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The Skinny: Isles 4, New Jersey 1 - Isles clinch a Playoff Spot!

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Game 81 Isles 4, New Jersey 1    They're in! Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Kyle Palmieri scored goals 4...

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Skinny: Isles 7, Buffalo 6 (ot)

"The Skinny"
By Eric Hornick
Game 56
Isles 7, Sabres 6 (OT)
At this point, Michael Grabner could melt all of the snow remaining on Long
Island…he's that hot.  Grabner extended his goal scoring streak to five games,
his multi-goal streak to three games, and became the first rookie in NHL history
to record two hat tricks for two different teams in two separate seasons (he had
one last season for Vancouver) as Grabner's third tally came 2:55 into overtime
as the Islanders defeated the Buffalo Sabres 7-6 before a sellout crowd of
18,690 at the HSBC Arena.  The Islanders have won three straight games –
equaling their season high and are 5-2-0 since the All-Star Break.
Busy First
Grabner scored on a wrap-around just 40 seconds into play to give the Isles an
early lead with his team-leading 22nd goal.  It's the first time this season
that the Isles have scored in the game's opening minute and the first time that
the Isles scored first in consecutive games since December 23 (New Jersey) and
December 26 (Montreal).
The Sabres responded with goals from Jochen Hecht and Drew Stafford 56 seconds
apart before John Tavares evened the back-and forth contest at 12:49 of the
session.  Stafford's second goal, with 2:21 to play, gave the Sabres a 3-2 lead
after one period.
Gerbe and Comeau Trade Goals
The Sabres grabbed the game's only two-goal lead when Nathan Gerbe, who last
month scored twice in five seconds against the Isles, gave the Sabres a 4-2 lead
at 4:31 of the session.  The goal chased Mikko Koskinen and allowed Al Montoya
to set Islander history by becoming the Isles' 6th goaltender to be used this
season.  IT was Montoya's first NHL game since April 9, 2009 when he played for
Phoenix.  Blake Comeau, playing his first game since being injured by a high
check by Pittsburgh's Maxime Talbot scored a key goal with 1:05 to play in the
middle period. It was his 14th goal of the season.

Grabner Goes Multi
Grabner's unassisted tally tied the game 4-4 at 3:00 of the third period.  With
the goal, he became the first rookie in Islander history to record three
consecutive multi-goal games. He is the first Islander with three consecutive
multiple-goal games since Mariusz Czerkawski did so in March/April, 1998.

A Key 5-on-3
Tyler Meyers gave the Sabres a 5-4 lead at 5:26 of the third, but the game
changed..again…with the Isles on a 5-on-3 midway through the period. Two
Islander defenders, Milan Jurcina and Ty Wishart, scored 1:16 apart, first on a
5-on-3 and then on a 5-on-4. It was Wishart's first NHL goal.  However, just 31
seconds later, Stafford completed his league-leading 4th hat trick and after the
Islanders killed the first 1:45 of a Travis Hamonic penalty, the game headed to
Grabner's dream week continued when he scored the winning goal to complete his
hat trick at 2:55 of the extra session.  It was his 24th goal of the season,
tying Logan Couture for the rookie lead. He has scored 21 times at even
strength, only Steven Stamkos has more even-strength goals (25 of 40).  It was
the first time an Islander game with at least twelve goals had gone to overtime
since 2002, and the first time since February 28, 1993 (in Hartford) that the
Isles had won an overtime game by a score of 7-6 or higher.  7-6 Final.
Hats Each Way
It's the 10th time that the Isles and their opponent had a hat trick in the same
·        October 14, 1978: Denis Potvin/Darryl Sittler (Toronto)
·        March 30, 1980:  Butch Goring/Real Cloutier (Quebec)
·        October 21, 1982: Bryan Trottier/Ken Houston (Washington)
·        November 29, 1983:  Brent Sutter/Bernie Federko (St. Louis)
·        Jannuary 21, 1989: Pat LaFontaine/Dave Gagner (Minnesota)
·        October 15, 1991: Derek King/Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh)
·        December 10, 1991: Ray Ferraro/Brett Hull (St. Louis)
·        October 23, 1993: Derek King/Sylvain Turgeon (Ottawa)
·        December 3, 2006: Viktor Kozlov (4)/Brendan Shanahan (Rangers)
·        February 13, 2011: Michael Grabner/Drew Stafford (Buffalo)
Grabner's Glory
Grabner has a 5-game goal streak -- 1st by an Islander since Ziggy Palffy
(3/27-4/5/97).  He is the first Islander rookie to have a 5-game goal streak
since Patrick Flatley had a 6-game streak in 1984-85.  Detroit's Dan Cleary had
a six-game goal scoring streak earlier this season; he is the only NHL player
with a longer streak than Grabner, who became the first rookie to score in five
consecutive game since Anaheim's Bobby Ryan did so from 1/17-1/28/09.  Grabner
now has nine goals in the last five games.   Since January 15th, Grabner has 15
goals in the last 14 games, by far the most of any player in the NHL (Entering
play Sunday, no one else had more than eight).  For his efforts, he was named
the NHL Network's Performer of the Night and is a leading candidate for the
NHL's Player of the Week, which will be awarded at noon on Monday.
Without a Fight
The high scoring contest did not include a fight, which was quite a change from
the Isles' game on Saturday which included 346 penalty minutes, 183 on the
Islanders.  Both marks were club records.
Strange Stats of the Game
The Isles have won their last two road games, despite trailing after two periods
in both games.  The Isles opened the season going 0-20-2 in games that they
trailed after two periods.
The Isles have won three times in four days for the first time since March
13-14-16, 2010.
It's Been a Long Time…
…since the Isles scored 16 goals in two games.  They last did so on
1/23-1/26/1993 (8-4 vs Philadelphia, 8-2 vs New Jersey).  (The club record is
..since the Isles scored 19 goals in three games. They also last did that in
January 1983.
…since the Isles scored 22 in 4 and 27 in 5 games.  Both streaks go back to late
in the 1996-97 season.
…won a game that they allowed 6 goals.  They had gone 0-105-2 in their last 107
since beating Hartford in February 1983.
…played in two games in which 25 goals were scored. On 11/12-14/ 1992, the Isles
lost to Philadelphia 8-5 and then beat Buffalo 7-5.  (The club record is 26)
The Jurcina Effect
Milan Jurcina had a goal and assist, both on the power play.  In the 31 games
that he has played, the Isles are 17-11-3.  They are 3-18-4 in the 25 games that
he has missed.
Home and Road
The Isles are 20-29-7, and are 10-16-3 on the road. They are now 16-19-4 under
Jack Capuano, including 15-11-2 in the last 28.  The Isles are 5-2-0 in February
with seven games to play; it is their most wins in any month this season except
for December (6-7-1).
The Sabres are 26-22-6 and 12-12-2 at home.
In the Nets
Koskinen was chased after stopping 10 of 14 shots.  His record remains 2-1-0. 
Montoya stopped 12 of the 14 shots he faced to earn the win.  It's already the
third time in 2011 that the Isles have won a game that included a goalie changes
– the other two were due to injury.  Montoya, who turned 26 today, is now 4-1-0
in his NHL career.
Ryan Miller made 19 saves for Buffalo; the Isles scored 17 goals on 107 shots
vs. Miller this season.  It's only the third time in his career that he allowed
seven goals.

Power Plays
The Isles went 2-6 on the power play and killed all three Sabre power plays. 
It's the first time since 12/31-1/3 that the Isles have scored multiple pp goals
in consecutive games.
In the Circle
The Isles won 38 of 67 (57%) face-offs.  John Tavares won 11 of 16 for the Isles
while Jochen Hecht lost 10 of 15 for Pittsburgh.
Missing Men
Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin and Mark Eaton are out for the season.
Mark Streit, Doug Weight, Rick DiPietro, Jeremy Colliton and Nathan Lawson
remain out. The Isles have now lost a league-leading 376 man-games to injury. 
Trevor Gillies and Matt Martin served the first of their nine and four game
suspensions, respectively. Jack Hillen was scratched with a lingering effect
from Friday's game while Blake Comeau played for the first time in eight games.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 138 games since
joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have
played every game this season; his 68-game streak includes the final 12 games
last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 36 NHL games (all
consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the
Grabner Climbing the Rookie Leaderboard
Grabner needs just two goals in the final 26 games to do something no Islander
rookie since Mike Bossy has done—score as many as 26 goals.  David Volek had 25
in 1988-89 and Trent Hunter had 25 in 2003-04. John Tavares had 24 last season.
Bossy had a  club rookie-record of 53 in 1977-78.   Four rookies have led the
Isles in goals: Billy Harris - 28 in 1972-73, Mike Bossy - 53 in 1977-78, Trent
Hunter -25 in 2003-04 (tied with Mariusz Czerkawski) and Kyle Okposo-18 in
Season Series Stats          
The Isles win the season series three games to one (and six points to three). 
They won both games in Buffalo for the first time since 2003-04.
Happy Anniversary
29 years ago today (February 13, 1982):   Bryan Trottier scored five straight
goals as the Isles pounded the Flyers 8-2 at the Coliseum.  It's the second
5-goal game of Trottier's career; no Islander has done so since.  Trottier also
had a club-record four goals in the second period.
 All-time, the Isles are 8-5-1 on this date, including wins in their last four
games (2004, 2007, 2010 and 2011)
Up Next
Tuesday, February 15 Islanders @ Ottawa 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]
The Islanders conclude the season series with the Ottawa Senators as they play
the Sens for the 2nd time in 11 days.  The Sens have won two of the first three,
but the Isles defeated Ottawa 5-3 on February 5th.  The Isles will be looking
for their first win in Ottawa since November 13, 2008, having gone 0-2-2 in the
last four.
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
Twitter @ehornick

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