By Eric Hornick
Isles 2, Wild 1 (shootout)
Frans Nielsen scored the only goal of the shootout and Al Montoya made 20 saves as the Islanders earned their first point beyond 60 minutes this season with a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild in front of 18,209 at the Xcel Energy Center. The Isles are 4-1-1 in their last six road games.
First Period: None
Second Period: 11:13 EV NYI A.MACDONALD(2) -J.TAVARES(15) - M.MOULSON(9)
Third Period: 8:22 EV MIN C.CLUTTERBUCK(9)-M.CULLEN(10) - D.HEATLEY(13)
Minnesota: Cullen (NG), Zidlicky (NG), Heatley (NG). Isles: Tavares (NG), Nielsen (GOAL)
John Tavares' assist allowed him to regain the team lead in scoring with 25 points. Matt Moulson and PA Parenteau each have 24. The Islanders improved to 8-1-3 in games they lead after two periods.
The Isles outshot the Wild 9-5 in the first period, 15-4 in the second period and 10-9 in the third. Minnesota had three of the five shots in the overtime.
Welcome Back A-Mac
Andrew MacDonald played his first game after missing seven games after being injured while blocking a shot to secure a victory against Buffalo. Both of MacDonald's goals this season, and three of his seven career tallies, have come against Minnesota.
As Seen on MSG+
The Islanders have scored first in each of their last six road games. It's the first time that they have done so since November/December 2001.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 10-14-6 overall and are 4-6-3 on the road. The Isles are 4-1-1 in their last six road games and have earned 11 points on the road this season, matching the most that they have earned in their first 13 road games over the past five seasons.
Minnesota is 20-8-5 overall and 10-4-3 at home. The Wild are off to the best start in their history despite being winless in three straight (0-1-2). The Wild are 19-2-1 when they allow two goals or fewer (19-1-0 vs. the rest of the NHL and 0-1-1 vs. the Islanders).
In the Nets
Al Montoya made his 10th start in the last 12 games and picked up the win, making 20 saves. Montoya is now 3-0-0 in his career against Minnesota, with a 0.97 GAA. It was his first career shootout victory (1-3).
Nicklas Backstrom made 35 saves for the Wild.
The Islanders were 0-2 on the power play while the Wild were 0-1. The Isles are 7-35 (20.0%) on the power play over the last nine games. The Isles have killed 28-33 (84.8%) over the last nine games.
They Said It
Andrew MacDonald: "We played really well. I thought we made really good decisions on our breakouts when we had to and sustained some good pressure. We tried to get the puck in behind their D and just work hard. I think we had some good end-zone presence and we were successful.
They Tweeted It
@StapeNewsday: Best road 2nd period of season for #Isles, lead depleted and banged-up Wild 1-0 after 2. 15-4 shots edge for #Isles in 2nd.
"We did a lot of good things tonight. It was a game they deserved to win."
Leading Ice Men
Mark Streit led the Islanders with 25:21; Jared Spurgeon played 26:47 for Minnesota. John Tavares played a season-high 24:26.
The Isles were outscored 1-0 in the third period (8-2 over the last four games). The Isles have been outscored 37-17 overall in the third period (30-15 excluding empty nets); the 17 goals scored are the fewest of any team in the third period. In the first two periods, the Isles have been outscored 54-51.
58 to Go
The Isles have scored 9,942 goals in their history (excluding 40 shootout winners), leaving the club 58 shy of 10,000.
Back over .500
The Islanders are back over all-time NHL .500 (1323-1322-427 in 3,072 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.
The Isles were held to one goal (excluding shootout) for the first time in the last ten games. The Isles have scored 30 over the last ten games (5-3-2) after scoring only 15 in the previous nine games (1-6-2). The Isles have scored 36 goals in their ten wins (3.60 per game) and 32 goals in their other 20 games (0-14-6; 1.60 per game). In their 14 regulation losses, the Isles have scored 16 goals (1.14 per game).
First Extra Time Point
The Isles are 5-2 in one-goal games decided in regulation but are 1-0-6 in the seven games that have gone beyond regulation. It's their first shootout win since March 19th in Florida. The Isles are 38-30 all-time in shootouts.
Frans Nielsen scored the Isles first shootout goal of the season (1-8). Nielsen is 17-30 in career shootout attempts (56.7%). Six of his shootout goals have been game-deciding goals. Nielsen leads all active skaters that have attempted more than 10 shootout attempts with his 56.7% success rate.
Winning vs. the West
The Isles are 3-2-4 in nine games against the West and 7-12-2 against the East this season.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 27 of 53 (51%) face-offs. Frans Nielsen won 10 of 18 and Marty Reasoner won four of six for the Isles while Warren Peter won 5 of 7 for Minnesota.
Nino Niederreiter played his first game in two weeks, after being injured in a hit from Dallas' Mark Fistric. Nino played 9:00, had two hits, and was -1.
Brian Rolston (concussion) and Steve Staios (upper body injury) were scratched. Jay Pandolfo, Marc Eaton, Rick DiPietro, and Mark Katic are on injured reserve. The Isles have lost 134 man-games to injury so far this season. Evgeny Nabakov served as the back-up goaltender as Kevin Poulin (and Calvin deHaan were returned to Bridgeport.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 194 games since joining the team. Travis Hamonic has now played 92 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.
Season Series Stats
The Islanders won the season series two games to none (four points to one). After going 3-7-1 in the first 11 games against Minnesota, the Isles have won three straight against the Wild. It was the first-ever shootout game between the teams.
23 years ago tonight: December 17, 1988. Al Arbour earned the first win of his second stint behind the Islander bench as the Isles defeated the Devils 5-2.
The Islanders have now earned 35 points on December 17 – most of any day on the calendar. Overall, the Isles are 17-4-1 on this date including 17-2-1 in their last 20 games on this date.
On The Farm
Bridgeport has dropped five straight and is 11-13-3-1 on the season. The Sound Tigers visit Providence on Sunday afternoon.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20th ISLANDERS AT WINNIPEG 8:30PM
[MSG+2 (Islanders Game Night at 8:00pm), WRHU (88.7FM)]
[MSG+2 (Islanders Game Night at 8:00pm), WRHU (88.7FM)]
It's been 5,820 days since the Islanders have been to the provincial capital of Manitoba. That streak ends on Tuesday as the Islanders make their first visit to Winnipeg since a 4-2 victory on March 9, 1996 as they face the Jets for the second time this season. The Jets blanked the Isles in early November at the Coliseum.
The Isles were 14-7-2 in 23 visits to 'Peg (14-7-2) in the first era of Jets hockey, which included two Billy Smith shutouts.
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
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