By Eric Hornick
Isles 5, Tampa Bay 2
Islander netminder Al Montoya made 36 saves, including 17 in the third period, as the Islanders rallied from an early 1-0 deficit and defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2, before 17,400 at the St. Pete Times Forum. With the victory, the Isles pass Florida for 13th place in the East and are now only two points behind Atlanta and New Jersey. The Isles, who won on the road in regulation for the first time since February 1st in Atlanta, have earned points in ten of their last 11 games (6-1-4).
Old Friend Strikes First
With former Islander Dwayne Roloson manning the crease for the first time against the Islanders since his New Year's Day trade, it was another former Islander who scored the game's opening goal. Nate Thompson beat Montoya just 61 seconds into the game for his 9th goal of the season. Three of his 13 career goals have come against the Islanders.
Bailey Gets Isles Even
Josh Bailey tied the score with a power play goal midway through the first period. It was his 11th goal of the season and his 5th with the man advantage.
2 in the Second
The 2nd period has been the Islanders' best for most of the season and tonight was no exception. Kyle Okposo scored at 5:16 of the session and Matt Martin made it 3-1 at 13:39. It was the 5th goal of the season for each player. Milan Jurcina earned his 2nd assist of the game on the Okposo goal; he now has a career high 13 assists this season. The Islanders have outscored their opponents 82-77 in the middle period; they have been outscored 122-153 in the rest of the game.
Special Teams Dominate Third
All three goals in the third period were scored on Lightning power plays. However, it was the Islanders who scored two of them. Frans Nielsen scored his league-leading 6th shorty at 8:08 of the third period; his seven shorthanded points share the league lead. The Bolts got back in the game on a power play tally by Domenic Moore midway through the period, but Michael Grabner cemented matters with a shorthanded empty-netter in the final minute for his team-leading 31st goal. Grabner now leads all rookies in goals (31), shorthanded goals (5) and shorthanded points (6). His 31 goals equals Bobby Ryan's total in 2008-09. No rookie has scored more goals since Evgeny Malkin had 33 in 2006-07. Grabner also assisted on Okposo's goal; he is now tied for second place among all rookies in points (48). 5-2 Final.
Chasing Bobby Bourne
Frans Nielsen now has six shorthanded goals. Only one Islander has ever scored 7 shorthanded goals in a season: Bobby Bourne in 1980-81.
Most Shorthanded Goals by an Islander, Season
1. Bob Bourne 7 in 1980-81
2. Frans Nielsen 6 in 2010-11
2. Shawn Bates 6 in 2002-03
2. Michael Peca 6 in 2001-02
2. Lorne Henning 6 in 1979-80
2. Anders Kallur 6 in 1976-77
Nielsen's Place in History
Nielsen now has 11 goals this season and six have come shorthanded. Since expansion, only five players have scored at least six shorthanded goals while scoring 13 or fewer total goals over a complete season. Two of the five (Shawn Bates and Lorne Henning) did so with the Islanders, Original Islander Terry Crisp did so before joining the team, while Tom Fitzgerald did it for the Panthers after leaving the Islanders. Only Gerry Minor, who did so for Vancouver in 1980-81 had no Islander connection.
The Islanders have five players with at least 18 goals: Grabner 31, Moulson 30, Tavares 26, Comeau 20, and Parenteau 18. The quintet has combined for 125 of the Islanders' 204 goals (61%) this season.
200 Shot Club
Grabner finished with six shots on goal. He now has 204 shots on the season; the Islanders now have 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 had 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 31 (2010-11)
Grabner needs one goal 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 204 (2010-11)
Grabner would need to average 4.0 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 now has the team lead with 31.
The Islanders are 14-6-5 since the All-Star Break and are 24-15-7 in their last 46 games. The 55 points is the most that the Isles have earned in a 46 game stretch in a single season since late in the 2003-04 campaign.
A Great 14 Weeks
The Isles were 5-18-5 on the morning of December 16th. Since then, they are 24-15-7 for 55 points. Among Eastern Conference teams, only the Capitals (25-10-6 for 56 points) have more points during that stretch.
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 a shorthanded goal. He now has 118 points (35-83-118), tops among healthy Islanders.
· Blake also has 116 career points (52-64-116).
· John Tavares has 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's goal gives him 113 points (44-69-113).
· 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 106 career points; however, his first ten points came as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
Home and Road
The Isles are 29-33-12, and are 13-18-7 on the road. They are 25-23-9 under Jack Capuano, including 24-15-7 in the last 46. Their 70 points is nine more than they managed in the entire 2008-09 season; they remain even with last season's pace. The Isles are within 4 games of NHL .500 for the first time since they were 4-8-2. The Isles, who won only 11 games on the road last season, are 11-7-4 in their last 22 road games after going 2-11-3 in their first 16 on the road. It is the first time since 2002-03 that they have earned 26 points in a 22-game road stretch.
The Lightning are 39-23-11, and are 22-10-5 at home. The Lightning were 19 games over NHL .500 at the end of February, but are 2-5-4 in March.
Sharing the Wealth
The Isles are 24-15-7 in their last 46 games, and all six goalies that the Isles have used this season have wins during that stretch (Montoya 8, DiPietro 5, Roloson 4, Poulin 4, Koskinen 2, and Lawson 1).
In the Nets
Al Montoya made 36 saves to improve to 8-3-4 on the season, tying Rick DiPietro for the team lead in wins. Montoya has started nine of the last ten games (6-1-2).
Dwayne Roloson made 23 saves but falls to 20-23-5. He is 14-10-4 with the Lightning.
The Islanders went 1-3 on the power play while the Lightning were 1-7. Tampa had five power plays in the third period, when they scored their power play goal but allowed two shorthanded goals. The Isles now lead the NHL with 13 SH goals while Tampa has allowed 15 SH goals (10 at home)—both totals lead the league. The Isles finish the road trip 2-14 on the power play and 17-21 on the penalty kill. However, the Isles offset the four power play goals that they allowed (three of which came in one game) by scoring four shorthanded goals.
The Isles scored two shorthanded goals in the third period, tying a club record done many times previously. It was the first time since April 18, 2006 that the Islanders scored two shorthanded goals in a period and the first time since November 4, 2008 (at MSG) that they have scored twice while shorthanded in a game. … The Isles, who also scored shorthanded on Saturday night, have scored three shortys in two games for the first time since November 3-4, 2008. … The Isles have scored 9 SH goals in their last 32 games, while allowing just one. … They have 13 SH goals this season—most since they had 17 in 2001-02. … The Isles last scored two shorthanded goals against Tampa on April 1, 1998.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 15 of 20 draws in the first period and 35 of 62 (58%) face-offs overall. Josh Bailey won ten of 14.
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 ninth game of his 10-game suspension. The Isles have lost 512 games to injury and 25 games to suspension this season.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 156 games since joining the team last season. Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 86-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 54 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.
Cappy's First 57
Jack Capuano improves to two games over NHL .500 with a 25-23-9 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 59 standings points – more than any coach in Islander history who did not start the season behind the bench.
A Winning Trip
The Islanders have earned points in nine of their last 11 road games (5-4-2). Nine of the 11 games have been decided by a single goal, with the exception being last Tuesday's loss at the Garden and tonight's win. The Isles finish the road trip 2-1-2.
March to the Finish
The Isles are 6-1-4 in March. The 16 points in March is one shy of the 17 that they earned in 2005-06. They have not earned more than 17 points in March since 1988 when they earned 19 points 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.
Long Islanders Doing Well in Florida?
The Isles are 6-9-3 vs. the Southeast this season, but are 5-3-0 against Florida(2-2-0) and Tampa (3-1-0). They are 1-1-1 vs. Atlanta, 0-2-1 vs. Carolina, and 0-3-1 vs. Washington. The Islanders win consecutive games on a Florida trip for the first time since opening the Peter Laviolette era with wins in Tampa and Florida on October 5-6, 2001.
17 years ago today (March 22, 1994): Vladimir Malakhov scored with 1:01 to play in overtime as the Islanders rallied from a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Lightning 5-4 at the Coliseum. The Isles got two goals from Tom Kurvers in the final 2:16 of the second period and then got third period goals from Derek King and Steve Thomas to force overtime.
All-time, the Isles are 10-3-4 on this date including a 3-3 tie in Boston in 1984 in which Bryan Trottier tied the NHL record by scoring just five seconds into the game. Their 24 standings points on this date are the most that they have earned on any day in March.
Thursday, March 24 vs. Atlanta 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]
The Islanders return home to begin a two-game homestand against the Atlanta Thrashers. It will be the final meeting of the season between the squads; the Isles are 14-6-5 since the All-Star Break and it all started with a 4-1 win in Atlanta to kick off the unofficial second half. The Isles are 1-1-1 vs. the Thrashers this season and have outscored Atlanta 9-8.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.