By Eric Hornick
Isles 4, Maple Leafs 3 (overtime)
Blake Comeau deflected home a Radek Martinek shot with 58 seconds remaining in overtime as the Islanders extended their point streak to five straight games (3-0-2) as they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 before 9,217 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
A Scoreless First
The Isles hit three posts, but neither team scored in the first period.
Trading Goals…twice in the Second
The Isles grabbed two separate leads in the second period. Zenon Konopka scored his first goal in 45 games off a face-off win at 2:15 of the session. Milan Jurcina and Justin DiBenedetto earned assists; it was DiBenedetto's first NHL point. The lead lasted only 34 seconds-Keith Aulie tied the game with his first NHL goal. The Isles regained the lead when Frans Nielsen converted the rebound of a Kyle Okposo tip at 11:17 of the second, but Tim Brent tied the game with 1:16 to play in the session. The Isles have now outscored their opponents 21-7 in the first two periods over the last ten games (9-1 in the first period and 12-6 in the second period).
Trading Goals in the Third
Michael Grabner's 27th goal gave the Isles the lead at 8:40 of the third. Grabner leads all NHL rookies in goals, and is only one behind Matt Moulson for the team lead. It was Grabner's 20th point since the All-Star Break; he leads the entire conference in that time span. 23 of Grabner's 27 goals have come at even-strength; Bobby Ryan and Steven Stamkos share the NHL lead with 25 even-strength goals. However, Nikolai Kulemin tied the game for a third time 68 seconds later, setting up the Isles second consecutive overtime game.
Comeau the Hero
The Isles had some great chances in overtime, finally converting for the winner when Comeau tipped in Martinek's shot for his 19th goal of the season. Comeau, who has never had a 20-goal season as a professional, last scored 20 goals in a season in 2005-06, when he tallied 21 times for Kelowna (WHL). 4-3 (overtime) Final.
There are only 19 players in the NHL with at least 27 goals and the Isles have two of them: Moulson 28 and Grabner 27. Philadelphia is the only other Eastern Conference team to have two 27-goal scorers; Anaheim, Chicago and Vancouver also have two.
Strange Stats of the Day
The Islanders have now been called for 13 bench minors, tied with Montreal for the NHL lead.
The Islanders have attempted four penalty shots this season, one shy of the club record set in 1999-2000.
Every Islander but PA Parenteau and Michael Haley had at least one shot on goal.
As Seen on MSG+
The Islanders are 11-5-3 since the All-Star Break, with their 25 points tying the Leafs and Flames for the third highest total behind New Jersey (29) and San Jose (28) in that span.
Growing Up Together
The Islanders have had four players record their 100th career point, all of them in Islander uniforms, this season.
· Blake Comeau has more career points than any healthy Islander. His first career overtime goal and third period assist gives him 115 points (51-64-115)
· Frans Nielsen also had a goal and an assist. He now has 114 points (33-81-114)
· Kyle Okposo assisted on Nielsen's goal and now has 110 points (43-67-110)
· John Tavares has 109 points (48-61-109). 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.
Matt Moulson has 101 career points; however, his first ten points came as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. Veteran defender Radek Martinek assisted on the winning goal. He has 98 career points, all as an Islander.
Home and Road
The Isles are 26-32-10, and are 15-15-5 at home. They are 22-22-7 under Jack Capuano, including 21-14-5 in the last 40. Their 62 points is three more than they managed in the entire 2008-09 season; they remain one point behind last season's pace.
The Leafs are 29-28-10, and are 14-16-3 on the road. The Leafs are 6-1-4 in their last 11 games and are 4-0-2 in their last six on the road.
Fort Rarely Lose
The Isles are 5-1-1 in their last seven at home; they have outscored the opposition 25-12 in those seven games. Since the All-Star Break, the Islanders are 7-3-1 at home. The Isles get back to .500 on the season at home for the first time since they were 8-8-4 after they defeated Buffalo on January 15th.
Sharing the Wealth
The Isles are 21-14-5 in their last 40 games, and all six goalies that the Isles have used this season have wins during that stretch (Montoya 6, DiPietro 4, Roloson 4, Poulin 4, Koskinen 2, and Lawson 1).
In the Nets
Al Montoya made 24 saves as he improves to 6-2-2 with a 2.02 goals against average and a 92.7% save percentage. Montoya has made nine starts for the Isles; he has allowed two goals or fewer through two periods in all nine of them. He is one win behind Rick DiPietro for the team lead in wins (7).
Fellow NHL rookie James Reimer made 37 saves; he is now 12-5-4 on the season.
The Isles went 0-1 on the power play while the Leafs went 0-3, including a 3:59 session of continuous power play. The Isles are 3-10 on the power play over the last four games. They have killed 23 of 26 power plays over the last tens. The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, are 0-24 on the power play over their past four games.
In the Circle
The Islanders had a strong night in the circle, as they won 39 of 68 (57%) face-offs. John Tavares won eight of 10 while Josh Bailey won 12 of 19.
Hit ... Hit… Hit (well, you get the idea)
Matt Martin had 14 hits, becoming the first Islander to reach double digits over at least the past two seasons. Martin now has 252 hits, just one behind Tuomo Ruutu for second place in the league. Martin is 46 hits behind league-leader Cal Clutterbuck and has passed Clutterbuck for the league lead in hits per game.
…But About Those Breakaways
Martin, who was stopped on a shootout attempt on Sunday, was awarded a penalty shot in the second period after being tugged at during a breakaway attempt. Martin was stopped by Reimer; the Islanders are now 2-4 on penalty shots this season. It was the Islanders' third all-time attempt against the Leafs; Martin joins Brad Isbister and Sean Bergenheim in being stopped on their attempts against Toronto. The Isles are 13-48 all-time on penalty shot attempts.
Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit, Doug Weight and Rick DiPietro remain out. Radek Martinek returned after missing seven games; he replaced Ty Wishart, who was returned to Bridgeport. Trevor Gillies served the third game of his 10-game suspension. The Isles have lost 474 games to injury and 19 games to suspension this season.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 150 games since joining the team last season. Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 80-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 48 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.
Cappy's First 51
Jack Capuano has reached NHL .500 with a 22-22-7 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.
As Hot as Anyone...
The Isles were 5-18-5 before taking on the Ducks on December 16th. Since then, they have recorded the most points in the Atlantic Division and second-highest total in the NHL:
Standings December 16th – March 8th (and including all of Tuesday's games)
Boston 22 11 4 48
NY Islanders 21 14 5 47
New Jersey 21 13 2 44
Tampa Bay 20 11 4 44
Washington 19 9 6 44
Montreal 19 12 5 43
Buffalo 19 12 4 42
Pittsburgh 18 11 6 42
Philadelphia 20 12 1 41
Carolina 18 14 5 41
Toronto 17 14 6 40
Florida 14 15 9 37
NY Rangers 16 16 3 35
Atlanta 10 17 7 27
Ottawa 10 18 6 26
Season Series Stats
The season series finishes even at two games each. Both Islander wins came in overtime, so the Leafs lead in points 6-4. The Isles went 1-1-0 at home against Toronto; they are 10-2-2 against the Leafs at the Coliseum over the last seven seasons.
24 years ago today (March 8, 1987): Mike Bossy recorded the 39th and final hat trick of his NHL career, beating Murray Bannerman three times in a 6-5 Islander win over the Blackhawks. The Islanders trailed 3-1 entering the third period but scored five times in the third period, with Bryan Trottier netting the winner with 23 seconds to play.
All-time, the Isles are 9-10-0 on this date.
Friday, March 11 vs. Boston 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]
The Islanders and Bruins meet for the third time this season on Friday night. Boston has a pair of three-goal wins over the Islanders this season and the Isles are only 2-9-1 in their last 12 games against the Bruins. Boston's 6-3 win at the Coliseum on February 17th is the only game that the Isles have lost by at least three goals in the last 17 games and equals their worst margin of defeat at home this season.
The Bruins will be playing the back-end of a set of back-to-backs; they host Buffalo on Thursday. Should the Bruins not beat the Sabres, the Isles would have a chance to take at least a share of the conference lead since December 16th with a win over Boston.
The game will be played on the 31st anniversary of the most famous trade in Islander history. On March 11, 1980, the Islanders sent Billy Harris and Dave Lewis to Los Angeles in exchange for Butch Goring. Four consecutive Stanley Cups would soon follow.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.