By Eric Hornick
Capitals 3, Isles 2
Mike Knuble and Alex Semin scored 3:17 apart early in the third period as the
Capitals rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Isles before a sellout crowd of
16,250 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Okposo Strikes First
The Isles came out strong, recorded the game's first 11 shots, but the game
remained scoreless until Kyle Okposo beat Michael Neuvirth with a wrist shot at
13:48 of the first for the opening session's only goal and Okposo's third goal
of the season. It was Okposo's first goal since scoring twice on February 1st
in Atlanta. The Isles outshot the Caps 14-5 in the first period.
Hamonic Doubles the Lead
Travis Hamonic missed a few shifts in the first period after blocking a shot,
but returned to the game and put the Isles ahead 2-0 just 33 seconds into the
second period. It was Hamonic's third goal of the season.
Laich Gets Washington Back in the Game
A timeout by Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau helped changed the game. Shortly
thereafter, Brooks Laich scored at 9:44 into the middle period to get Washington
on the board and begin the Capitals comeback.
Gets Away in the Third
The Caps gained some energy from the Laich goal but still trailed the Isles 2-1
after two periods. Laich set up Knuble to tie the game at 2:24 of the third.
Alex Ovechkin assisted on Semin's goal at 5:41 that turned out to be the winner.
It's only the 2nd time in 19 games (15-2-2) that the Isles have lost in
regulation a game that they led after 40 minutes. 3-2 Final.
Zenon Konopka fought Mike Hendricks 2:26 into the second period. Konopka leads
the NHL with 224 penalty minutes.
A February to Remember
The Islanders finish February with two 10-goal scorers in Matt Moulson (10-3-13)
and Michael Grabner (10-6-16). It is the second time in club history that the
Islanders have had multiple players score 10 goals in February. In 1982, Bryan
Trottier (17), Brent Sutter (13) and Mike Bossy (11) all reached double digits.
The Isles went 12-1-1 in February 1982 and scored 83 goals.
Strange Stat of the Night
The Caps entered the season with Stanley Cup aspirations, but the Caps needed a
victory tonight to have more points than the Isles over the last three months.
Since December 1, Washington is 16-14-8 for 40 points and the Isles are 18-20-3
for 39 points (18-14-3 since December 16).
Young Get Younger
The Isles defense corps had only 627 games of experience entering the game and
Bruno Gervais (317) had more than half of it. Three of the Isles defensemen
(Travis Hamonic, Ty Wishart and Mark Katic) are NHL rookies; the average age of
the 20 players that dressed was 24.58 years. Back-up goalie Nathan Lawson was
the 3rd oldest Islander in the line-up, behind Zenon Konopka and PA Parenteau.
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 with 110 points (47-63-110)
· Frans Nielsen has 108 points (32-76-108)
· John Tavares has 106 points (47-59-106). He is the second youngest
player in Islander history (Bryan Trottier) to record 100 career points.
· Kyle Okposo goal gives him 106 points as well (42-64-106)
With 229 points, Trent Hunter (injured) is the only player on the current roster
to have recorded more points in an Islander uniform.
Matt Moulson recorded his 100th career point in Toronto on Tuesday, however his
first ten points came as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
Veteran defender Radek Martinek has 97 career points, all as an Islander.
Home and Road
The Caps improve to 33-20-10, and are 16-12-3 on the road. The Caps are three
points behind Tampa Bay, but the Lightning have played two fewer games.
The Isles are 23-32-8, and are 12-15-4 at home. They are 19-22-5 under Jack
Capuano, including 18-14-3 in the last 35. The Isles finish February 8-4-1;
it's their first 8-win month since November, 2008.
In the Nets
Michael Neuvirth made 29 saves to beat the Islanders for the 2nd time this
season and improve to 19-10-4 overall. Neuvirth, who allowed five goals for the
first time this season on Friday at the Garden, kept the Caps in the game in the
first period, and stopped the final 16 Islander shots. He is now one win shy of
the Capitals' record for wins (20) by a rookie goaltender, set by Bob Mason in
1986-87. Mason's rookie season would end early on Easter morning on a Pat
LaFontaine goal in the 4th overtime.
Al Montoya made 19 saves, but drops to 3-2-1. He is now 5-3-1 in nine career
starts and 6-3-1 overall.
The Isles went 0-4 on the power play while the Caps were 0-2. The Isles have
not allowed a power play goal in the last three games (6-6) and have killed
13-14 over the last five games. Washington, on the other hand, has now gone a
club-record 39 straight games without scoring more than one power play goal in a
In the Circle
The Islanders won 27 of 57 (47%) face-offs. John Tavares won 13 of 20, while
Zenon Konopka won all four of his draws.
Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin and Mark Eaton are out for the season.
Mark Streit, Doug Weight, Rick DiPietro, Radek Martinek, and Milan Jurcina
remain out. Trevor Gillies served the eighth game of his nine-game suspension.
The Isles have lost 427 games to injury and 15 games to suspension this
season. Both Nathan Lawson and Rob Schremp were placed on waivers on Saturday
morning, but both players dressed. Schremp was -2 in 13:46 of ice-time.
The Isles are 0-2-1 in the last three games, and Milan Jurcina has played only
2:18 in that stretch, missing each of the last two games. The Isles have gone
20-13-3 when Jurcina plays and 3-19-5 in the 27 games that he's missed.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 145 games since
joining the team last season. Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have
played every game this season; his 75-game streak includes the final 12 games
last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 43 NHL games (all
consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the
Season Series Stats
The Caps lead the season series three games to none, and six points to none.
All three meetings have been decided by a single goal. The teams will meet
again on Tuesday in Washington. The Caps have gone 10-0-1 in the last eleven
games against the Isles but four of the Capital wins have been in overtime or
With the Isles' improved play, attendance has been on the rise, culminating in
the season's first sellout tonight. It is the fifth straight 12,000+ crowd
after only six crowds that large in first 26 games. It is also the third
straight 13,000+ crowds in nearly 2 years (March 5-April 2, 2009 -- six
24 years ago today (February 26, 1987): Dale Henry and Neal Coulter were two of
the lesser-known Isles who scored goals in a 5-4 Islander win over Pittsburgh.
Mike Bossy and Pat Lafontaine also tallied; it was the 567th goal out of 573
career tallies for Bossy.
All-time, the Isles are 2-9-5 on this date, including a 0-5-3 record since the
1987 win over Pittsburgh.
Tuesday, March 1 @ Washington 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]
The home-and-home series concludes on Tuesday as the teams will meet in the
District. The Isles will be looking to avoid a season sweep; the Caps have won
the first three games, all by a single goal.
The only Islander win in the past three seasons over the Capitals came in
overtime on October 30, 2009. Mark Streit scored the winning goal in that game.
Congratulations to the Union College Dutchmen, who won the Cleary Cup by
finishing in first place in the ECAC Hockey League. Guess where "The Skinny"
author went to school. J
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since
1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various
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