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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Skinny: Isles 2,Sabres 1

"The Skinny"

By Eric Hornick
Game 22
Isles 2, Sabres 1
Brian Rolston broke a 1-1  tie with 10 ½  minutes to play as the Islanders won their second straight game with a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres before 18,690 at the recently-rechristened First Niagara Center.  It was the Isles' second straight road victory after having gone winless in 10 straight on the road (0-8-2).

The Scoring:
First Period

Second Period -None

Third Period
1:54 EV BUF J.HECHT(2) ---J.POMINVILLE(17) & T.VANEK(15)
2-1 Final.

The Skinny:
David Ullstrom assisted on the winning goal for his first NHL point.  Parenteau's assist extends his team lead to 13; he also tied Tavares for the point lead with 16.

A Good Formula
For the second straight game, the Isles scored first and led in both intermissions.  The Isles are 6-1-2 when they score first, 5-0-3 when they lead after one, and a matching 5-0-3 when they lead after two.

Two for Us, None for You, Times Two
The Isles have won consecutive road games in regulation.  It's the first time that they have done that since January 13-16-22, 2008, when they won three straight, all in regulation.  The last time the Isles won consecutive games, both on the road, and both in regulation, was on November 16-19, 2007.

Home and Road
The Islanders are 7-11-4 overall and 2-5-2 on the road.
The Sabres are 13-10-1 overall and 6-7-1 at home. 

Farewell, November
The Isles end November with a 4-7-2 record.  They were 2-4-1 at home and 2-3-1 on the road.  The Isles are 214-230-68 in 512 November games in their history.

In the Nets
Al Montoya made 30 saves as he improved to 4-3-1 on the season and improved his GAA to 2.07 and his save percentage to 93.3%.  The Isles have scored twelve goals in Montoya's four wins and one goal (total) in Montoya's three regulation losses.  Montoya improves to 16-9-6 in his first 31 NHL career decisions.  His 93.3% save percentage places him in the Top 10 in the NHL this season.
Jhonas Enroth made 28 saves for Buffalo.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 1-3 on the power play while the Sabres were 0-4.  The Isles are 2-22 in the last seven games and 4-39 in the last 13 games on the power play.  The Isles have killed 7 straight over the last two games; it is the first time that the Isles did not allow a power play goal in consecutive games since October 22-25. 

Nearly Three Straight
The Isles were outshot 31-30 after having exactly the same number of shots as the opponent in the prior two games for the first time in nearly 10 years (January 24-26-29, 2002).

They Said It
Brian Rolston: "We've played really well over the last four games and we didn't get rewarded over the first couple… Tonight our best player was our goaltender, and when it's him we're going to have a good chance to win."

They Tweeted It
@YesIslanders." Someone please arrest Al Montoya. He just stole a game for the #isles. I know it is just a start, but if the #isles can keep this up..."

The Hit Leader
Matt Martin had two hits and maintains his league lead over Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck.  Martin has 97 hits while Clutterbuck has 91. The Isles have played two fewer games than the Wild.

Leading Ice Men
Andrew MacDonald led the Isles with 22:49; Christian Ehrhoff led all players with 32:48, including an almost incomprehensible 13:22 in the third period.  Ehrhoff played 8:14 of the final 10:28.

Rolston Gets the Winner
It's the 6th time in his career that Rolston has scored the game-winner in an Islander game, but the other five all came in an opponents' uniform (four with New Jersey and one with Boston).  Rolston also had a shootout deciding goal against the Isles this past March.

No Goals for John
John Tavares had six shots on goal, but saw his goalless streak extend to 11 games.  He has had 38 shots on goal during that stretch. Moulson's first period goal tied him with Tavares for the team lead.  It's the first time since the season's opening week that Tavares does not have sole possession of the team lead in goals.

Six for Milan, Too
Milan Jurcina also had six shots, marking the first time this season an Islander defenseman had managed as many as six.  It's only the second time in his career that Milan has had at least six shots; he had seven for the Caps on April 11, 2009.

3 x 4 = D
The Isles blocked 19 shots.  Three defensemen: Travis Hamonic, Steve Staios and Andrew MacDonald, blocked four each.

Third Periods
Each team scored in the third period; it was the Isles 4th goal in the third period on the road this season. The Isles have been outscored 17-3 in the third period over the last 11 games (including three empty net goals against).  The Isles have been outscored 28-10 overall in the third period (22-8 if you exclude empty nets).  In the first two periods, the Isles have been outscored 37-33.

83 to Go
The Isles have scored 9,917 goals in their history (excluding 39 shootout winners), leaving the club 83 shy of 10,000.

Over .500
The Islanders go back over all-time NHL .500 with the win (1320-1319-425 in 3,064 games).  They have been below NHL .500 for only 1 day since they were 177-178-83 prior to their victory on January 16, 1978.

43 in 22
The Isles have scored 43 goals in the first 22 games, which is their fewest goals thru 22 games in club history.  The Isles have scored 25 goals in their seven wins (3.57 per game) and 18 goals in their other 15 games (0-11-4; 1.20 per game).  In their 11 regulation losses, the Isles have scored 8 goals (0.73 per game).

Fewest Goals, First 22 Games
·         43 – 2011-2012
·         44 – 1999-2000
·         46 – 2009-2010
·         48 – 1972-1973

In the Circle
The Islanders won 24 of 55 (44%) face-offs.  Marty Reasoner won 4 of 5 for the Isles.

Missing Men
Micheal Haley was scratched.  Jay Pandolfo, Marc Eaton, Evgeni Nabokov, and Mark Katic are on injured reserve.  The Isles have lost 76 man-games to injury so far this season.

Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 186 games since joining the team. Travis Hamonic has now played 84 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

As Seen on MSG+
Former Islander captain Pat Flatley joined the broadcast in a "Between the Benches" position.  Flatley will appear in this role in selected road games this season.  He will be inducted into the Islanders Hall of Fame on January 14th before a game against Buffalo.

Season Series Stats
The Islanders lead the season series one game to none (two points to zero).  The Isles have won three straight games in Buffalo for the first time since 12/31/02- 2/27/04 and are 8-3-1 in their last 12 overall against the Sabres.  The Isles have now scored power play goals in 5 straight games against the Sabres.  The teams next meet on January 14th at the Coliseum.

Happy Anniversary
15 years ago tonight: November 29, 1996.   Tommy Salo made 23 saves and Zigmund Palffy scored the winning goal as the Isles blanked the Capitals 2-0.
Overall, the Isles are 8-8-4 on this date.

On The Farm
The Sound Tigers earned points in all three games this past weekend (1-0-1-1) and have earned points in all but one of the last eight games.  The Sound Tigers are 10-7-3-1 and trail Connecticut for the division lead by three points.  The Sound Tigers begin a home-and-home series with the Devils in Albany on Friday night.  Tim Wallace has taken over the team lead in points (9-9-18).  Anders Nilsson is 5-2-1 with a 2.60 GAA.

Up Next
[MSG+ (Islanders Game Night at 8:00pm), WRHU (88.7FM)]
The Islanders continue their road trip on Friday when they face the Blackhawks for the first of two meetings this season.
Corey Crawford blanked the Isles 5-0 in the only meeting between the teams last season.  The Hawks' win ended an Islander six-game winning streak against Chicago.
Will Al Montoya get to face his hometown team?  The Chicago native has never faced the Blackhawks.
The Isles will be looking to extend their winning streak to three, all on the road.  The last time the Isles won three consecutive games, all on the road, in one season was in October 2001 when the Peter Laviolette-led squad opened with four straight victories, all on the road.

Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since January 21, 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

Coaching carousel notes

With the coaching changes in Carolina and Washington, entering play tonight the five head coaches of teams in the Southeast division have 175 games of head coaching experience... combined.

Guy Boucher is by far the most experienced (105), Claude Noel has coached 47 games and Kevin Dineen 23.  Dale Hunter and Kirk Muller will make their coaching debuts tonight as Washington hosts St. Louis and Carolina hosts Florida.  (For reasons unclear to Islander fans, somehow Darcy Tucker wasn't given an NHL head coaching job yesterday.)

Among those with more than 175 games experience is that old-time Islander... 21 year-old John Tavares.  Tavares will play in his 183rd NHL game tonight -- becoming the 100th Islander skater to appear in that many games. 

Nine NHL teams have changed coaches since Jack Capuano became the Isles coach. Muller and Hunter join Ken Hitchcock in assuming roles during the current season; there were also six changes over this past summer.

Since the spring of 2008, 24 teams have changed coaches (several more than once), leaving only Ruff, Trotz, Babcock, Carlyle, Vigneault and Julien in their pre-2008 roles.
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

Isles 40 in 40 -- #34

Isles 40 in 40 -- #34

In honor of the Isles 40th anniversary year, I've put together a list of the Top 40 moments in club history.  I'll go through them throughout the season, bit by bit.

May, 1982-- Bossy leads the Isles to 3rd Stanley Cup

In some ways, it almost doesn't seem fair.  For many NHL franchises, winning a Stanley Cup would have to be in the top three or four moments in their history.  However, I've pushed this championship down the line quite a bit, because quite frankly, by the time the Isles faced the Canucks for the 1982 Championship, the result seemed pre-determined.

The Isles enjoyed a monumental regular season, highlighted by a 15-game winning streak and another 1st place overall finish.  After the playoff scare with the Penguins (you'll certainly be seeing that moment later on), the Isles banished the Rangers in six games and then whitewashed the Nordiques in four.

The Canucks on the other hand finished the regular season 30-33-17. Their coach, Harry Neale, was suspended for 10 games with just six games to play in the regular season.  Roger Neilson stepped in and went 5-0-1 to finish the season but the Canucks still finished 34 points behind the first place Oilers, and with 41 fewer points than the Islanders -- the widest spread in Stanley Cup final history.  With Neilson behind the bench, Vancouver eliminated Calgary, Los Angeles and Chicago to reach the first final in their history.

The Canucks actually had a chance to win game one when Jim Nill gave the underdogs a 5-4 lead in the third period at 13:06 of the third period.

However, it was then that Mike Bossy, with some help from Harold Snepsts, took over. 

First, Bossy tied the game at 15:44 after Snepsts collided with "King Richard" Brodeur (the answer to the impossible trivia question: who started in goal for the Isles in Kenny Morrow's first NHL game).

Then, some 5 years before the Easter Epic, what could be known as the Mother's Day Mistake (as the clock had just ticked into the early morning hours of Sunday, May 9th) occurred.

With time running out in the first overtime, for some inexplicable reason, Snepsts decided to play the puck out of the corner.  The rest is history (as Bob Cole described from coast to coast on Hockey Night):

The goal gave the Islanders game 1 at 19:58 of overtime.  It remains the latest goal scored in an overtime period in NHL history.

The Isles would win game 2 on Long Island, 6-4, with a 3-goal third period.

Billy Smith would blank the Canucks in game 3, and by that time there was no doubt who would raise Lord Stanley's hardware.  It was in this game that Bossy would score one of the more spectacular goals of his career - the one that you see in all the highlight reels of his career.   Jim Robson is at the mic for Hockey Night.

The Isles would go to sweep the Canucks, winning game #4, 3-1.  Bossy had two more goals in that game (his 16th and 17th of the post-season), both on the power play, including the Cup winner and won the Conn Smythe Trophy.  The two goals gave him 7 in the series, tying Jean Beliveau's modern-day (post-WWII) finals record (Gretzky would score 7 three years later, as well)

The Newsday headline on Monday morning May 17th proclaimed "Now They're a Dynasty".  Yes they were.

So why is this Dynasty-clinching ranked so low in my list?  I credit Larry Brooks.  Yes, that Larry Brooks.  You see, Larry covered that series for the New York Post and wrote the series preview.  After comparing both teams, Larry concluded (and I'm paraphrasing...but it's real close),  "The only real question here is whether Brodeur can steal a game.  Prediction: No.  A Sweep".

And he was absolutely right.

The List to Date:
#34 -- May, 1982-- Bossy leads the Isles to 3rd Stanley Cup
#35 -- January 6,1981 --With Bossy Chasing 50, Tonelli Lights Up the Leafs
#36 -- January 18, 1973 -- Expansion Isles Beat the Champs
#37 -- November 28, 1979 -- Billy Smith is credited with a goal
#38 -- December 23, 1978 -- Trottier re-writes the record book
#39 -- February 11, 2011 -- Isles pound Pens 9-3
#40 -- Summer 2001 -- Isles hire Laviolette, trade for Peca and Yashin, claim Osgood.
March 16, 2010 -- Tavares' 5-point game.
February 13, 2011 -- Grab-Trick. 
March 31, 1990 -- Uwe, Uwe. 

Like any of these lists, my #2 may be your #20...
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