By Eric Hornick
Maple Leafs 5, Isles 3
Clarke MacArthur scored a goal and added an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on to defeat the Islanders 5-3 in front of 12,432 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Madison Square Garden. The Isles hit the Christmas break 2-4-1 in their last seven games.
1st Period 01:43 TOR Clarke MacArthur (10) - Assists: T. Connolly (10) & D. Phaneuf (17)
04:22 TOR PPG - Nazem Kadri (2) - Assists: M. Grabovski (8) & J. Gardiner (9)
11:15 TOR Carl Gunnarsson (1) - Assists: T. Connolly (11) & C. MacArthur (6)
08:59 TOR SHG - Joey Crabb (6) - Assists: T. Bozak (17)
19:51 TOR EN - Joffrey Lupul (16) - Assists: P. Kessel (21)
Moulson and Tavares each extended their point streaks to four games; Moulson has an assist now in 4 straight games as well. Parenteau extended his point streak to 3 and the three members of the Isles' top line now share the scoring lead with 28 points. Tavares now has 7 points (5-2-7) in 9 games against the Leafs. Gunnarsson's goal was his first in 42 games, dating back to last March. Okposo's goal was the 50th of his career; one more than Michael Grabner. The Islanders have scored a power play goal in the opening minute of the 2nd period in two straight games; it was Nielsen's first goal since November 15th. Phaneuf's assist was his 200th in the NHL. Crabb's six goals have come in six different games and the Leafs have won all of them.
The Leafs outshot the Islanders 10-8 in the first period but the Islanders rebounded to outshoot the Isles 12-9 in the second period and 13-8 in the third period.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 11-16-6 overall and are 6-9-3 at home. The Isles have lost their last three home games in regulation time and are 0-3-1 in their last four at home. The 15 points in their first 18 games at home is the fewest since 2002-03, when they playoff-bound team had only 14 points in their first 18 home games.
The Leafs are 18-13-4 overall and 10-8-0 on the road. The Leafs are 9-10-3 since opening the season 9-3-1.
In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov made 22 saves but sees his record drop to 2-7-0. He is now 3-1-1 in his career against the Leafs. Nabakov is winless in his last 9 starts (0-7-0 with two no decisions).
James Reimer made 30 saves for the Leafs as he improved to 7-3-3 on the season. He is 3-0-1 in his career against the Isles.
The Leafs coach recorded his 637th career win; he is now 29-9-8 in his career against the Isles.
The Islanders were 1-2 on the power play (while allowing a shorthanded goal); the Leafs were 1-1. The Isles are 3-5 on the power play over the last two games after going just 1-22 in the previous 7 games.
The Isles have killed 31-37 (83.7%) over the last 13 games. The Isles have been shorthanded only five times over the last four games; it's the fewest times they have been shorthanded in a 4-game stretch since at least the mid-1980's.
First Time in Long Time
Nielsen's power play goal was the 4th power play goal of his career. The other three all came in the final month of the 2008-09 season.
Stuck at 295
Evgeni Nabokov has 295 career wins (27th all-time). He is one career win behind Ron Hextall and is five wins shy of becoming the 26th goalie in NHL history with 300 career wins.
They Said It
Howie Rose: "That's odd…are they calling Tavares for a dive… this is really, really strange....I'm shocked by that."
They Tweeted It
@koshantorontosun (Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun) "People going nuts here with Tavares also in box after Lupul cross-check to face. Diving call on Tavares was bad."
"Johnny's not the type of player who is going to dive… after watching the replay, clearly a high stick."
Leading Ice Men
Mark Streit led all players with 24:04, but was -3. Gunnarsson led the Leafs with 23:15. For the second straight game, John Tavares played exactly 21:52. He likely would have played more had he not been assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct-diving penalty late in the game that took away an Islander power play and made the coaching staff irate.
Will Giants-Jets be as Hard-Hitting as Isles-Leafs?
After a slow start, the Isles out-hit the Leafs 35-24 as every Islander but Andrew MacDonald was credited with at least one hit. PA Parenteau had five hits for the Isles while Keith Aulie had seven hits for the Leafs.
Okposo is the 52nd player to record 50 goals as an Islander. He joins Moulson (77) and Tavares (64) as the only current Islanders to have scored at least that many in an Islander jersey.
Each team scored once in the third period; the Isles have been outscored 10-4 in the third period over the last six games and have been outscored 39-19 overall in the third period (30-17 excluding empty nets); the 19 goals scored are the fewest of any team in the third period. In the first two periods, the Isles have been outscored 63-56.
The Isles have allowed nine empty net goals, passing Colorado for the NHL lead. The Isles allowed only ten empty-netters all last season.
51 to Go
The Isles have scored 9,949 goals in their history (excluding 41 shootout winners), leaving the club 51 shy of 10,000.
Back to .500
The Islanders drop back to all-time NHL .500 (1324-1324-427 in 3,075 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 have scored 37 goals over the last 13 games (6-5-2) after scoring only 15 in the previous nine games (1-6-2). The Isles have scored 38 goals in their 11 wins (3.45 per game) and 37 goals in their other 22 games (0-16-6; 1.68 per game). In their 16 regulation losses, the Isles have scored 21 goals (1.31 per game).
Head of the Class
John Tavares' goal, his third in the last 21 games, gives him 149 career points, and keeps him four points ahead of Matt Duchene for most among 2009 draft picks. No other player in that draft is anywhere close.
Friends, Friends, Friends
Moulson now has 16 goals this season; John Tavares has earned assists on 11 of them. He has now been on-ice for 40 consecutive Moulson goals, earning assists on 27 of them, dating back to Moulson goal on November 17, 2010 against Tampa. Moulson remains 14 goals away from a third consecutive 30-goal season; no Islander since Ziggy Palffy has accomplished that feat.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 22 of 47(47%) face-offs. Frans Nielsen was the Islanders' best, winning 7 of 12; Tyler Bozak won 11 of 16 for Toronto.
Al Montoya (concussion), David Ullstrom (concussion) and Steve Staios (concussion) were scratched. Brian Rolston, Jay Pandolfo, Rick DiPietro, and Mark Katic are on injured reserve. The Isles have lost 154 man-games to injury so far this season. Anders Nilsson dressed as the back-up to Nabokov for the second straight game.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 197 games since joining the team. Travis Hamonic has now played 95 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.
Season Series Stats
The Leafs lead the season series 1 game to none (two points to zero). The team will play a back-to-back home-and-home on January 23rd and 24th with the Isles hosting the second of the two games. Despite the loss, the Isles are 14-4-2 in their last 20 games against the Leafs at the Coliseum.
33 year ago tonight (12-23-78): Bryan Trottier records the first two five-goal games in his career as the Islanders pound the Rangers 9-4 before a sellout crowd at the Coliseum. The Islanders scored seven times and recorded 13 assists in the middle period, setting team records for goals, assists and points in a period that all stand today.
The Islanders have never played on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. In part due to that, December 23rd is the busiest day in Isles history; the Isles have played 27 games on this date, going 14-11-2. (The Isles will play their 26th December 26 game on Monday.)
On The Farm
Bridgeport has dropped six straight and is 11-14-3-1 on the season. The Sound Tigers are off until Boxing Day, when they'll entertain the Baby Rangers (Connecticut Whale) while the Isles are visiting their parents at Madison Square Garden.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 26th ISLANDERS AT RANGERS 7:00PM
[MSG+2 (Islanders Game Night at 6:30pm), WRHU (88.7FM)]
[MSG+2 (Islanders Game Night at 6:30pm), WRHU (88.7FM)]
The Islanders will return to Madison Square Garden for the second time in less than a week as they will face the first place Rangers. The Rangers have won four straight and took over first place in the Atlantic with their victory over Philadelphia on Friday.
The Rangers lead the season series two games to one. The Isles have lost five straight at Madison Square Garden – their longest stretch since losing seven straight from 1983-1985.
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