By Eric Hornick
Isles 5, Blues 2
Andrew MacDonald scored two goals and John Tavares, PA Parenteau and Michael Grabner all broke scoreless streaks as the Islanders dominated the St. Louis Blues 5-2 before a crowd of 10,354 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Al Montoya made 21 saves for the Isles to raise his record to 5-2-1. The Islanders have won two straight games and are 10-5-2 since the All-Star Break.
Isles Grab the Lead Again
For the fifth straight game (2-1-2), the Isles scored first. PA Parenteau missed an open net, but then set up John Tavares for a highlight-reel opening goal. It was Tavares' 24th goal of the season, matching his rookie total and his first in the last eight games. Parenteau then scored his first goal in 11 games to double the advantage to 2-0.
Andrew MacDonald, playing his 100th NHL game, scored for the second straight game for the only goal of the middle session. The Isles have outscored their opponents 70-68 in the second period this season. After St. Louis' Andy McDonald broke Al Montoya's shutout at 3:26 of the third, Andrew MacDonald tallied at 6:22 to restore the three-goal advantage. The Islander assistant captain now has three goals in two games after scoring twice in his first 98 career games.
Grabner-ing the Rookie Lead
Chris Stewart's 20th goal of the season cut the Isles lead to 4-2, but after a big Montoya save, Grabner beat Ben Bishop for his 26th goal –grabbing the NHL rookie lead, one ahead of Logan Couture (who will play Saturday night at home). It was the reigning NHL Rookie of the Month's first goal in nine games. 22 of Grabner's goals have come at even-strength, which leads all rookies and is only three off the NHL lead of 25 even-strength goals shared by Steven Stamkos and Bobby Ryan. Class dismissed. 5-2 Final.
Matt Moulson (28), Grabner (26) and Tavares (24) give the Isles three players with at least 24 goals. Toronto is the only other NHL team with three 24-goal scorers. Tavares, who also added an assist, now has 31 assists and 55 points which set career highs in both categories.
Strange Stats of the Day
The Isles have now outscored their opponents 18-4 in the first two periods over the last eight games (9-1 in the first period and 9-3 in the second period).
The Flyers scored twice on Al Montoya in the first two periods on February 24th. It's the only time in his seven starts for the Isles that he has allowed more than one goal in the first 40 minutes.
Young D Gets it Done
The Isles defense corps had only 645 games of experience entering the game and Bruno Gervais (320) had nearly half of it. Three of the Isles defensemen (Travis Hamonic, Ty Wishart and Mark Katic) are NHL rookies.
Growing Up Together
The Islanders have had four players record their 100th career point, all of them in Islander uniforms, this season.
· Frans Nielsen had an assist and now has 112 points (32-80-112)
· Blake Comeau also has 112 points (49-63-112)
· John Tavares had a goal and an assist. He now has 109 points (48-61-109). He is the second youngest player in Islander history (Bryan Trottier) to record 100 career points.
· Kyle Okposo has 108 points (43-65-108)
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 has 97 career points, all as an Islander.
Fight Night (Day)
Matt Martin battled BJ Crombeen at 1:25 of the second period. It was Martin's 10th fight and Crombeen's 15th. Only minor penalties were handed out when Barrett Jackman went after Mark Haley at the final buzzer.
Home and Road
The Isles are 25-32-9, and are 14-15-4 at home. They are 21-22-6 under Jack Capuano, including 20-14-4 in the last 38.
The Blues are 28-28-9 and fall to 10-17-5 on the road. The Blues are 8-16-4 since New Year's Day
Fort Rarely Lose
The Isles improve to 4-1-0 in their last five at home; they have outscored the opposition 19-7 in those five games. Since the All-Star Break, the Islanders are 6-3-0 at home.
Sharing the Wealth
The Isles are 20-14-4 in their last 38 games, and all six goalies that the Isles have used this season have wins during that stretch (Montoya 5, DiPietro 4, Roloson 4, Poulin 4, Koskinen 2, and Lawson 1).
In the Nets
Al Montoya made 21 saves to improve to 5-2-1 on the season. He has a 1.94 goals against average to 1.93 and a 93.1% save percentage.
Ben Bishop falls to 2-4-0 for St. Louis. The 6' 7" netminder has not allowed a goal in either of his two NHL wins (one of which came in relief)
The Isles went 0-3 on the power play while the Blues were 1-3. The Isles are 4-33 on the power play over the last 10 games. It was the first time in six games that the Isles have allowed a power play goal (13-14); they have killed 20-22 over the last eight games. The Isles had a 51 second 5-on-3 in the third period in which they tried to get MacDonald his hat trick. Mac Donald came close, hitting the post. No Isles defender since Denis Potvin (3/4/82 vs Toronto) has scored a hat trick.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 25 of 48 (52%) face-offs. Zenon Konopka won five of his seven draws while Josh Bailey won 6 of 10.
Kyle Okposo had four shots on goal (all in the first period); rookie Mark Katic led the Isles with five takeaways, while Matt Martin pounded out six hits.
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. Micheal Haley returned after missing the game Wednesday; he replaced Trevor Gillies, who served the first game of his 10-game suspension. The Isles have lost 455 games to injury and 17 games to suspension this season.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 148 games since joining the team last season. Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 78-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 46 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.
Season Series Stats
The Isles win the only meeting of the teams this season. This was the Isles' final game against the Western Conference. They finish with a winning record against the Western Conference (8-5-5) for the 2nd straight season; they were 10-6-2 in 2009-10 against the West. Their final 16 games will be against the East.
The Isles are 2-0-2 in their last four games at home against the Blues. The Blues have not won on Long Island since March 6, 2004.
15 years ago today (March 5, 1996): Zigmund Palffy recorded his second hat trick in as many games as the Islanders defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3. They were the first two of Palffy's six hat tricks as an Islander—no Islander has had that many since.
All-time, the Isles are 7-7-3 on this date, despite having won their first three Stanley Cup before ever winning a game on this date.
Sunday, March 6 Vs New Jersey 3:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 2:30), WRHU 88.7FM]
The two team with the most points in the Atlantic Division since December 15th meet each other on Sunday afternoon. While the Rangers are entertaining Philadelphia, it is the game on Long Island that will feature those two teams as the Isles entertain New Jersey.
Standings since December 15th (and including the Isles-Blues and Sabres-Flyers games on Saturday)
Boston 22 10 3 47
NY Islanders 20 14 4 44
Tampa Bay 20 10 3 43
New Jersey 20 12 2 42
Carolina 18 14 5 41
Buffalo 18 11 4 40
Washington 17 9 6 40
Montreal 17 12 5 39
Philadelphia 19 11 1 39
Toronto 17 13 5 39
Pittsburgh 16 11 6 38
Florida 13 15 7 33
NY Rangers 15 16 3 33
Atlanta 9 17 7 25
Ottawa 9 18 6 24
The Devils are the hottest team in the NHL, having gone 19-2-2 over their last 23 games. This will be the 4th meeting of the teams this season; the Isles won the first two (2-0 on Black Friday and 5-1 in New Jersey two days before Christmas) before the Devils rebounded for a 5-2 win on Martin Luther King Day. This is the first of three meetings in 25 days between the teams; the Isles will visit Newark on both March 12th and March 30th.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.