei Kostisyn hit the empty net to settle matters.  5-3 Montreal. Final.
Every Day Carey
Carey Price made 18 saves to improve his record to 6-2-1.  He is 2-0-2 in four career starts against the Isles.  The Canadiens are one of three teams – Dallas (Kari Lehtonen) and Edmonton (Nikolai Khabibulin) are the others – to use only one goaltender this season. Might Alex Auld make his season debut on Friday at the Coliseum?   Roloson finished with 30 saves for the Isles, but falls to 2-2-0 on the season.
First Goal's a Key
The Isles are 4-1-0 when they score first and 0-2-2 when their opponent does so.
Shot Shortage
The Isles have been held to 25 shots or fewer in 6 of their last 7 games.  Since firing 47 against Dallas on Opening Night, the Isles have averaged 25.5 shots per game.
Mr. October
Ten of Tavares' 30 career goals have been scored in October.  He now has 15 career power play goals – 13 of them have been scored on the road.
The Wiz is the Word
James Wisniewksi now has 2 goals and 9 assists on the season.  The 11 points tie John-Michael Liles for the lead among all defensemen.  Both Wisniewksi and Liles have recorded a point in every game that they have played this season. James has recorded two assists in consecutive games; his 3 points tonight match his career high (set  4 times previously). Ten of Wisniewski's points have been on the power play; he leads the entire NHL in both power play assists (8) and power play points.
Still 2nd
With the Rangers and Penguins also suffering regulation losses, the Isles remain in second place in the Atlantic- one point behind Pittsburgh. The Isles are 2-3-1 on the road and 4-3-2 overall. 
Shorthanded Goals Are Killers
The Isles allowed their first shorthanded goal of the season.  The Islanders are 0-8-1 in the Scott Gordon era when they allow a shorty (and 0-9-1 since they won in a shootout at Madison Square Garden in a March 4, 2008 game).
Power(ful) Play
With two goals tonight, the Isles have now scored on the power play in six straight games. It's the first time since March 22-31, 2007 that they have managed that.  The Isles now have 13 power play goals in their first nine games that the Isles scored on the power play; they had only 12 in their first 18 games last season.  The 13 goals are the most in the NHL.  The penalty killers were perfect on all 3 chances; the Isles have killed 25 of 27 (92.6%) over the last six games, including 14 of 15 (93.3%) on this road trip.  Montreal is now 2-32 on their power play (6.3%) this season.
Half Full
The Isles finished the road trip going 6-17 on the power play and 14-15 on the penalty kill, yet were 2-2-0 on the trip.  The Isles scored only 5 even-strength goals in the four games.
In the Circle
The Isles lost 31 of 59 draws (47%).  Zenon Konopka had won 12 of 17 (71%).
Seven Down, Eight to Go
This is the seventh game in a 15 game stretch that will find the Islanders playing 12 on the road and only three at home.  They are now 3-3-1 in the first seven games.  The Isles head home for a Friday game with Montreal, before playing six of the next seven on the road; their only other remaining home game in this stretch is on November 6.
How Many First Place Teams Can They Face?
Of the Isles first six road games, they have faced a first place team four times.  Pittsburgh and Florida are the only teams that the Isles have faced on the road that were not in first place when the Isles faced them.  Two of those teams, Montreal and Tampa, now share the Conference lead with 13 points.
Missing Men
Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and Andrew MacDonald remain out for extended periods; Rob Schremp began practicing with the team this week.  Josh Bailey returned to the line-up after missing two games with a hip injury and saw over 19 minutes of ice time.
Season Series Stats          
The Canadiens lead the season series 1 game to none.  The teams will play at the Coliseum on Friday and again on Boxing Day (December 26).  The Isles are 0-2-1 in their last three games in Montreal.
Happy Anniversary
The Isles defeated the Rangers 3-2 on this date in 1973 for their first ever win against their rivals.  Recent years have been less successful; the Isles have played four times in the last six years on October 27th and dropped them all.
Nino Niederreiter played 14:28 in his 9th NHL game.  The Isles will need to decide before he plays in another game whether or not they want to return him to Portland of the WHL. 
 Up Next
Friday, October 29- Montreal Canadiens @ Islanders 7:00pm
[MSG+2 (Islanders pre-game at 6:30pm), WRHU 88.7FM]
It's the back-end of the home-and-home as the Canadiens visit Long Island for the first time this season.  It's the first time in 10 years that the teams are playing home-and-home; the Isles won identical 2-1 decisions on October 27-28, 2000.
The Isles will be looking to record a power play goal for the seventh straight game – they last did that as part of an eight game streak from March 13-28, 2002.

Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.

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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