By Eric Hornick
Isles 2, Devils 1 (shootout)
After losing a 13-round shootout on Thursday, the Islanders needed just a 2-round shootout to defeat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 before a crowd of 15,108 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Frans Nielsen scored the Islander goal in regulation, and then added the deciding goal in the shootout as the Islanders earned at least a point for the fourth straight game (3-0-1). New Jersey drops to 0-10 in the shootout this season and has lost an NHL-record 14 straight shootouts dating back to last year.
02:12 NYI Frans Nielsen (23) Wrist shot - ASST: Josh Bailey (23) 1 - 0 NYI
10:20 NJD Adam Henrique (25) Wrist shot - ASST: Damien Brunner (12), Patrik Elias (34) 1 - 1 Tie
Frans Nielsen (G), Adam Henrique (NG), Brock Nelson (G), Patrik Elias (NG)
The win is the 1,400th regular season win in franchise history…Frans Nielsen extends his career year totals; he now is 23-29-52 on the season, with career highs in all three categories….Josh Bailey extended his career-best assist total; he now has 23…Playing without John Tavares, the Isles are 7-5-2 since the Olympic break…The Isles finish March with a 6-5-2 record…This was the 15th shootout in the NHL this season (out of 155 total) to be decided in just four shots…The Isles are 11-10 in OT/SO this season (4-5 in overtime, 7-5 in shootouts)…
On This Continent, It's Frans
With his shootout tally today, Frans Nielsen improves to 32-57, 56.1% on his career, moving further ahead of TJ Oshie 26-47, 55.3% as the most accurate active player in shootouts (minimum 20 goals).
Nielsen is 7/12 in shootouts this season (58.3%); he has been credited with four game-deciding goals this season and 15 in his career.
Move Over Sidney, Here Comes Frans
With his 15th career game-deciding goal, Frans Nielsen now shares the NHL record with Sidney Crosby.
It was only the 5th time in the last 18 games that the Isles have been outshot. The 20 shots is the second-lowest total for the Isles as home this season (19 vs. New Jersey on March 1st)
The Young Get Younger
The Isles again dressed ten rookies: Kevin Czuczman, Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan, Mike Halmo, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Anders Nilsson, Ryan Strome, Johan Sundstrom, and John Persson.
The average age of the 20 players the Isles dressed tonight was 25.32 years. If you exclude the goaltenders, the average age drops to 24.65 years. Matt Carkner was the only Islander over 30 (he is 33 ½). None of the other Isles have turned 30 (Frans Nielsen will do so in April)
Home and Road
The Islanders are 29-35-10 overall, 12-18-8 at home (including 0-1-0 at Yankee Stadium) and 17-17-2 on the road. The Isles are 8-11-3 in their last 22 games.
Over the last two seasons, the Isles are 22-29-11 (55 points in 62 games) at home and 31-23-6 (68 points in 60 games) on the road.
New Jersey is 31-28-15 overall; they are 18-10-8 at home and 13-18-7 on the road. The Devils, who close within five points of the last playoff spot in the East, are 2-4-2 in their last eight games.
The Isles are 9-15-3 in Division games and are 20-20-7 in games against other divisions. They are 9-6-4 vs. the Atlantic Division, 7-6-1 vs. Central Division, and 4-8-2 vs. the Pacific Division.
The Isles do not have a winning record against every division opponent. They are 1-3-0 against Carolina, 1-1-1 (with one to play) against Columbus, 2-2-0 (with one to play) against New Jersey, 2-3-0 against New York, 1-3-0 against Philadelphia, 1-2-1 against Pittsburgh., and 1-1-1 against Washington (with one to play).
This was the fourth of 12 consecutive games against Eastern Conference opponents to end the regular season. The Isles have started this stretch 3-0-1.
In the Nets
Anders Nilsson made 23 saves as he improves to 5-5-2 on the season. Two of Nilsson's six career wins have come against the Devils. Nilsson is 2-0 in his NHL career in shootouts
Cory Schnieder made 19 saves for New Jersey; he is 14-14-10 on the season, including 0-6 in shootouts.
The Islanders were 0-2 on the power play while New Jersey was 0-3.
The Isles are 16-8-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 13-27-6 when they do not. The Isles are 12-19-4 when they allow at least one power play goal and 17-16-6 when they do not.
The Isles are 9-83 in the last 22 games on the power play and have allowed 12 power play goals in 52 times short over the last 13 games.
Feast or Famine
The Isles PP went 10-33 in the first 10 games, before going 7-79 in the next 24 games. They rebounded to go 11-32 in the following 11 games but are only 13-108 in their last 29 games.
Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 24-10-3 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 5-25-7 when they do not.
Each of the last two Islander home wins have come with the Isles scored 2 or fewer goals. Prior to this week, the Isles had not won a single game when scoring 2 or fewer at home since Anders Nilsson blanked the Devils 1-0 on March 4, 2012.
The Isles are 14-9-7 when they score first and are 15-26-3 when they allow the opening goal. The Isles have allowed the first goal in 25 of their last 36 games.
Second to The One
Jack Capuano became the 2nd coach in Islander history to win 100 games in Toronto on January 7th and became the 2nd coach in Islander history to coach 250 games on January 27th against Boston. He is 2nd on the all-time Islander list in both games coached (269) and wins (113).
Most games coached (Islanders):
1. Al Arbour 1,500
2. Jack Capuano 269
3. Mike Milbury 191
4. Terry Simpson 187
5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches:
1. Al Arbour 740
2. Jack Capuano 113
3. Terry Simpson 81
4. Peter Laviolette 77
5. Ted Nolan 74
They Said It
Frans Nielsen on his patented shootout move: "I saw Kovalev do it when I was a little kid…it's a lot of practice."
They Tweeted It
@sgtglock #Isles with a nice SO win, on a good point streak now. Good to see the rooks stepping up
@Jerm00ny Played our game tonight. Solid checking team play equals win. #isles I'm gonna miss Jagr when he hangs them up.
@alysongoodman After years of attending numerous sporting events I finally caught a shirt during the t-shirt giveaway. Plus I also got an #Isles victory.
@tomlofaso329 #329 became the dance place after our victory on 3-2-9 day! #isles @Section_329 instagram.com/p/mJjzVMKnp5/
"They're not gonna quit … it's a reflection of the guys that we have in that room. They believe in the system we play. I mean, you saw what we did last year. To me, it's we drafted a lot of these guys. They're high-character guys. They've got a tremendous work ethic, they've got tremendous character and no matter how much ice time an individual gets, they're very supportive of one another. They're positive on the bench, even when things aren't going [well]."
The Isles are now 6-8-1 in the front-end and 6-7-2 on the back end of back-to-backs this season. The Isles have swept three back-to-backs: November 1st/2nd vs. Ottawa and Boston; January 6th/7th vs. Dallas and Toronto and January 20th/21st vs. Philadelphia and the Rangers.
In the 15 sets of back-to-backs, they have earned 4 points three times, 3 points once, 2 points five times, 1 point twice and no points on four occasions.
The Isles' next back-to-back set is on April 1st against Florida and April 2nd at Ottawa. Six of the Isles' final eight games will be played as part of three back-to-back sets.
Leading Ice Men
Travis Hamonic led the Isles with 26:42 of ice-time while Andy Greene led New Jersey with 29:58.
The Isles are 15-17-6 when MacDonald leads in ice-time, are 13-13-4 when Hamonic leads, are 1-0-0 when deHaan leads, are 0-1-0 when Okposo leads, are 0-1-0 when Strait leads, are 0-2-0 when Tavares leads and are 0-1-0 when Vanek leads.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 25 of 53 draws (47%). Ryan Strome won 11 of 19 for the Isles but his teammates won only 14 of 34; Danius Zubrus won 7 of 11 for New Jersey.
The Isles out-hit New Jersey 19-4 in the first period and 46-16 in the game; Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with 9 hits while Matt Martin added six hits. Martin now has 323 hits on the season and leads the NHL in hits by a wide margin; it is the second time in his career that he has recorded 300 hits. Clutterbuck now has 244 hits this season.
There were no fights in the game. The Isles have received 30 fighting penalties this season: Martin (10), Boulton (8), Carkner (6), McDonald (2), Hamonic (2), Halmo (1) and Okposo (1).
Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 21 blocked shots, including a team-high six blocks for Calvin deHaan.
The Islanders go three games over all-time NHL .500 (1400-1397-449 in 3,246 games) with the 1,400th regular season win in franchise history. The Isles have been 1-under all-time .500 after six games this season and have gone 4-0-2 in the following game.
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.
Thomas Hickey is the Islanders' reigning ironman. He has played 75 consecutive regular season games, and is the only Islander to have played in every game this season.
John Tavares is on injured reserve. Michael Grabner (concussion), Eric Boulton (hand), Brian Strait (broken hand), and Lubomir Visnovsky (upper body injury) are also injured. Kyle Okposo missed his second straight game with a lower body injury. Radek Martinek was scratched.
The Isles have lost 196 games this season due to injury.
Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 686
2. Roberto Luongo 371
3. Evgeni Nabokov 348
4. Nikolai Khabibulin 333
17. Rogie Vachon 355
18. Evgeni Nabokov 348
19. Gump Worsley 335
20. Nikolai Khabibulin 333
Career Shutouts, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 124
2. Roberto Luongo 66
3. Evgeni Nabokov 58
4. Tomas Vokoun 51
5. Henrik Lundqvist 50
16 Turk Broda 62
17 John Ross Roach 58
17 Evgeni Nabokov 58
19 Clint Benedict 57
Career Goals as an Islander
15 Mariusz Czerkawski 145
16 John Tavares 136
17 Jason Blake 127
27 Trent Hunter 99
28 Kyle Okposo 99
29 Mikko Makela 95
29 David Volek 95
31 Randy Wood 94
32 Greg Gilbert 93
32 Garry Howatt 93
34 Travis Green 92
35 Butch Goring 87
36 Tomas Jonsson 84
37 Frans Nielsen 83
38 Michael Grabner 82
39 Wayne Merrick 81
39 Dave Scatchard 81
Career Assists as an Islander
16 Ed Westfall 181
17 John Tavares 179
18 Kenny Jonsson 175
19 Alexei Yashin 171
20 Duane Sutter 171
21 Jean Potvin 167
22 Jeff Norton 166
23 Frans Nielsen 165
24 Zigmund Palffy 163
25 Kyle Okposo 155
26 David Volek 154
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
24 Eddie Westfall 493
25 Radek Martinek 479
26 Gerry Hart 476
29 Scott Lachance 450
30 Frans Nielsen 439
31 Jason Blake 426
34 Wayne Merrick 411
35 Jean Potvin 402
36 Josh Bailey 398
37 David Volek 396
38 Bert Marshall 392
39 Kyle Okposo 390
40 Travis Green 388
41 Anders Kallur 383
42 Randy Wood 381
43 John Tavares 350
44 Dave Scatchard 347
Career Points as an Islander
16 Ziggy Palffy 331
17 John Tavares 315
18 Mariusz Czerkawski 295
22 Jason Blake 258
22 Steve Thomas 258
24 Kyle Okposo 254
25 David Volek 249
26 Frans Nielsen 248
27 Ray Ferraro 238
Season Series Stats
The Isles even the season series, 2 games to 2 with one game to play (April 11th in New Jersey). Both Isles wins have come in shootouts so the Devils have earned six points to the Isles' 4.
This was the first of the four games this season to be won by the home team.
32 years ago tonight (3-29-82): On the night that a freshman named Michael Jordan hit the game winning shot to give UNC a national title the Islanders pounded the Rangers 7-3 at Madison Square Garden. Islander broadcaster Barry Landers did the game on radio, and then rushed to the hospital to welcome his only daughter to the world.
All-time, the Isles are 9-7-3 on this date, including a 5-3 win over Pittsburgh in 2012 that featured five points by Josh Bailey.
On The Farm
Bridgeport dropped the front-end of a home-and-home to Hartford by a 4-0 score; the teams will meet again in Bridgeport on Sunday.
Bridgeport is 1-8-1-1 in their last 11 games and 27-32-2-5 on the season.
TUESDAY, APRIL 1st –FLORIDA AT ISLANDERS 7:00PM
[MSG-Plus (Isles Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]
[MSG-Plus (Isles Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]
The Islanders begin April as they host the Florida Panthers.
Florida has won both meetings against the Isles this season, but Tim Thomas (now with Dallas) was in the nets for both games. Luongo was traded after Florida reacquired Roberto Luongo, but Luongo has missed the past two Panthers games with a sore neck. Luongo, who began his career by playing 24 games for the Isles, is looking to appear in his 800th NHL game.
The Isles swept all three games from Florida last season, and are looking to avoid having Florida do the same to them this season.
And Finally… (in three parts)
Happy Birthday to our colleague Stan Fischler, 82 years young on Monday….Good luck to our Butch Goring at Sunday's New York Emmy's. Butch is nominated for an Emmy as "ON-CAMERA TALENT: SPORTS ANALYST"…Congratulations to my Alma Mater, Union College, who are headed back to the Frozen Four after eliminating Providence College this afternoon.
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