By Eric Hornick
New Jersey 2, Isles 1
With John Tavares missing his first game in over three years due to a Lower Body injury, Travis Zajac deflected in the winning goal with 6:57 to play as the New Jersey Devils extended the Islanders' home winless streak to eight games (0-4-4) with a 2-1 win over the Isles before a near-sellout crowd of 16,012 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Isles have now gone a franchise-record ten games (1-5-4, only win in shootout on 11/16 vs. Detroit) without a regulation/overtime win at the Coliseum.
11:37 NJD Adam Henrique (8) Backhand shot - ASST: Reid Boucher (3), Michael Ryder (7) 1 - 0 NJD
10:31 NYI Frans Nielsen (13) Wrist shot - ASST: Kyle Okposo (22), Thomas Vanek (14) 1 - 1 Tie
13:03 NJD Travis Zajac (7) Deflected shot - ASST: Marek Zidlicky (14), Jaromir Jagr (21) 2 - 1 NJD
The Devils scored their 24th first period goal of the season; somehow New Jersey has managed to lead after 16 first periods this season (9-4-3)…Adam Henrique had goals in consecutive games after going 12 games without a goal…Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen each extended point streaks to five games; Thomas Vanek extended his point streak to four games… The Isles have earned points in four of the six games since Evgeni Nabokov returned to action (2-2-2). Nabby has a 1.97 GAA and a 92.6 save percentage in that stretch …The Isles have scored 15 goals since John Tavares last scored (in Phoenix)…Jaromir Jagr played his 100th career game against the Isles and assisted on the winning goal; his 60-87-147 career totals are the most (in all three categories) against the Isles…Travis Hamonic had six shots on goal (the most for any Islander defenseman this season) and had another five shots blocked by New Jersey…The Isles and Tampa Bay are the only Eastern Conference teams with three players that have at least 13 goals.
Josh Bailey was injured in a collision with Bryce Salvador during the third period and did not return.
Auld Lang Syne
This was the final home game of 2013. The Isles went 15-19-10 in 44 regular season games at the Coliseum in 2013, including 0-3-2 in December.
Making His Case
Islander Assistant Captain Kyle Okposo is now 5th in scoring among all American-born players:
Player Team GP G A P
1 Patrick Kane CHI 41 23 30 53
2 Phil Kessel TOR 40 18 17 35
3 Bobby Ryan OTT 41 18 17 35
4 Joe Pavelski SJS 38 16 19 35
5 Kyle Okposo NYI 39 12 22 34
The United States Olympic Team will be announced on Wednesday at the Winter Classic.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 11-21-7 overall, 5-8-7 at home and 3-13-0 on the road. The Isles are 3-3-2 in their last eight games overall but are 0-4-4 in their last eight games at the Coliseum.
The Devils are 16-16-8 overall; they are 7-5-5 at home and 9-11-3 on the road. New Jersey is 4-1-2 in their last seven games and they are 12-9-3 in their last 24 games.
In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves but falls to 7-7-5 on the season and 6-9-0 in his career against the Devils.
Cory Schneider made 30 saves in his first career appearance against the Isles and improves to 5-8-5 on the season.
The Islanders were 0-3 while the Devils were 0-1.
The Isles are 6-5-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 5-16-3 when they do not. The Isles are 4-14-3 when they allow at least one power play goal and 7-7-4 when they do not.
The Islander special teams have improved as of late. The power play is 2-11 (18.2%) over the last five games while the Isles have killed 12 of 14 (85.7%) over the last six games while scoring two shorthanded goals.
Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 11-4-2 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 0-17-5 when they do not.
Helps to Score First
The Isles are 8-5-5 when they score first and are 3-16-2 when they allow the opening goal.
Second to The One
Jack Capuano is now 2nd on the all-time Islander list in both games coached (234) and wins (95).
Most games coached (Islanders):
1. Al Arbour 1,500
2. Jack Capuano 234
3. Mike Milbury 191
4. Terry Simpson 187
5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches:
1. Al Arbour 740
2. Jack Capuano 95
3. Terry Simpson 81
4. Peter Laviolette 77
5. Ted Nolan 74
They Said It
Evgeni Nabokov: "All this, 'Well, we play well, but we can't catch a break,' but we have to find a way to catch a break. That's what the good teams do. We need points right now; that's the bottom line. "Did we play well? I think we did. But it wasn't enough."
They Tweeted It
@pj1212 that play alone shows why ko needs to be on olympic hockey all heart never gives up on play
We've got a young club in there. We did some good things, we made some mistakes. We've just got to find a way to be a little bit better and productive on the power play as well.
The Isles are 4-6-0 in the front-end and 2-5-2 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.
In the nine previous sets of back-to-backs, they have earned 4 points once, 3 points once, 2 points three times, 1 point once and no points on three occasions.
This back-to-back set concludes on Sunday (at Minnesota).
Head of the Class
John Tavares has 288 career points; he is 61 points ahead of Matt Duchene for most among 2009 draft picks. No other player from that draft is anywhere close. Tavares also has more goals and more assists than any other player from that draft.
Leading Ice Men
Travis Hamonic played 25:04 to lead the Isles for the 14th time this season. Andy Greene led the Devils with 23:43 of ice-time.
The Isles are 8-12-5 when MacDonald leads them in ice-time and 3-9-2 when Hamonic leads them.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 21 of 41 draws. Frans Nielsen won 10 of 11 for the Isles; none of the Devils' centers won more than 50%.
The Isles were out-hit 32-31. Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin each had six hits to lead the Isles; Martin now has 189 hits to lead the NHL by a wide margin.
Matt Carkner fought Ryan Clowe in the first period. The Isles have been involved in 14 fights this season: Martin (6), Boulton (4), and Carkner (4).
Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 15 blocked shots. Andrew MacDonald was one of two Isles with three, extending his NHL-leading total to 134.
Back Under All-Time .500
The Islanders once again fall below all-time NHL .500 (1382-1383-446 in 3,211 games). The Isles have been 1-under all-time .500 after six games this season and have gone 3-0-2 in the following game heading into Sunday's game in Minnesota.
The Isles have finished every season since 1977-78 above all-time NHL .500 and have not been more than 1 game under NHL-.500 since January 11, 1978.
John Tavares sat out the game, ending his consecutive game streak at 246 games, which is the fifth-longest streak in Islander history.
Frans Nielsen is now the Islanders' reigning ironman. He has played 169 consecutive games, and is one of six Islanders to have played in every game this season. Other current ironman streaks: Kyle Okposo (152), Travis Hamonic (109), Matt Martin (100), Andrew Mac Donald (87) and Thomas Hickey (40).
Longest Consecutive Game Streaks, Islander History
1. Billy Harris 576
2. Bob Nystrom 301
3. Matt Moulson 284
4. Denis Potvin 262
5. John Tavares 246
6. JP Parise 240
Travis Hamonic is the only defenseman in Islander history with two streaks in which he played at least 100 consecutive games. Those are two of only 10 streaks of at least 100 consecutive games by a defenseman in Islander history:
1. Denis Potvin 11/29/1975-1/17/1979 262
2. Bryan McCabe 10/7/1995-2/4/1998 220 (*)(**)
3. Gerry Hart 3/1/1975-11/22/1977 198
4. Janne Niinimaa 3/13/2004-1/7/2006 136 (**)
5. Ken Morrow 3/1/1980-12/29/1981 134 (*)
6. Mark Streit 10/8/2011-4/26/2013 130
7. Travis Hamonic 11/24/2010 – 2/4/2012 113 (*)
8. Jean Potvin 10/23/1975-1/2/1977 110
9. Travis Hamonic 2/24/2012- CURRENT 109
10. Kenny Jonsson 12/26/1996-2/4/1998 104
(*) Start of NHL career.
(**) Entire career with Islanders
Lubomir Visnovsky and Radek Martinek remain on injured reserve. Peter Regin replaced the injured John Tavares and Matt Carkner replaced Aaron Ness. Eric Boulton was scratched for the second straight game. The Isles have lost 98 games this season due to injury.
Nobody Beats the Viz
The Isles were 19-12-4 last season and are 3-3-2 this season with Lubomir Visnovsky in the lineup. They were 5-5-3 last season and are 8-18-5 this season without him in the lineup.
Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 680
2. Roberto Luongo 364
3. Evgeni Nabokov 342
4. Nikolai Khabibulin 333
17. Rogie Vachon 355
18. Evgeni Nabokov 342
19. Gump Worsley 335
20. Nikolai Khabibulin 333
Career Shutouts, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 124
2. Roberto Luongo 65
3. Evgeni Nabokov 56
4. Tomas Vokoun 51
18 Clint Benedict 57
19 Evgeni Nabokov 56
20 Bernie Parent 54
20 Ed Giacomin 54
Career Goals as an Islander
15 Mariusz Czerkawski 145
16 Jason Blake 127
17 John Tavares 125
18 Duane Sutter 121
34 Butch Goring 87
35 Kyle Okposo 84
35 Tomas Jonsson 84
37 Wayne Merrick 81
37 Dave Scatchard 81
39 Marty McInnis 79
40 Miroslav Satan 78
41 Claude Lapointe 76
42 Michael Grabner 75
43 Frans Nielsen 73
43 Lorne Henning 73
43 J.P. Parise 73
Career Assists as an Islander
20 Jean Potvin 167
21 Jeff Norton 166
22 Zigmund Palffy 163
22 John Tavares 163
24 David Volek 154
25 Frans Nielsen 153
26 Mariusz Czerkawski 150
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
24 Eddie Westfall 493
25 Radek Martinek 476
25 Gerry Hart 476
27 Mariusz Czerkawski 470
33 Wayne Merrick 411
34 Frans Nielsen 406
35 Jean Potvin 402
36 David Volek 396
37 Bert Marshall 392
38 Travis Green 388
39 Anders Kallur 383
40 Randy Wood 381
41 Josh Bailey 366
42 Kyle Okposo 358
43 Dave Scatchard 347
47 Butch Goring 332
47 Oleg Kvasha 332
49 Bruno Gervais 331
49 Ziggy Palffy 331
51 Shawn Bates 330
52 John Tavares 329
53 Eric Cairns 327
Career Points as an Islander
17 Mariusz Czerkawski 295
18 Duane Sutter 292
19 Alexei Yashin 290
20 John Tavares 288
21 Ed Westfall 286
27 Kenny Jonsson 232
28 Greg Gilbert 231
29 Benoit Hogue 229
29 Trent Hunter 229
31 Frans Nielsen 226
32 Matt Moulson 223
33 Mikko Makela 219
33 Kyle Okposo 219
35 Mark Parrish 214
Season Series Stats
The teams have split the first two games of the season (New Jersey has earned three points to the Isles' two). The teams will next meet on March 1st, at the Coliseum.
This was the first of three Devils visits to the Coliseum this season. It is the second straight season that New Jersey is the only opponent to visit Long Island three times.
The loss broke a three-game Isles winning streak over the Devils.
11 years ago tonight: December 28, 2002. Chris Osgood made 25 saves as the Islanders blanked Carolina 3-0 at the Coliseum. The Islanders killed all ten Hurricane power plays and scored a shorthanded goal themselves; the Isles have not gone 10-10 or better on the penalty kill in any game since then.
Overall, the Isles are 7-7-2 on this date, having played just twice (2005 and 2013) on this date since that win over Carolina.
On The Farm
Anders Lee tied Mike Halmo for the club lead in goals (12) but Bridgeport dropped a 6-3 decision in Springfield on Saturday night. The Sound Tigers, who lost to Hartford on Thursday, are now 12-16-1-3 on the season and host Albany on Sunday afternoon.
Lee and Halmo lead Bridgeport with 12 goals; Lee also leads current Sound Tigers in both assists (13) and points (25). Ryan Strome still leads both the team and the AHL assists (24) and still leads the team in points (33).
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 29th —ISLANDERS AT MINNESOTA 8:00PM
[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 7:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]
[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 7:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]
The Islanders close out 2013 with a two-game road trip that begins at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota on Sunday.
This will be the first meeting of the teams since 2011; the teams met three times that calendar year and the Islanders won all three games, with Al Montoya allowing only one goal in each game. Their most recent meeting was in St. Paul on December 17, 2011 and the Isles emerged with a 2-1 shootout win.
The Isles are 2-4-1 all-time against the Wild in Minnesota.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 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 January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick
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