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The Skinny: Carolina 6, Isles 3 (Carolina wins series 4-1)

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Eastern Conference Round 1, Game 5 Carolina 6, Isles 3 Carolina Wins Series 4-1 School is out. Jack D...

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Skinny; Isles 2, Wild 1

"The Skinny"

By Eric Hornick
Game 2
Isles 2, Minnesota 1
The Isles penalty-killing was perfect.  And they had to be.  Islander penalty killers stopped all seven Wild power plays, including a 42 second 5-on-3, as the Isles held on for a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild before a Columbus Day matinee crowd of 11,278 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Getting the Jump
Unlike Opening Night, the first period was all Islanders.  After killing two early penalties without allowing a shot on goal, the Isles grabbed the lead just 11 seconds into their first power play on an Andrew MacDonald goal at 9:05 of the opening session.  2:40 later, Frans Nielsen doubled the advantage with a perfect deflection off a Mark Streit shot.  The Isles outshot the Wild 9-2 in the opening period.
Scoreless Second
The Wild, who went over 13 minutes without a shot on goal late in the first and early in the second, started to take control of play in the second period, helped by three power plays.  However, they could not beat Al Montoya, who played his fourth consecutive shutout period.
Wild Get on the Board
Matt Cullen scored Minnesota's only goal of the game just 1:13 into the third, stopping Montoya's shutout streak at 81:58. The Wild pressured throughout most of the rest of the game, but could not find the equalizer as the Islanders killed off two more penalties.  2-1 Final.
Home and Road
The Isles even their record at 1-1-0 overall and 1-1-0 at home.  This was the second 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 Wild fall to 1-1-0 as they lose their first road game after winning their opener on home ice.
In the Nets
Al Montoya made 20 saves to even his record at 1-1-0. His save percentage is a sparking .940 while his goals against average drops to 1.53.
Niklas Backstrom made 12 saves for Minnesota.
Power Plays
The Islanders were 1-3 on the power play while the Wild were 0-7.   The Isles are now 1-6 on the power play and 11-12 on the penalty kill (allowing only a 5-on-3 goal) this season.
3 x 121
Frans Nielsen's goal was his 121st point as an Islander, tying him with Blake Comeau and John Tavares for the club lead among current players.
Not Many Shots
The Isles had only 14 shots (including just five in the final two periods).  The 14 shots matched last season's low, set in a 5-1 win in New Jersey (12-23-10). It was the fewest shots the Isles had at home in a game since also having 14, in a 2-1 win against Anaheim on January 21, 2010. 
(Update -- the 14 shots are the fewest that the Wild have ever allowed in a road game.  Thanks @Russotrib)
2 in 2
The Isles have scored just twice in the first two games for the first time since 2002.  The club record of 1 was set in 1973-74.
3 in 2
The Isles have allowed just three goals in two games for the first time since 2001 when they allowed just two.
They Tweeted It 
Veteran hockey scribe Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune, midway through the game: "John Tavares has had like the best game ever for a guy with no points and a penalty. Dynamite everywhere"
Team Effort
With all the penalty-killing time, the Isles relied on all 18 skaters to play at least 10 minutes.  Travis Hamonic led the way, playing 23:16.
Lots of Ice
Wild coach Mike Yeo rode his big guns hard, as Dany Heatley, Devon Setoguchi and Mikko Koivu all played at least 22:58.  Heatley led all players with 25:21 (his highest total since he played 25:54 on December 13, 2008).
Countdown to 10K
The Isles scored two goals in this game and now have scored 9,915 goals in their history (including 39 shootout winners), leaving the club 85 shy of 10,000.
Early Turkey
Several Islanders celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving today.  The Isles are 5-6-1 on Canadian Thanksgiving/Columbus Day.  The Isles have hosted a Columbus Day matinee in six of the seven seasons since the lockout, winning the last two after losing the first four.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 23 of 56 (41%) face-offs.   John Tavares won 6 of 10.
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 166 games since joining the team last season. Travis Hamonic has now played 64 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.   
Season Series Stats
The Isles lead the season 1-0-0 (two points to none).   The teams will meet again in December in St. Paul. This has been a streaky series ever since the Wild came into the NHL.  Minnesota won the first three, the Isles the next three, the Wild then won five straight (once in overtime), before the Isles won in March.
Happy Anniversary
38 years ago tonight: October 10, 1973.  Al Arbour goes behind the Islander bench for the first of 1,500 times and Denis Potvin makes his NHL debut as the Islanders tie the Flames 1-1 in Atlanta.  Lorne Henning scored the only goal for the Isles.
All-time, the Isles are 7-6-4 on this date, including a 6-3 win in Pittsburgh ten years ago to raise the club's record to 3-0-0 (the only time since 1987-88 that they have opened with at least three straight wins).
On The Farm
The Sound Tigers split a pair of games to open their season.  On Sunday, Justin DiBenedetto recorded his first professional hat trick in a 4-2 win over Albany.  The Sound Tigers are off until Friday, when they begin a 3-game in 3-night stretch in Glens Falls (Adirondack).
Up Next
[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 6:30pm), WRHU-FM]
The Islanders continue their season-opening homestand against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. It's the first of four meetings this season with Tampa Bay and will mark Dwayne Roloson's return to the Coliseum for the first time since his New Year's Day trade to Tampa.
The Isles have won 4 of the last five from Tampa, including a 3-1 record last season.  The Isles won twice in overtime last season vs. the Lightning, getting goals from John Tavares and Matt Moulson.

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.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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