By Eric Hornick
Isles 4, Atlanta 1
Kyle Okposo scored two goals and added an assist to give him 100 career points
and rookie goaltender Kevin Poulin made 25 saves as the Islanders rallied from a
1-0 deficit to defeat the Atlanta Thrashers 4-1 before 11,176 at Philips Arena
in Atlanta. The win is the Isles' 6th in their last ten road games (6-4-0).
A Gift For Freddy
Former Islander Freddy Meyer was credited for Atlanta's only goal as he scored
from behind the goal line on a puck that Kevin Poulin never saw and appeared to
go off the stick of Travis Hamonic. A lengthy video review confirmed the goal
at 14:31 of the first. It was Meyer's first goal since he scored for the Isles
in Vancouver on March 16, 2010. It was the 12th time in 13 games that the Isles
have allowed the opening goal and a league-leading 33rd time in 50 games this
season (5-24-4). Atlanta outshot the Isles 10-8 in the opening period.
Big Second Period
The Isles seized control of the game in the middle session. The record books
will note that Travis Hamonic's first NHL goal came at 5:23 of the second
period. It was the sixth goal in the last nine games for the Islanders'
defense. Late in the session, Kyle Okposo and PA Parenteau scored one minute
apart to give the Isles a 3-1 lead after two periods.
Kyle Okposo connected on a beautiful passing play with Michael Grabner for his
second goal of the night (and of the season) at 11:19 of the third for the
game's final goal and Okposo's 100th career point. It's the third career
two-goal game (two have come in Atlanta) and third three-point game for Okposo.
Outshoot Opponent… and Win? (Strange Stat of the Night)
The Isles outshot Atlanta 17-9 in the second period and 8-7 in the third, making
the final shots 33-26 in favor of the Isles. It's the first time all season
that the Isles have outshot their opponents and won the hockey game (1-15-2).
The Isles had five players who were +2 (Okposo, Tavares, Grabner, Hillen and
Martinek). Grabner, who earned one assist, and had another denied after a
scoring change, leads the Isles with a +4 rating. Grabner, who was named the
NHL's 3rd Star for the past week, has six goals and four assists in the last
nine games; the Isles were shutout in the only game that he did not earn a
Two Helpers for Tavares
John Tavares earned two assists. He now leads the team in goals (18), assists
(20) and points (38) and is in position to exceed his rookie totals in all three
categories (24-30-54). He has five points (all assists) in his last seven
Youngster, that's an NHL Goal
Hamonic's goal was his first in the NHL, coming in his 30th game. At 20 years,
169 days, he is the youngest Islander defensemen to score a goal since Mathieu
Biron scored his third goal for the Isles at the age of 19 years, 290 days,
onFeb 13, 2000 at Madison Square Garden.
Since 1996, the Isles have had 17 goals scored by defensemen younger than
Hamonic: 5 by Eric Brewer, 3 by Biron and 9 by Bryan Berard.
Perhaps, as the years go by, 1990 will be celebrated for other reasons than
being the year the Isles qualified for the playoffs on the last night of the
season or the 50th anniversary of another team's championship. Poulin, Tavares
and Hamonic all played big roles tonight; all were born in 1990. Kyle Okposo,
tonight's offensive star, was born in 1988.
Home and Road
The Isles improve to 16-27-7, and are 8-15-3 on the road. They are now 12-17-4
under Jack Capuano, including 11-9-2 in the last 22. The Isles now have 19
points on the road and 20 points at home.
The struggling Thrashers are 24-20-9 overall and 12-10-5 at home. They are
5-9-4 in their last 18 games.
In the Nets
Kevin Poulin made 25 saves as he improves to 3-2-1. Poulin has now stopped 221
of 238 shots in the NHL for a .929 save percentage; his goals against average is
a sparkling 2.37. Poulin's .929 save percentage is the lowest for any Islander
goalie that has played at least 300 minutes (Wade Dubielewicz is at .920). He
has allowed only one goal in each of his last two NHL starts.
Ondrej Pavelec made 29 saves but falls to 17-13-7 on the season; it was his
100th NHL game.
There were only two penalties called in the game. The Isles scored on their
power play, while stopping Atlanta's only try. It's the fourth time in the last
10 road games that the Isles have scored on every power play attempt (1-1 vs New
Jersey, 2-2 vs. Calgary and Chicago, 1-1 vs Atlanta).
The Isles have killed 37 of 42 (89%) over the last 15 games.
Martin Keeps Banging
Matt Martin led the Isles with four hits. He now has 182, which places him 4th
in the NHL. All three players ahead of Martin have played at least eight more
games than Martin. Only Cal Clutterbuck, who leads the NHL in hits, averages
more hits per game than Martin.
The Isles have five players with at least 13 goals (Tavares-18, Moulson-17,
Grabner-15, Comeau-13 and Parenteau-13); the quintet has combined for 76 of the
Isles' 123 goals (62%) this season.
In the Circle
The Isles won 31 of 61 (51%) face-offs. Josh Bailey sparkled in the circle,
winning 8 of 10.
Mike Mottau and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit, Doug Weight,
Trent Hunter, Milan Jurcina and Nathan Lawson remain out. Ty Wishart and Trevor
Gillies were healthy scratches. The Isles have now lost 321 man-games to injury.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 132 games since
joining the team last season. Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have
played every game this season; his 62-game streak includes the final 12 games
last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 30 NHL games (all
consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the
Season Series Stats
The Thrashers still lead the season series two games to one (and four points to
three); the Isles' win tonight snapped a three game losing streak to Atlanta.
The Isles are 12-5-5 against the Thrashers all-time in Atlanta; they have won at
least one game there in each season since the Thrashers joined the NHL.
17 years ago today (February 1, 1994): Patrick Flatley scores the Isles' first
three goals for the third (and final) hat trick of his career, Benoit Hogue
scored the other two, including the winner at 11:19 of the third, as the Isles
beat the Sharks 5-4 at the Coliseum.
33 years ago today (February 1, 1978): In a memorable game at Madison Square
Garden, the Isles defeated the Rangers 7-6. The Isles led 7-4 with four minutes
to play in the third period when Chico Resch was ejected as the third man in
during a fight between Phil Esposito and Stefan Persson. Billy Smith allowed
two goals in the final four minutes, but the Isles held on for the win.
All-time, the Isles are 8-4-4 on this date despite not playing at home since
Wednesday, February 2 Islanders @ Pittsburgh 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]
The Islanders will look to sweep the road trip on Wednesday night when they
return to Pittsburgh for the second time in just over a week. The Penguins
defeated the Islanders 1-0 last Tuesday and have beaten the Isles ten straight
times in Pittsburgh, with the Isles earning only one point (0-9-1). Seven of
the ten games have been decided by two goals or less.
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