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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Opening Night Skinny

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

[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 6:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM]
The Islanders begin their 41st NHL season when they welcome the Devils to the Coliseum on Saturday. It's the first of five meetings this season with New Jersey.  The Devils won last season's series 4 games to 2, as the Islanders were held to only 7 goals in the season series.

The Isles are opening at home for the fourth straight season -- the only time in club history that they have opened at home in consecutive years. The Isles are 24-11-4 in 39 previous home openers and 9-20-10 on Opening Night overall.  The Devils (franchise) is 19-10-8 in openers, but only 7-8-2 when they opened on the road.

Both the Isles and Devils were shutout last season on Opening Night.  Florida blanked the Isles at the Coliseum, while Philadelphia shutout the Devils 3-0 in New Jersey.

Other Opening Night Facts you might not know:

* This is the 26th 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 34 of their 40 seasons.

* This is the 8th time in club history that the Isles have opened at home (1972, 1980, January 1995, 1998, 2009, 2010, 2011 and January 2013). The Isles are 2-3-2 when they play the season opener at home.

* This is the 4nd time that the Isles have opened the season against the Devils, but the first time they have done so at home.  New Jersey won season openings games in 1984 and 1992 at the Meadowlands and in 2008 at The Rock. The Isles also opened the 1975-76 season with a 1-1 tie in Kansas City (the Devils' original home).

* This is the 2nd time that the Isles will play a 48-game schedule. 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 won a season opener on home-ice.

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

* Get your tickets early. The Isles have sold out the home opener nine times in the last eleven years.

* The opener will be played one day after the 40th anniversary of the biggest win of the Isles' inaugural season.  On January 18, 1973, the Isles defeated the Stanley Cup Champion Bruins 9-7 at Boston Garden (one of only two road wins that season).

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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