By Eric Hornick
Isles 4, Florida 3 (SO)
Islander netminder Rick DiPietro, making his first appearance in 6 ½ weeks, stopped David Booth on a penalty shot in the last minute of overtime and then stopped two Panther tries in the shootout, while the Isles got shootout goals from Frans Nielsen and PA Parenteau to defeat the Florida Panthers 4-3 before 16,502 at Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. With the victory, the Isles tie Florida for 13th place in the East and remain ten points behind the 8th place Sabres. The Isles have earned points in nine of their last ten games (5-1-4).
After a scoreless first period, Michael Grabner gave the Islanders the lead with a shorthanded tally 5:14 into the second period. It was the Isles' 11th shorthanded goal of the season, tying the Rangers for 2nd in the NHL behind Philadelphia (12). The goal was set up by a gorgeous pass from Frans Nielsen, who now has more career points than any other healthy Islander. Nielsen now has six shorthanded points this season; only Brandon Prust of the Rangers (7) has more. It was Grabner's 30th goal of the season, tying Matt Moulson for the team lead, and giving the Isles two 30-goal scorers for the first time since 2001-02 (Yashin-32, Parrish-30). Evgeni Davadov scored a pair of goals later in the session for the Panthers, to give Florida a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Isles Bounce Back in the Third
PA Parenteau tied the game with his 18th goal at 7:09 of the third off of the rebound of a Jack Hillen shot; less than three minutes later Grabner sprung Michael Haley and converted for his second career goal. However, for the second straight night the Islanders couldn't cement the win in regulation as Stephen Weiss beat DiPietro with 6:34 to play to force overtime. Weiss' goal denied the Isles a rare one-goal regulation win; they remain 1-12 in games decided in regulation by a single tally.
DiPietro Stops Booth
In the final minute of overtime, Rick DiPietro was called upon to stop David Booth on a penalty shot, and he did. Booth had been hooked at by Andrew MacDonald and was awarded the pre-shootout shootout attempt with just 29 seconds to play in overtime. It was the first time the Isles had faced an overtime penalty shot since December 10, 2003 in New Jersey when Garth Snow stopped Patrik Elias. DiPietro has now faced a career-high four penalty shots this season and stopped them all:
· Stopped Marian Gaborik [NYR] October 11, 2010
· Stopped Evander Kane [ATL] December 11, 2010
· Stopped Kris Letang [PIT] December 29, 2010
· Stopped David Booth [FLA] March 19, 2011 (Overtime)
DiPietro has stopped 11 of 13 career penalty shots. He is the first NHL goalie to face four penalty shots in a season since 2008/09, when Cam Ward, Roberto Luongo and Kari Lehtonen each faced four. The last goaltenders to face four penalty shots in a season and stop them all were Evgeny Nabakov and Marty Turco, who each did so in 2007/08.
Isles Win It in the Shootout
DiPietro was perfect in the shootout as well, stopping Mike Santorelli and Sergei Samsonov to improve to 19-10 all-time in shootouts. Frans Nielsen and PA Parenteau converted for the Isles to give them the victory. The Isles are now 12-12-12 in one goal games, including 11-12 in extra time (7-7 in OT and 4-5 in shootouts). 4-3 (SO) Final.
Simply the Best
Frans Nielsen is now 16-27 in his career in shootout attempts. His 59.3% is the best in NHL history among players who have scored at least 10 goals, just slightly ahead of Vyacheslav Kozlov (58.7%). Among active players, TJ Oshie of St. Louis has the next best percentage among players with at least 10 goals (57.9%).
The Islanders have five players with at least 18 goals: Moulson 30, Grabner 30, Tavares 26, Comeau 20, and Parenteau 18. The quintet has combined for 124 of the Islanders' 199 goals (62%) this season.
2 Until 200
Grabner's goal came on his only shot on goal. He now has 198 shots on the season; with two more he will give the Islanders three players (Moulson and Tavares) with 200 shots in a season for the first time since 2006-07 (Blake, Satan and Yashin). No Islander rookie has recorded 200 shots in a season since David Volek had 229 in 1988-89.
Grabner's Chase of the Record Books
Most Goals, Islander Rookie
1. Mike Bossy 53 (1977-78)
2. Bryan Trottier 32 (1975-76)
3. Michael Grabner 30 (2010-11)
Grabner needs two goals to tie Trottier for second place on the all-time rookie goal scoring list.
Most Shots on Goal, Islander Rookie
1. Mike Bossy 235 (1977-78)
2. David Volek 229 (1988-89)
3. Denis Potvin 209 (1973-74)
4. Michael Grabner 198 (2010-11)
Grabner would need to average 4.2 shots per game to break Bossy's record.
Rookies Who Have Led Isles in Goals
1. Billy Harris - 28 in 1972-73,
2. Mike Bossy - 53 in 1977-78,
3. Trent Hunter -25 in 2003-04 (tied with Mariusz Czerkawski)
4. Kyle Okposo-18 in 2008-09.
Grabner is tied with Moulson for the team lead with 30.
The Islanders are 13-6-5 since the All-Star Break and are 23-15-7 in their last 45 games. The 53 points is the most that the Isles have earned in a 45 game stretch in a single season since late in the 2003-04 campaign.
A Great Three Months
The Isles were 5-18-5 on the morning of December 16th. Since then, they are 23-15-7 for 53 points. Among Eastern Conference teams, only the Capitals (24-10-6 for 54 points) have more points during that stretch.
Never Say Die-landers
The Isles improve to 5-22-3 when trailing after two periods. After opening the season winless in their first 22 (0-20-2) when trailing through 40 minutes, they are 5-2-1 in the last eight games when trailing after two.
Dropping the Gloves
After a fairly quiet game through 55 minutes, there were two fights in the final five minutes of regulation. Blake Comeau fought Dmitry Kulikov and Bruno Gervais battled Ryan Carter. It was the first fight of Comeau's NHL career and Gervais' 4th.
Growing Up Together
The Islanders have had five players record their 100th career point, all of them in Islander uniforms, this season.
· Frans Nielsen had an assist. He now has 117 points (34-83-117).
· Blake also has 116 career points (52-64-116).
· John Tavares 114 points (50-64-114). He is the youngest player in Islander history to record 50 goals and the second youngest player (Bryan Trottier) to record 100 career points.
· Kyle Okposo has 112 points (43-69-112).
· Veteran defender Radek Martinek has 100 career points (20-80-100)
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 has 107 career points; however, his first ten points came as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
Home and Road
The Isles are 27-33-12, and are 12-18-7 on the road. They are 24-23-9 under Jack Capuano, including 23-15-7 in the last 45. Their 68 points is seven more than they managed in the entire 2008-09 season; they are now even with last season's pace. It's the first time that they have been equal with last season's pace since they were 4-5-2 after 11 games.
The Panthers are 29-33-10, and are 15-15-8 at home. Since reaching .500 on February 13, Florida has gone 5-9-3 in their last 17 games.
Sharing the Wealth
The Isles are 23-15-7 in their last 45 games, and all six goalies that the Isles have used this season have wins during that stretch (Montoya 7, DiPietro 5, Roloson 4, Poulin 4, Koskinen 2, and Lawson 1).
In the Nets
Rick DiPietro made 29 saves as he broke a personal four game losing streak. He is now 8-10-4 on the season, breaking a tie with Al Montoya for the team lead in wins. Montoya had started eight straight games (5-1-2); he was the first Islander to do so since Joey MacDonald made 17 straight starts (8-8-1) from November 3-December 8, 2008.
Scott Clemmensen made 18 saves as he dropped to 8-8-4. It was Clemmensen's first shootout against the Isles since the Easter Epic (4/8/2007) in which the Isles defeated Clemmensen to clinch their most recent playoff spot.
The Islanders went 0-3 on the power play while the Panthers were 0-2.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 21 of 46 (46%) face-offs. Zenon Konopka won 3 of 5, while Josh Bailey won seven of 15.
Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit and Doug Weight remain out. Trevor Gillies served the eighth game of his 10-game suspension. The Isles have lost 506 games to injury and 24 games to suspension this season.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 155 games since joining the team last season. Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 85-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 53 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.
Cappy's First 56
Jack Capuano is over NHL .500 with a 24-23-9 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). Capuano has earned 57 standings points – more than any coach in Islander history who did not start the season behind the bench.
Half-Full or Half-Empty
The Islanders have earned points in eight of their last ten road games. Tonight's win was their fourth in those games [4-4-2]. Nine of the ten games have been decided by a single goal, with the exception being Tuesday's loss at the Garden. The Isles are 1-1-2 on their current five game road trip.
March to the Finish
The Isles are 5-1-4 in March.
Season Series Stats
The teams split the season series two games each, with the Panthers earning five points to the Islanders' four. The win breaks an eight game (0-7-1) Islanders winless streak in Sunrise, dating back to a 43 save effort by Mike Dunham in a 4-1 Isles win on November 18, 2006.
Trouble Down South
The Isles are 5-9-3 vs. the Southeast this season: 1-1-1 vs. Atlanta, 0-2-1 vs. Carolina, 2-2-0 vs. Florida, 2-1-0 vs. Tampa and 0-3-1 vs. Washington.
28 years ago today (March 19, 1983): Rookie Mats Hallin scores the only hat trick of his NHL career, tying the club rookie record by tallying three times against Bob Froese in a 9-2 Islander win over the Flyers.
All-time, the Isles are 9-3-3 on this date including a 3-1 win over the Wild on 2004 in which Jason Blake scored all three goals.
Tuesday, March 22 @ Tampa Bay 7:30pm
[MSG+2 (Subway Islanders Game Night at 7:00), WRHU 88.7FM]
The Islanders conclude the road trip on Tuesday night in Tampa against the Lightning. It will be the first meeting of the teams since the New Year's Day trade that sent Dwayne Roloson to Tamps. The Isles lead the season series two games to one; John Tavares and Matt Moulson both have overtime goals against Tampa this season. The only Lightning win came on November 17th in Jack Capuano's NHL coaching debut.
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