By Eric Hornick
Bruins 6, Isles 3
Boston scored 5 goals on 18 shots against Nathan Lawson as they rode a fast start to a 6-3 win over the Islanders before a crowd of 12,478 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Bruins' win breaks both their three-game losing streak and the Islanders' four games winning streak.
Down 3 in the First
The Bruins have been a good first period team all season, and they grabbed a 3-goal lead before the Islanders even had two shots on goal. Blake Wheeler's wrister eluded Lawson just 1:50 into play, Mark Recchi deflected a puck in off his skate and Gregory Campbell scored on a tip-in as the Bruins led 3-0 by the 9:05 mark. Boston is now +21 in the first period while the Isles are -19. It's the 38th time this season that the Isles have allowed the opening goal (7-27-4). Boston has won all 19 games that they have had a 3-goal lead this season.
Recchi's goal was his 574th career tally, passing Islander legend Mike Bossy for 19th place all-time. Recchi, the active leader in goals, assists, points and games, scored his first goal since turning 43 earlier this month. Chris Chelios was the last player to score a goal beyond his 43rd birthday, on March 20, 2008. Mark Messier was the last forward to score a goal after age 43, doing so one day Igor Larionov became the only other forward since at least 1988 to do so.
Lots of Goals in the 2nd
It seems like everything was going in early in the second. David Krejeci made it 4-0 Boston 55 seconds into the period but John Tavares got the Isles on the board 55 seconds later. Tyler Seguin scored at 2:48 to chase Lawson, but Josh Bailey scored for the second straight game and extended his point streak to four games, at 5:36. Blake Comeau assisted on both Islander goals in the period; he has points in all three games since recovering from his concussion (2-2-4).
The Isles were hit with a too many men on the ice penalty at 7:10; it was their 10th bench minor on the season – only Tampa (11) has more. Milan Lucic made them pay with a power play tally seven seconds later. The Isles carried the offense for most of the middle period, recording 21 shots, but trailed 6-2 after 40 minutes.
Tavares Tallies Again
John Tavares had a chance to get the Isles within three early in the third but slid the puck across the streak; later in the session he beat Tuukka Rask for his second goal of the night. Tavares now has 23 goals on the season, one shy of his rookie year total. Alas, the Isles could get no closer. 6-3 Final.
Michael Grabner, who leads all rookies in goals with 25, had his six-game goal scoring streak stopped, despite recording four shots on goal. The streak was the longest by an Islander rookie since Patrick Flatley in 1984-85 (also six games) and matched Detroit's Daniel Cleary for the longest streak in the NHL this season. Grabner's streak is the longest by a rookie since Evgeny Malkin had a 6-game stretch in 2006-07.
Since January 15th, Grabner has 16 goals in 16 games, by far the most of any player in the NHL (Entering play Thursday, no one else had more than nine).
Milestone for Konopka
Zenon Konopka was involved in the game's only fight, battling with Adam McQuaid. Konopka received seven penalty minutes on the play, giving the NHL's leader an even 200 minutes. He is the first Islander since Rich Pilon (291 in 1997-98) to reach 200 and the first forward since Mick Vukota (237 in 1993-94). Konopka is only the 6th player in Islander history to post a 200 penalty minute season (Ken Baumgartner - 2x, Brian Curran-1x, Garry Howatt-3x, Pilon-2x and Vukota-6x).
Strange Stat of the Game
Micheal Haley out-hit the Bruins…all by himself. He had 9 of the Isles' 21 hits; Boston was credited with just four hits.
It's Been a Long Time Since…
…the Isles had such a lengthy streak of scoring at least three goals in a game. Since being blanked in Pittsburgh on February 2nd, the Isles have scored at least three goals in each of their last seven games. The Last time the Isles managed at least three goals in 7 straight games came March 11-25, 2004, when they scored at least three goals in eight straight games.
Growing Up Together
The Islanders have had four players record their 100th career point, all of them in Islander uniforms, this season.
· Blake Comeau leads the way. His 2 assists tonight gives him 109 points (347-62-109)
· Frans Nielsen has 105 points (35-70-105)
· Kyle Okposo also has 105 points (41-64-105)
· John Tavares' two goals tonight gives him 103 points (47-56-103)
Two injured players (Trent Hunter and Mark Streit) are the only others on the current roster to have recorded 100 points in an Islander uniform.
With his two goals tonight, Tavares now has 103 career points, one more than Matt Duchesne. No other member of the 2009 draft class has more than 60 NHL points. Tavares, who scored eight goals over eight games from December 31-January 15, now has five goals in his last five games.
Home and Road
The Bruins are 32-19-7, including a sparking 17-7-4 record on the road.
The Isles are 21-30-7, and are 10-14-4 at home. They are 17-20-4 under Jack Capuano, including 16-12-2 in the last 30. The Isles are 6-3-0 in February with five games to play; it matches their most wins in any month this season (6-7-1 in December).
In the Nets
Nathan Lawson stopped 13 of 18 shots before being chased early in the second period. Al Montoya allowed only one goal over the final 37:12, making 15 stops. Each of his two appearances for the Islanders has come in relief; he has allowed three goals on 30 shots in those two games.
Tuukka Rask improved to 6-11-1 for Boston, including 2-3 in five appearances since January 13th.
The Isles went 0-1 on the power play while the Bruins were 1-2.
In the Circle
The Isles had another difficult night in the circle as they won just 17 of 53 (32%) face-offs. No Islander center won more than he lost; Patrice Bergeron won 13 of 18 for Boston.
Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit, Doug Weight, Rick DiPietro, and Jeremy Colliton remain out. Trevor Gillies and Matt Martin served the third of their nine and four game suspensions, respectively. The Isles have lost 386 games to injury and ten games to suspension this season. With Bruno Gervais back in the lineup, Ty Wishart was a healthy scratch.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 140 games since joining the team last season. Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 70-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 38 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.
Season Series Stats
The Bruins lead the season series two games to none (and four points to 0). The Isles are 2-9-1 in their last against Boston, including 1-5-0 at home. The teams will meet again on Long Island on March 11th before finishing the season series in Boston in early April.
19 years ago today (February 17, 1992): Tom Fitzgerald scored in overtime to give the Isles a 5-4 win over Winnipeg in the first-ever President's Day matinee at the Coliseum. It's the only one of his 25 goals as an Islander to be scored in overtime.
All-time, the Isles are 5-10-3 on this date, going 0-2-2 in four games since a 1999 win in Pittsburgh.
Saturday, February 19 Los Angeles @ Islanders 7:00pm
It has been a long time since the Islanders beat the Kings – Eight years and four days (as of Saturday). Los Angeles, who defeated the Isles 5-1 in November in Scott Gordon's final game, has won six straight over the Isles; New York is 0-5-2 in the last seven against the Kings.
Matt Moulson's brother-in-law (Jonathan Quick) has been in the nets for each of the last four meetings of the teams, and has won them all.
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.