By Eric Hornick
Devils 3, Isles 2
Anssi Salmela scored with 1:51 remaining in overtime as the New Jersey Devils rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Islanders 3-2 before a sellout crowd of 17,625 at the Prudential Center in Newark. The Devils have been red-hot for nearly two months, going 22-3-2 in their last 27 games while the Islanders extended their point streak to a season-high seven straight games (4-0-3). New Jersey moves within six points of 8th place Buffalo, while the Isles climb within nine points of the Sabres. It's the first time since November 23rd that the Isles have been closer than 10 points to eighth place.
Devils Score First
Jacob Josefson gave the Devils an early lead at 1:57 of the first when he ricocheted a shot in off Islander netminder Al Montoya. The goal, Josefson's first in the NHL, ended a New Jersey streak of playing eight consecutive scoreless first periods (the first team since the 1936-37 Blackhawks to do so).
The Devils held the Isles off the board in the first. New Jersey has not allowed a first period goal in sixteen straight games; it's the second longest streak in NHL history (18 by Ottawa in 1927-28). How long has that streak been? The last time New Jersey gave up a goal in the first period was to Florida on February 4th. The Panthers scored twice in that first period (Chris Higgins and Dennis Wideman); neither player is still with the Panthers. The Devils have not allowed more than two goals in any of those 16 games.
Isles Grab the Lead in the Second
With the Isles shorthanded early in the second period, Blake Comeau converted his 20th goal of the season at 1:13. It's the first time Comeau has scored 20 goals as a professional. It was the Isles 10th shorty of the season; only Philadelphia (12) has more.
The Isles grabbed the lead later in the period as an Andrew MacDonald shot was tipped, first by Matt Moulson and then by John Tavares, to beat Marty Brodeur at 6:46. It was Tavares' 25th goal of the season, one more than he managed in his rookie campaign. The Isles have now outscored their opponents 76-72 in the second period.
Turning Point of the Game
With Jack Hillen sitting out a penalty early in the third period, Michael Grabner was stopped by Brodeur on a breakaway. Seconds later, just as the penalty expired, David Clarkson shoved a loose puck home to tie the game at 5:42 and set up overtime.
An Unlikely Hero
Anssi Salmela scored his 4th career goal, and his first since February 8, 2010 to give the Devils the overtime victory. 3-2 (OT) Final.
4 x 20 and 3 x 25
Comeau's goal gives the Isles four 20-goal scorers; Tavares joins Grabner and Moulson with at least 25 goals. It's the first time since 2006-07 that the Isles have had at least four 20's or three 25's. That season Jason Blake had 40, Miro Satan 27, Mike Sillinger 26, Viktor Kozlov 25, and Trent Hunter 20, giving the Isles five 20's and four 25's.
The Isles are 4-0-3 in their last seven games; it is their longest point streak of the season. They last had a seven game point streak from February 19 – March 5, 2007 (5-0-2). They have not had a longer point streak since they went 5-0-3 over eight games from January 18- February 7, 2007.
Strange Stats of the Day
The Isles are 4-0-3 in March. It's the first time since 1981 (7-0-4) that they have earned points in their first seven March games, and matches the second-best point streak to start March in club history. The Isles also earned points in the first seven games of March 1975.
The Isles share the NHL lead with 118 goals at home, yet have scored only 73 on the road (ahead of only New Jersey).
The Islanders are 12-5-4 since the All-Star Break and are 22-14-6 in their last 42 games. Their 50 points from December 16-March 12 is the most in the Eastern Conference:
It's the first time that they have managed at least 50 points in a 42 game span since 2007.
Growing Up Together
The Islanders have had four players record their 100th career point, all of them in Islander uniforms, this season.
· Blake Comeau's goal gives him 116 career points (52-64-116), more than any healthy Islander.
· Frans Nielsen has 114 points (33-81-114)
· Kyle Okposo has 112 points (43-69-112)
· John Tavares scored his career-high 25th goal and now has 111 points (49-62-111). He is the second youngest player in Islander history (Bryan Trottier) to record 100 career points.
With 229 points, Trent Hunter (injured) is the only player on the current roster to have recorded more points in an Islander uniform.
With his assist tonight, Matt Moulson has 104 career points; however, his first ten points came as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. Veteran defender Radek Martinek has 99 career points, all as an Islander.
Home and Road
The Isles are 27-32-11, and are 11-17-6 on the road. They are 23-22-8 under Jack Capuano, including 22-14-6 in the last 42. Their 65 points is six more than they managed in the entire 2008-09 season; they are two points behind last season's pace. They remain five games shy of NHL .500 – the closest that they have been since they were 4-9-3 after a shootout loss in San Jose on November 11th.
The Devils reach .500 at 32-32-4, and are 17-14-3 at home. It is the first time since an overtime loss in their season opener that the Devils have been at NHL .500.
One Goal Games
The Isles have now played seven consecutive one goal games on the road; all but one of the contests has gone to overtime/shootout. The Isles are 3-1-3 in those seven games, and are 11-12-11 in one-goal games this season (1-12 in games decided in regulation and 10-0-11 in overtime/shootouts)
The Devils have now played nine consecutive one goal games (7-1-1); 17 of their last 19 games have been decided by a single goal. New Jersey is 19-8-4 in one-goal games (9-8 in regulation and 10-0-4 in overtime/shootouts).
Sharing the Wealth
The Isles are 22-14-6 in their last 42 games, and all six goalies that the Isles have used this season have wins during that stretch (Montoya 7, DiPietro 4, Roloson 4, Poulin 4, Koskinen 2, and Lawson 1).
In the Nets
Al Montoya made 32 saves. He is now 7-2-3 on the season. Montoya has made 11 starts for the Isles; he has allowed two goals or fewer through two periods in all of them. He remains tied with Rick DiPietro for the team lead in wins (7). Montoya has started six straight games (4-0-2); he is the first Islander to start at least six straight since Dwayne Roloson started seven straight games (0-6-1) in early November.
Martin Brodeur did not have much to do, stopping 13 of 15 shots, as he raised his record to 19-20-2. Brodeur has had a winning record in each of his NHL seasons. The future Hall-of-Famer is now 47-25-6 in his career against the Isles; he now has an NHL record 621 career victories.
The Isles had only 11 seconds of power play time and went 0-1; the Devils went 0-5 on the power play and allowed a shorthanded goal. However, Clarkson's goal came seconds after a Devil power play expired. The Isles are 4-14 on the power play over the last six games while they have killed 31 of 35 power plays over the last dozen games.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 23 of 55 (42%) face-offs. Josh Bailey was the Islanders' best, winning 9 of 17.
The Islanders were out-hit 12-11. Matt Martin did not have a hit and remains 42 hits behind league-leader Cal Clutterbuck.
Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit, Doug Weight and Rick DiPietro remain out. Trevor Gillies served the fifth game of his 10-game suspension. The Isles have lost 488 games to injury and 21 games to suspension this season.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 152 games since joining the team last season. Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 82-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 50 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.
Cappy's First 53
Jack Capuano is over NHL .500 with a 23-22-8 record. Only four other coaches in Islander history who coached at least 50 games have at least a .500 record (Al Arbour, Peter Laviolette, Steve Stirling, and Ted Nolan).
Season Series Stats
The Devils lead the season series three games to two; two of New Jersey's wins have come in extra time so each team has earned six standings points. The final meeting of the season will be at The Rock on March 30th.
The Isles have been outshot 70-29 in their two games in New Jersey this season (35-14 on December 23rd and 35-15 tonight). These are the two lowest shot totals for the Islanders this season.
26 years ago today (March 11, 1985): The Islanders and Blues combined for a club-record-tying 9-goal second period in a 6-5 Islander victory in St. Louis. Tied 1-1 after the opening period, the Isles tallied five goals and allowed four in the middle session. Brent Sutter scored twice and assisted on the game-winning goal, while brother Brian scored for St. Louis. It's one of only three times in Islander history that nine goals have been scored in a period (3/31/73 @ Philadelphia, 11/22/88 @ Washington); all three times occurred in the second period.
All-time, the Isles are 7-7-2 on this date; the Isles have played 6 straight road games on this date (3-2-1) since losing to the Capitals at the Coliseum in 1998.
Tuesday, March 15 @ New York 7:00pm
[MSG2 (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]
The Islanders head to Manhattan to face the Rangers on Tuesday night in the second game of this 5-game "road" trip. The Isles trail the 7th place Rangers by 11 points after the Rangers won a lengthy shootout in San Jose.
Since defeating the Blueshirts on Columbus Day, the Isles have dropped three straight to the New Yorkers. The Isles had difficulty generating any offense in two December trips to Manhattan, managing just 37 shots in the two games and dropping 2-0 and 7-2 decisions. While the Islanders have generally been successful at The Garden in recent years, they have dropped three straight games on Broadway – their longest losing streak at MSG since 2003-04.
The Isles will be looking to score their first power play goal at The Garden in over three years; the Isles are 0-25 in their last ten games in New York. The teams will finish the season series on March 31st at the Coliseum.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.