Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Skinny: Capitals 2, Isles 1 (overtime)

"The Skinny"
By Eric Hornick

Game 64
Capitals 2, Isles 1 (OT)

Alex Ovechkin extended his own club record by scoring his eighth career OT goal
at the 1:55 mark to cap a Washington rally as the Capitals, who were held off
the board for the first 59:12, scored twice in a 2:43 span to defeat the Isles
2-1 before a sellout crowd of 18,398 at Verizon Center.


Scoreless First
Much like Saturday on Long Island, the home team came out strong, as the Caps
recorded the game's first eight shots, but the period ended scoreless thanks to
tremendous play by Nathan Lawson.

Moulson Gives the Isles the Lead
Matt Moulson scored the game's first goal off a pretty passing play with PA
Parenteau and John Tavares. It was Moulson's team-leading 28th tally; only
eight players in the entire NHL have more goals. Moulson now has 58 goals as an
Islander, tying playoff hero Shawn Bates for 45th place in Islander history.
Parenteau now had 25 assists while Tavares has 30, matching his rookie season
total. The Isles have now scored first in three straight games, but are 0-1-2
in those contests.

Nate Was Great
Nate Lawson made the lead hold up until the game's final minute. Lawson finished
with 40 saves.

Laich Gets the Caps Even
Brooks Laich, who started the Capital comeback on Saturday, tied the game at
19:12 of the third off a pass from newly-acquired Jason Arnott and send the
contest into overtime.

The Great 8
Alex Ovechkin completed the Washington comeback with an unassisted highlight
reel quality goal. It was the 25th goal of the season for the Washington
captain. It's his league-leading 9th game winning goal of the season and he has
also assisted on seven other winning goals. He finishes the season series
against the Isles with seven points (2-5-7) on nine Capital goals. 2-1 Final.

Strange Stats of the Night
The Isles are winless in four straight games (0-2-2); it's the fifth time in
club history and the first time since the first four games of last season that
they have lost four straight one-goal games. 31 of the Isles first 64 games
have been decided by 1 goal (10-12-9). Only Carolina and Florida (22 each) have
suffered more one goal defeats than the Isles (21).
The Capitals won all four games this season, against four different Islander
goalies (Roloson, DiPietro, Montoya and Lawson).

As Seen on MSG+: Who's The New Guy
For the eighth time this season, the Islanders had a player make his NHL debut.
Justin DiBenedetto joins Nino Niederreiter, Travis Hamonic, Rhett Rakhshani,
Nathan Lawson, Kevin Poulin, Mikko Koskinen and Mark Katic in appearing in their
maiden NHL game. The Isles had seven guys make their NHL debut last season.

Young Get Younger
The Isles defense corps had only 633 games of experience entering the game and
Bruno Gervais (318) 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 24.46 years.


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' assist gives him 107 points (47-60-107). He is the
second youngest player in Islander history (Bryan Trottier) to record 100 career
points.

· Kyle Okposo has 106 points (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 101st career point; 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.

What a Cy Young Race!
The Isles have two players who have scored 13 more goals than they have earned
assists this season. Moulson has 28 goals and 15 assists, while Michael Grabner
has 25 goals and 12 assists. Only one other Islander has even one more goal
than assists, and it is Trevor Gillies, whose only point this season was a goal.

Home and Road
The Caps improve to 34-20-10, and are 18-8-7 at home. The Caps are three points
behind Tampa Bay, but the Lightning have played two fewer games.
The Isles are 23-32-9, and are 11-17-5 on the road. They are 19-22-6 under Jack
Capuano, including 18-14-4 in the last 36.


In the Nets
Michael Neuvirth made 28 saves to beat the Islanders for the 3rd time this
season and improve to 20-10-4 overall. His 20 wins tie the Capitals' record for
wins 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.
Nathan Lawson, in his 9th NHL appearance, makes 40 saves to match his season
high as he rebounded from his defeat to Boston on February 17th.


Power Plays
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 (8-8) and have killed
15-16 over the last six games. However, their power play has gone 2-27 in the
last eight games. The Isles went 0-17 on the power play against the Caps this
season.
Washington, on the other hand, has now gone a club-record 40 straight games
without scoring more than one power play goal in a game.

In the Circle
The Islanders won 36 of 67 (54%) face-offs. Frans Nielsen won 9 of 15, while
Zenon Konopka won five of his eight draws.

Missing Men
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 final game of his nine-game suspension.
The Isles have lost 436 games to injury and 16 games to suspension this
season. Justin DiBenedetto made his NHL debut – playing 12:46, with one shot
and two hits. He also drew the first penalty of the game.

Missing Milan
The Isles are 0-3-1 in the last four games, and Milan Jurcina has played only
2:18 in that stretch, missing each of the last three games. The Isles have gone
20-13-3 when Jurcina plays and 3-20-5 in the 28 games that he's missed.

Ironmen
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 146 games since
joining the team last season. Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have
played every game this season; his 76-game streak includes the final 12 games
last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 44 NHL games (all
consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the
Isles.

Season Series Stats
The Caps win the season series four games to none, and eight points to one.
There were only 14 goals scored by the two teams combined in the four games and
all four meetings were decided by a single goal. The Isles have scored first 25
times this season (16-4-5) but three of those games have been against Washington
(0-1-2). The Caps have gone 11-0-1 in the last twelve games against the Isles
but five of the Capital wins have been in overtime or shootouts; 11 of the last
15 games between the teams have been decided by a single goal.

Boudreau Keeps Winning
Bruce Boudreau is now 175-76-38 in his coaching career. His .671 winning
percentage is tops among active coaches and tops among any coach in history with
at least 250 games coached. Boudreau had high praise for the Islanders after
Saturday's game: "They're going to be a really good team in the not-too-distant
future."

Happy Anniversary
31 years ago today (March 1, 1980): Six days after winning Olympic Gold, Ken
Morrow makes his NHL debut. Denis Potvin also returns to the Islanders lineup
after missing three months with a thumb injury. Despite the additions, the
Isles lost to Detroit 4-3. Morrow's arrival allowed the Islanders to trade Dave
Lewis to Los Angeles one week later (along with Billy Harris); the trade netted
the Isles Butch Goring, the final piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle.

All-time, the Isles are 6-10-1 on this date, including a 2-0 win over St. Louis
in 1988. Billy Smith recorded the shutout—his final one at the Coliseum.


Up Next
Wednesday, March 2 Vs Minnesota 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]
The Islanders look to do something that they have not done since the
lockout—defeat the Wild, when Minnesota visits on Wednesday night. The teams
have met five times in the last 4 ¾ seasons and the Wild have won all five
games. The Wild have not played on Long Island in 101 weeks (March 25, 2009)
and the teams have not played at all since a 3-2 Minnesota win on November 20,
2009 in St. Paul.
Dynasty child Eric Nystrom returns to Long Island for the first time with
Minnesota; he scored a goal as a Calgary Flame in his last Coliseum visit.

Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since
1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various
sources.
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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