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"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Game 82 Isles 5, Pittsburgh 4    On to the Playoffs! Simon Holmstrom scored the winning goal with 5:3...

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Skinny on the Opener

The Skinny returns all season long beginning Saturday.  Here is some Opening Night Skinny to get you started.

[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 7:30pm), WRHU-FM]
The Islanders begin their 40th anniversary season when they welcome the Panthers to the Coliseum on Saturday.

It's the first of four meetings of the season with Florida.  The teams split four games last season, with the second Islander victory coming in a shootout.
The Isles are opening at home for the third straight season -- the only time in club history that they have opened at home in consecutive years. It's also 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 Isles are 24-10-4 in 38 previous home openers and 9-19-10 on Opening
Night overall.  Luckily for the Isles, the opener with Florida is on home-ice. The new-look Panthers are 7-7-3 on opening night in their history but are just 2-7-1 when the opener is on the road.  (Florida is 5-0-2 when they open at home; the only NHL team to have earned a point in every season opener at home).

Other Opening Night Facts you might not know:

* This is the 25th consecutive home opener to be played on a weekend
(all but in 1999 on a Saturday). The last mid-week home opener was in
1986 vs. Washington. The Isles have had a Saturday home opener in 33 of
their 39 seasons.

* This is the 7th time in club history that the Isles have opened at
home (1972, 1980, January 1995, 1998, 2009, 2010 and 2011). The Isles are
2-2-2 when they play the season opener at home.

* This is the 2nd time that the Isles have opened the season against Florida, but the first time they have done so in October.  The Isles opened the lockout-shortened 1995 season on January 21 of that year, defeating the Panthers 2-1 behind two third period goals from Zigmund Palffy.  That was also the last time the Isles opened the season at home and with a win.

* This will be the third home opener against the Panthers.  In addition to 1995, the Isles defeated Florida 2-1 on October 18, 2003 in Steve Stirling's first home game as Isles bench boss.

* This is the 3rd time that the Isles have opened at season on October 8th, but the first since 1987. Bryan Trottier played his first NHL game on this date in 1975 (a 1-1 tie in Kansas City); the Isles opened Denis Potvin's final season with a 4-1 win in Los Angeles in 1987.

* This is the only season opener this season matching two coaches who have not coached a season opener before.  Jack Capuano joined the Isles at mid-season last year while Kevin Dineen was hired for his first NHL head coaching job by the Panthers on May 31st. Dineen is the younger brother of former Islander Gord Dineen.

* The Isles will be looking for their first win on Opening Night since 2007 (0-1-2); only Anaheim and Chicago (each winless since 2006) have longer streaks.

* Get your tickets early. The Isles, who sold out the final three games last season, have sold out the home opener eight times in the last ten years.

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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