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"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick The Isles return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday. Here is a preview- Skinny style. UP NEXT TH...

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Skinny: Florida 2, Isles 0

"The Skinny"

 By Eric Hornick
Game 1
Florida 2, Isles 0
Jose Theodore made 27 saves for his sixth career shutout against the Islanders as the Florida Panthers spoiled the Isles' season opener with a 2-0 win before a sellout crowd of 16,234 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Slow Start
The Coliseum crowd was ready to rock but the Isles could not get anything going in the first period.  Stephen Weiss and Jason Garrison scored in the final 3 ½ minutes of the session for the game's only goals.  Weiss' goal was his 10th in 30 career games against the Isles while Garrison scored on a 5-on-3.

Can't Get on the Board
The Isles picked up the play as the game went on, managing six shots on goal on three power plays, but couldn't beat Theodore.  2-0 Final. 

Home and Road
The Isles open the season with a home ice defeat.  The Isles are now 2-3-2 when opening the season at home.  They are 24-11-4 overall in home openers.  This was the first game of a four-game homestand, marking the first time since the inaugural 1972-73 season that the Isles have opened with at least four consecutive home games
The Panthers improve to 8-7-3 on Opening Night and 3-7-1 when they open on the road.

Just for Openers
The Isles are shutout in a home opener for the 4th time in their history (1973 and 1995, both vs. Philadelphia, and 2000 vs. Calgary). It's only the second time that they have been shutout in a season opener (10/4/96 at Los Angeles).  The Isles are winless on Opening Night since 2007 (0-2-2); only Anaheim and Chicago (each winless since 2006) have longer streaks.

The Isles have sold out four consecutive games, dating back to last season.  This was the 9th time in the last 11 seasons that the Isles have sold out the home opener.

In the Nets
Al Montoya drew the opening night assignment and made 27 saves.  He is the 4th different goalie to start on opening night for the Isles in the last four seasons (MacDonald in 2008-09, Roloson in 2009-10, DiPietro in 2010-11)
Jose Theodore made 27 stops for his 31st career shutout to win his Panther debut.  His previous five shutouts against the Isles were all as a Canadien and all but one of them had occurred in Montreal.  Only Martin Brodeur has more shutouts against the Islanders.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 0-3 on the power play while the Panthers were 1-5, converting on a 5-on-3.

Never Done That Before
Mike Mottau, who was assessed only four minor penalties in 20 games for the Isles last season, took three minors in this game.  It's the first time in his NHL career that he took three minor penalties.

Debut Time
Four veterans all made their Islander debuts: Brian Rolston, Jay Pandolfo, Steve Staios and Marty Reasoner.

Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back
The Isles had three veteran defensemen who missed the end of last season back in the lineup: Captain Mark Streit, Mark Eaton and Mike Mottau.

In the Circle
The Islanders won 27 of 56 (48%) face-offs.   John Tavares won 10 of 17.

Missing Men
The Isles scratched Ryan Strome, Milan Jurcina and Evgeni Nabakov.  The Isles have five players on injured reserve: Nino Niederreiter, Trevor Gillies, Rhett Rakhshani, Mark Katic and Jeremy Colliton.

Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 165 games since joining the team last season. Travis Hamonic has now played 63 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.   

Season Series Stats
The Panthers lead the season 1-0-0 (two points to none).  Theodore is the first Florida goalie other than Tomas Vokoun to defeat the Isles since Craig Anderson blanked the Isles on March 2, 2008.  Vokoun had recorded eight wins in that span.  The teams will meet again in two weeks in South Florida.

Happy Anniversary
28 years ago tonight: October 9, 1983 – Bob Bourne scores in overtime as the Isles  rallied from a 5-1 deficit to defeat Washington 8-7 at the Capital Centre in the first regular season overtime game in the NHL since 1942. It is the first of only two 8-7 games in Isles history, both of which resulted in overtime wins.
All-time, the Isles are 4-5-2 on this date, including a 1-1 tie in Kansas City in Bryan Trottier's NHL debut in 1975.

Up Next
[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 12:30pm), WRHU-FM]
The Islanders continue their season-opening homestand with a Columbus Day matinee against Minnesota.
It's the first of two meetings this season with the new-look Wild, who defeated the Blue Jackets in their opener on Saturday night.  The Isles won the only meeting last season.
The Isles will need to score within the first 12:03 of play to avoid setting a club record for the longest scoreless streak to start a season.

Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.  Follow Eric @ehornick on Twitter.

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