By Eric Hornick
Rangers 3, Isles 0
Carl Hagelin scored twice and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 28 shots as the Rangers blanked the Islanders 3-0 in front of 18,200 at Madison Square Garden. It's Lundqvist's 4th career shutout of the Islanders and his 38th overall.
1st Period: NONE
Marian Gaboirk's empty-net goal gives him goals in five straight games (7 goals); he leads the NHL with 22 goals. Michael Del Zotto was +3 and leads all NHL defensemen at +25. Matt Moulson and John Tavares each saw their four game point streaks end; they also saw point streaks in games against the Rangers end at five and six games respectively. Hagelin has six goals in his first 16 games, including a pair of two-goal games.
The Rangers outshot the Islanders 12-7 in the first period but the Islanders rebounded to outshoot the Rangers 12-10 in the second period. Each team had 9 shots in the third period. The Islanders had long stretches without shots in both the first and second period. They were outshot 20-8 over the first half of the game before outshooting the Rangers 20-11 the rest of the way.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 11-17-6 overall and are 5-8-3 on the road. The Isles are 2-6-1 in their last 9. The six games under NHL -.500 matches a season low.
The Rangers are 22-8-4 overall and 11-3-2 at home. New York has won five straight.
In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov made 28 saves but sees his record drop to 2-8-0. Nabakov is winless in his last 10 starts (0-8-0 with two no decisions).
Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves for the Rangers as he improved to 15-7-4 on the season. He is 23-11-5 in his career against the Isles.
The Islanders were 0-3 on the power play; the Rangers were also 0-3. The Isles are 3-8 on the power play over the last three games after going just 1-22 in the previous 7 games.
The Isles have killed 34-40 (85.0%) over the last 14 games. The Isles have been shorthanded only eight times over the last five games; it's the fewest times they have been shorthanded in a 5-game stretch since at least the mid-1980's.
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
Evgeni Nabokov: "We just need to simplify our game a little bit. I don't think we need to change a lot, I think we need to simplify. We have quite a bit of turnovers and we just have to find a way to play hard… We have to come out with swagger… We have to come out with the mentality that we can win, that we are going to work hard and at the end of the night, see what will happen
They Tweeted It
@PeterBotte: "Micheal Haley, he's like Woody Woodpecker. He's an instigator." Haley fought Stu Bickel in the first period for his second NHL fight of the season. Haley left the game after the fight and did not return. He will be evaluated on Tuesday.
"I thought Nabby played well. He gave us a chance."
Leading Ice Men
Travis Hamonic led the Islanders with 24:57; Ryan Mc Donagh led all players with 26:49.
Each team was credited with 31 hits. Matt Martin had seven hits and Travis Hamonic had six hits for the Isles while Anton Stralman had six hits for the Rangers.
The Islanders were outscored 2-0 in the third period; the Isles have been outscored 12-4 in the third period over the last seven games and have been outscored 41-19 overall in the third period (31-17 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 64-56.
The Isles allowed an empty net goal for the third straight game and have allowed a league-leading 10. 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.
The Islanders drop below all-time NHL .500 (1324-1325-427 in 3,076 games). Prior to today, they had 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 14 games (6-6-2) 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 23 games (0-17-6; 1.61 per game). In their 17 regulation losses, the Isles have scored 21 goals (1.24 per game).
The Isles were shutout for the 7th time this season. Nobody else has been shutout more than four times. The 2007-08 Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils were the last teams to be shutout seven times before New Years. The 2000-01 Isles were also shutout seven times by New Year's Day.
Head of the Class
John Tavares remains stuck on 149 career points; he is points ahead of Matt Duchene for most among 2009 draft picks. No other player in that draft is anywhere close.
Friends, Friends, Friends
Moulson 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 25 of 50(50%) face-offs. John Tavares was the Islanders' best, winning 9 of 11; Derek Stepan 8 of 15 for the Rangers.
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 161 man-games to injury so far this season. Anders Nilsson dressed as the back-up to Nabokov for the third straight game.
Matt Moulson, the Isles' reigning ironman, has played in all 198 games since joining the team. Travis Hamonic has now played 96 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.
Season Series Stats
The Rangers lead the season series 3 game to one (six points to two). The Isles have lost six straight at Madison Square Garden – their longest stretch since losing seven straight from 1983-1985.
The teams have two meetings left: on February 24th at the Coliseum, and on March 11th at Madison Square Garden.
18 years ago tonight (12-26-93): Benoit Hogue scores 2:28 into overtime as the Islanders, despite having only 17 shots on goal, defeat Buffalo 4-3.
The Islanders have never played on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. In part due to that, December 26th is the 2nd busiest day in Isles history; the Isles have played 26 games on this date, going 16-8-2. (The Isles played their 27th December 23 game on Friday.) Tonight's loss ended a streak of 5 straight wins on Boxing Day; it was also the Isles' first defeat in five Boxing Day matchups with the Rangers (4-1-0)
Auld Lang Syne
This was the final road game of 2011. The Isles end the calendar year with a 14-17-7 mark, including 5-8-3 so far this season.
On The Farm
Tomas Marcinko scored with 4:26 to play as the Sound Tigers rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Connecticut Whale at Webster Bank Arena. The win breaks a six game losing streak; Bridgeport is 12-14-3-1 on the season. The Sound Tigers begin a three game in four day road trip on Wednesday in Norfolk as they play the first of consecutive games against the Admirals.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29th CALGARY AT ISLANDERS 7:00PM
[MSG+ (Islanders Game Night at 6:30pm), WRHU (88.7FM)]
[MSG+ (Islanders Game Night at 6:30pm), WRHU (88.7FM)]
The Islanders return home to begin a two-game homestand against the Alberta teams as they host the Calgary Flames on Thursday night in the only meeting of the season between the two teams. The Flames are also in their 40th season as a franchise as they entered the NHL with the Islanders in 1972-73.
This is the only meeting of the season between the teams and will mark the return of former Islander Blake Comeau. It's only the sixth meeting of the teams since the lockout, and only Calgary's third trip to Long Island since 2004. The Islanders won each of the two home games by 3-2 scores, and are 4-1-0 in the five games overall.
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