By Eric Hornick
Isles 5, Sabres 2
Michael Grabner extended his goal scoring streak to four straight games and
later added a power play empty net goal as the Islanders overcame an injury to
goaltender Nathan Lawson and defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 in front of a
sellout crowd of 18,690 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. Grabner is the first Islander
to score in four straight games this season.
First Goal, Finally
After allowing the opening goal for eight straight games, the Isles jumped on
top at 7:26 of the first period when Grabner's shot was put into the Sabre goal
by Buffalo defensemen Tyler Myers. The goal also extended Grabner's point streak
to five straight games. Matt Moulson doubled the advantage at 10:30 of the
period when he deflected in a shot by Andrew MacDonald. After Moulson's goal,
with the Sabres trailing 2-0 and being outshot 10-3, Lindy Ruff tried to shake
up his team by pulling Olympic netminder Ryan Miller. Patrick Lalime replaced
him and did not face a shot the rest of the first period as the Isles, who
entered play tied with Washington for the fewest first period goals (29) ended
the first with a 2-0 lead.
Nathan Lawson suffered a knee injury late in the first period; he will be
re-evaluated on Saturday. He finished the period and was replaced by Kevin
Poulin to start the second period.
Another Goal for PA
PA Parenteau gave the Isles a 3-0 lead at 14:35 of the second period, converting
a pass from John Tavares for his 12th goal of the season; the goals have come in
12 different games. The Isles have five players with at least 12 goals
(Tavares-18, Moulson-15, Grabner-14 and Comeau-13 are the others); the quintet
have combined for 70 of the Isles' 113 goals (61%) this season.
Hillen Puts It Away?
Jack Hillen gave the Isles a 4-0 lead at 14:33 of the 3rd period with his second
goal of the season. It's the 8th goal of the season by an Islander defensemen,
but only the 4th since October. Rob Schremp, who was a healthy scratch on
Thursday, recorded his 2nd assist of the night; it's the third time this season
that he has had two assists in a game. At that point, it looked like the Isles
might be headed for the third combined shutout in franchise history
(Smith/Hogosta in 1977; Salo/Flaherty in 1998).
Milestone Moment for Nathan Gerbe
Nathan Gerbe ruined the shutout at 16:38 when he beat Poulin; five seconds later
he was re-writing record books as he scored again for the first two-goal game of
his career. The two goals in 5 seconds are the fastest two goals scored by one
player against the Isles and the fastest two goals scored by one player in Sabre
history. It's only the 4th time in NHL history that a player has scored two
goals in five seconds or less (4 seconds – Nels Stewart and Deron Quint; 5
seconds- Peter Mahovolich).
Gerbe took a slashing penalty seven seconds after his second goal, ending his
bid for breaking Bill Mosienko's record of 3 goals in 21 seconds that has stood
Grabner Puts It Away
With Gerbe still in the penalty box, the Sabres were caught for too many men.
With two seconds left to play, after trying to get empty-netters for two
teammates, Grabner hit the open twine for his first multi-goal game of the
season and second of his career. Grabner is now tied-3rd among rookie goal
scorers with Taylor Hall. Only Logan Couture (20) and Jeff Skinner (17) have
more. 5-2 Final.
Home and Road
The Isles improve to 15-24-7, including 7-14-3 on the road. They are now 11-14-4
under Jack Capuano, including 10-6-2 in the last 18. The Isles have gone 5-3-0
in the last eight on the road after going 2-11-3 in their first 16 road games.
The Sabres fall to 21-21-5 overall and 11-12-1 at home.
In the Nets
Gerbe's two goals deprived Nathan Lawson, who left with a 2-0 lead of his first
NHL victory. Lawson made 10 saves. Kevin Poulin made 26 saves and is credited
with the win in relief (2-1-1). Patrick Lalime stopped 16 of 18 shots in relief
of Ryan Miller but is charged with the loss. Miller, who has started 24
straight games, had never been pulled this early in a home game as a Sabre.
Lalime has now appeared in seven games this season without a win (0-5-0); it's
the most games played by a goalie without a win this season. Lawson has played
in six without a win.
The Isles went 1-3 on the power play, scoring a power play goal into an empty
net, while Buffalo was 0-3. The Isles re now 8-19 (42%) in the last six on the
road. (The Isles came into the game ranked 29th on the power play at home and
8th on the road.) The Isles have killed 28 of 32 (88%) over the last 11 games.
In the Circle
The Isles had a strong night in the circle, winning 40 of 67 (60%) face-offs.
Frans Nielsen won 12 of 16 while John Tavares won 11 of 17.
Strange Stat of the Night
The Isles were outshot 38-29. They have been outshot in all 15 of their wins
this season (15-10-5). The Isles are 0-14-2 when outshooting their opponent
Mike Mottau and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit, Doug Weight,
Trent Hunter, Milan Jurcina and Rhett Rakhshani remain out; Rick DiPietro was
left back recovering from the flu. Trevor Gillies was a healthy scratch. The
Isles have now lost 293 man-games to injury.
First Point for Kyle
Kyle Okposo recorded an assist on the empty-net goal for his first point of the
season and 97th of his NHL career.
Moulson Extends Streak
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 128 games since
joining the team last season. Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have
played every game this season; his 58-game streak includes the final 12 games
last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 26 NHL games (all
consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the
Tonight's game was the first of five games in seven days for the Islanders,
matching the club record. It's the 26th time that it has happened but the first
time since it happened twice in the first 23 games of the 2007-08 season.
· January 20 - Lost to Washington 1-2
· January 21 – Won @ Buffalo 5-2
· January 23- Vs Buffalo
· January 25- @ Pittsburgh
· January 26- Vs Carolina
Season Series Stats
The Isles lead the season series two games to none (and four points to zero),
outscoring the Sabres 10-5. They have scored at least five goals in consecutive
games against Buffalo for the first time since the 1995-96 season. The teams
will play again on Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum and on February 13 in
29 years ago today (January 21, 1982): The Isles begin their historic 15-game
winning streak, by defeating the Penguins 6-1. Bryan Trottier scored the
winning goal; his 250th in the NHL. The Penguins would later break the Isles'
record, winning 17 straight, but they needed overtime to complete their streak,
leaving the Islanders as the only team in NHL history to have been better than
their opponents over 60 minutes in fifteen straight games.
Overall, the Isles are 10-5-3 on January 21st, including victories each of the
last three seasons.
Sunday, January 23- Buffalo @Islanders 3:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 2:30), WRHU 88.7FM]
The Islanders look to sweep the home-and-home as they face the Sabres on Sunday
afternoon. It will be the third meeting in nine days between the squads.
Only once in Islander history have the Isles beaten a single opponent three
times without being another opponent in between. In 2001, the Isles beat
Carolina on October 17, 18, and 26. They will have a chance to match this
statistical oddity on Sunday.
Buffalo is 7-3-1 in their last 11 games overall, but two of the losses have been
to the Islanders.
Happy birthday to Islander captain Doug Weight, born on this date in 1971.
Happy anniversary to Jiggs McDonald, who added a certain statistician to Isles
telecasts in time for the first game of that 15-game win streak.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since
January 21, 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from
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