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It Happened at the Coliseum

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Skinny: Isles 4, Pittsburgh 1

"The Skinny"  

By Eric Hornick
Game 20
Isles 4, Pittsburgh 1
Anders Lee broke a 1-1 tie early in the third period, Brock Nelson and John Tavares then added on, as the Isles defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 before a sellout crowd of 16,170 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
With the win, the Isles move into a tie with the Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division (although Pittsburgh has a game in hand).  The Isles have won eight of their last nine (8-1-0) and have tied a franchise record by winning 14 of their first 20 games.
It's the first time that the Isles are 8 games over NHL .500 this late in a FULL season since they ended the 2006-07 season with a 40-30-12 record (they were 24-16-5 and 24-16-6 in the lockout season).

The Scoring:
1ST PERIOD
16:49    PIT       Evgeni Malkin (8) ASST: Patric Hornqvist (13), Nick Spaling (4)   1 - 0 PIT           
2ND PERIOD
18:01    NYI       Matt Martin (2) ASST: Cal Clutterbuck (2), Casey Cizikas (1)         1 - 1 Tie           
3RD PERIOD
02:38    NYI       Anders Lee (3) ASST: Lubomir Visnovsky (5), Thomas Hickey (5)            2 - 1 NYI          
09:47    NYI       PPG - Brock Nelson (10) ASST: Kyle Okposo (14), John Tavares (12)      3 - 1 NYI          
15:46    NYI       John Tavares (8) ASST: Johnny Boychuk (11), Nikolay Kulemin (7)          4 - 1 NYI          

The Skinny:
Evgeni Malkin's goal was his 23rd in 46 career games against the Isles and his 248th career goal…Matt Martin had gone 25 games without a goal before scoring in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Casey Cizkas earned his first assist of the season on that goal…Anders Lee tallied the winning goal; it was his 13th goal in 38 career games…Brock Nelson extended his team lead in goals (10) while Kyle Okposo did the same in assists (14).  John Tavares, the only Islander with two points, now leads the team with 20 points…Nelson, Okposo and Tavares share the team lead with nine power play points…Nelson is tied with Philadelphia's Claude Giroux for the NHL lead in power play goals (6)… The Isles held Sidney Crosby to 0 points and one shot on goal in the two game series; the Isles also held Crosby without a point in the March 27-29, 2012 sweep of the Penguins… The Isles improve to 6-2-0 in games tied after 2 periods and are an NHL-best 7-1-0 in games in which the opposition scores first…Tavares' goal was his first in the last ten regular season games against Pittsburgh… Montreal (16 wins in 22 games) is the only team in the entire NHL with more wins than the Isles…The Isles' four goals produced points for 11 different players…Chris King worked his 1,501st game in the Isles' radio booth; it's one more game than legendary coach Al Arbour worked behind the Isles bench.

Last Time First!
It is the first time in nearly 8 years that the Isles have at least a share of first place this late in the season.

(After the games of Dec 5, 2006)
Atlantic Division   W-L-OT  Pts                                                                              
NY Islanders     14-10-3 31                                                       
New Jersey       14-9-2   30                                                       
NY Rangers      13-10-4 30                                                       
(After tonight)
Metropolitan Division
Pittsburgh 13-4-2 28 points
ISLES       14-6-0 28 points
Remember That Second Period Issue?
Isles have now outscored the opposition 9-2 in second periods over the last six games. The Isles have allowed only 2 second period goals in the last eight games.

Home or Road…Does It Really Matter?
The Isles are now 6-2-0 at home and 8-4-0 on the road.  It's the first time that the Isles are at least 4 games over .500 both at home and on the road at the same time since they ended the 2001-02 season with a 21-13-5-2 record at home and a 21-15-3-2 record on the road.

Comparable Records
The Isles are 14-6-0 thru 19 games, matching their most wins thru 20 games in franchise history.  The Isles were 7-10-3 through 20 games and 8-10-3 through 21 games last season, when they did not win their 14th game until January 2nd (14-21-7).

Most wins in first 20 games:
·         14-3-3 in 1976-77
·         14-3-3 in 1978-79
·         14-5-1 in 1987-88
·         14-6-0 in 2014-15

November to Remember!
The Isles are 8-2-0 this November, which has four games remaining: a home game with Philadelphia, a home-and-home series with Washington and a home game with New Jersey.  The 8 wins are the most that they have had in any November since they went 8-6-1 in 2008 and they need one more victory for their first 9-win November since 1987.

Streakers
The Isles won their first four games, lost their next two games, won the two games after that, lost the next three games and are 8-1-0 in last 9.

The Shots:
Isles             9-13-13=35
Pittsburgh     9-7-12=28
Home and Road
The Islanders are 14-6-0 overall, 6-2-0 at home and 8-4-0 on the road.
The 6-2-0 start matches the Isles' best home start since they opened 7-1-0 at the Coliseum in 1986-87.
Pittsburgh is 13-4-2 overall; 6-2-1 at home and 7-2-1 on the road.

By Division
The Isles are 5-1-0 in Division games and are 9-5-0 in games against other divisions. They are 3-2-0 vs. the Atlantic Division, 2-2-0 vs. Central Division, and 4-1-0 vs. the Pacific Division.
This was the second of six consecutive division games.  The Isles are 2-0-0 in this stretch.
The Isles did not win their fifth divisional game last season until January 21st (5-11-3). 

Playing the East
This was the fifth of 11 consecutive games against the Eastern Conference.  The Isles are 4-1-0 in this stretch, which includes upcoming home/home series with Washington and Ottawa.

In the Nets
Jaroslav Halak made 27 saves to improve to 9-4-0 on the season.  He has won six straight starts, allowing just eight goals.  He is 4-4-0 in his career against Pittsburgh and now has his longest winning streak since winning eight straight games for St. Louis in 2012.
Thomas Greiss made 31 saves but falls to 2-1-1 on the season. 

Power Plays
The Islanders were 1-2 on the power play while Pittsburgh was 0-1.
It was only the 2nd power play goal in their last 38 attempts vs. Pittsburgh (11 games). 
The Isles have killed 23 of 25 over the last eight games after they allowed 6 power play goals in 14 times short over the previous five games.
The power play is 6-33 (18.1%) over the last nine games.
The Isles are 9-3-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 5-3-0 when they do not.  The Isles are 5-5-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 9-1-0 when they do not. 

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 12-1-0 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 2-5-0 when they do not. 

One Goal Games
The Isles improve to 8-1-0 in games decided by a single goal including 3-1-0 in regulation. They are 1-0 in games decided in overtime and are 4-0 in shootouts.  Two games have been decided by two goals in which the second goal was an empty-netter.  The Isles are 1-1 in those games.

First Goal
The Isles are 7-5-0 when they score first and are 7-1-0 when they allow the opening goal. 

Second to The One
Jack Capuano is the 2nd winningest coach in Islander history. Capuano is 132-126-39 behind the Islander bench.

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.     Al Arbour 1,500
2.     Jack Capuano 297
3.     Mike Milbury 191
4.     Terry Simpson 187
5.     Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.     Al Arbour 740
2.     Jack Capuano 132
3.     Terry Simpson 81
4.     Peter Laviolette 77
5.     Ted Nolan 74
They Said It
John Tavares: "We're understanding what's bringing us success. We have a talented hockey club when everyone's committed to doing the right things and doing their job."
Matt Martin: "If they want to take a bad penalty in a 2-1 game and give us a two-goal lead, we'll take that every time."

They Tweeted It
@Schark22 If this 14-6 @NYIslanders start is a hallucination resulting from a head trauma I've had ... Please don't wake me up.
(Pittsburgh blogger) @Zachary_Kerr Harder, faster, better, stronger. No, Daft Punk wasn't around, but the @NYIslanders were all these vs @penguins
@HockeyToday140 #Isles 4, #Pens 1: Isles score 3 in 3rd, @91Tavares has goal, assist. Billy Smith honored pregame, slashes all the Pens for old times' sake.
@nutz4hky Tonight marks the second time the #isles have gained their 14th win of the season in 2014.  Let that one sink in. #progress
@IslesWin86 Fun Fact - Dina the Coliseum host is making 500 mini cupcakes for my wedding on Friday. #isles

The Coach
"Last year is in the past. This is a new hockey club with a new attitude. It's playoff hockey even though you're early in the season. A team like [the Penguins] brings the best out of you."

Back-to-Backs
With their win tonight, the Isles are 4-0-0 in the front-end and 3-1-0 on the back end of back-to-backs this season. 
The next set of back-to-backs will be next weekend, when the Isles will visit Washington on Friday and host New Jersey on Saturday.

Leading Ice Men
Johnny Boychuk led the Isles with 23:20 of ice-time while Kris Letang led Pittsburgh with 24:58.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (7-2-0), Travis Hamonic (4-1-0), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) and John Tavares (1-2-0).
Kyle Okposo was the only other Islander besides Boychuk to play at least 20 minutes. He led Islander forwards with 20:11 of ice-time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (8-6-0), Kyle Okposo (4-0-0), Brock Nelson (1-0-0), and Casey Cizikas (1-0-0).

In the Circle
The Islanders won 36 of 59 draws (61%). Kyle Okposo won 6 of 7 for the Isles; Brandon Sutter won 9 of 16 for Pittsburgh.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit Pittsburgh 24-22.  Matt Martin had four hits to lead the Isles.  Simon Depres had five hits for Pittsburgh.
Travis Hamonic fought Steve Downie in the first period. It was the second time this season the two had fought; they also fought in October in Pittsburgh. It was only the fourth fight of the season for the Isles: Martin (2), Hamonic (2). Three of the four fights have come in games against the Penguins.

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 11 blocked shots; Nick Leddy and Lubomir Visnovsky led the Isles with two each.

For the Corsi Crowd
Kyle Okposo and John Tavares (+14 each) led the Isles in even-strength Corsi, which measures shots attempted for and against (including blocks). Okposo and Tavares also had a team-leading 71% of Corsi For events.

Head of the Class
Islander Captain John Tavares has 335 career points; he is 58 points ahead of Matt Duchene for most among 2009 draft picks.  No other player in that draft is anywhere close.  Tavares also has more goals and more assists than any other player in that draft.

All-time Winners
The Islanders improve to 14 games over all-time NHL .500 (1419-1405-450 in 3,274 games).  It's the first time since October 29, 2010 that the Isles have been 14 games over all-time NHL .500.
The Isles have not been more than 1 game under NHL-.500 since January 11, 1978 and have finished every season since 1977-78 over all-time NHL .500.

Ironmen
Nick Leddy and Thomas Hickey are the Islanders' reigning ironmen.  Leddy has played 272 consecutive regular season games, while Hickey has played 103 consecutive regular season Islander games.

Century Club
Thomas Hickey is part of a select group of Islander defensemen who have played at least 100 consecutive regular season games:
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. Andrew MacDonald 12/19/2011- 3/2/2014 164 (**)
5. Janne Niinimaa 3/13/2004-1/7/2006 136 (**)
6. Ken Morrow 3/1/1980-12/29/1981 134 (*)
7. Mark Streit  10/8/2011-4/26/2013 130
8. Travis Hamonic 2/24/2012-1/12/2014 117
9. Travis Hamonic 11/24/2010– 2/4/2012 113 (*)
10.Jean Potvin 10/23/1975-1/2/1977 110
11.Kenny Jonsson 12/26/1996-2/4/1998 104
12. Thomas Hickey 4/26/2013- current 103

(*) Start of NHL career.
(**) Entire career with Islanders
Missing Men
Eric Boulton, Michael Grabner and Matt Carkner are on injured reserve. Matt Donovan, Brian Strait and  Cory Conacher were scratched.
The Isles have lost 72 games this season due to injury, and have had four injured players for 12 of their 19 games. 

Good Company for Halak
Jaroslav Halak became the 110th goalie in NHL history to record 150 wins with his shutout of Colorado on November 11th.  It was his 32nd career shutout, tying Eddie Johnson and Felix Potvin for 50th on the all-time list.

Halak's 32 shutouts also rank tied-sixth among active goalies:
·         Roberto Luongo 67
·         Evgeni Nabokov 59
·         Henrik Lundqvist 53
·         Pekka Rinne      33
·         Jonathan Quick 33
·         Jaroslav Halak 32
·         Marc-Andre Fleury 32
·         Ryan Miller        30

All-time Islander Leader Board:
John Tavares has:
·         144 goals (16th all-time, 1 behind Mariusz Czerkawski, 3 behind Pierre Turgeon and 16 behind Pat Flatley)
·         191 assists (16th all-time, 2 behind Pierre Turgeon and 58 behind Tomas Jonsson)
·         335 points (15th all-time, 5 behind Pierre Turgeon and 34 behind Stefan Persson)
·         370 games played (43rd among Islander skaters all-time, 11 behind Randy Wood and 13 behind Anders Kallur)
Frans Nielsen has:
·         90 goals (35th all-time, 2 behind Travis Green and 3 behind Greg Gilbert & Garry Howatt)
·         176 assists (18th all-time and 5 behind Ed Westfall)
·         266 points (23rd all-time and 6 behind Kyle Okposo and 20 behind Ed Westfall)
·         467 games played (28th among Islander skaters all-time, 3 behind Mariusz Czerkawski and 9 behind Gerry Hart)
Kyle Okposo has:
·         104 goals (26th all-time and 1 behind Ed Westfall & Benoit Hogue and 12 behind Ray Ferraro)
·         169 assists (22nd all-time and 2 behind Duane Sutter & Alexei Yashin)
·         273 points (22nd all-time, 13 behind Ed Westfall and 17 behind Alexei Yashin)
·         410 games played (36th among Islander skaters all-time, 1 behind Wayne Merrick and 8 behind Josh Bailey)
Michael Grabner has:
·         82 goals (38th all-time, 2 behind Tomas Jonsson and 5 behind Butch Goring)
Josh Bailey has:
·         418 games played (34th among Islander skaters all-time, 4 behind Dave Langevin and 7 behind Greg Gilbert)

Season Series Stats
The Isles lead the season series 2 games to 1 (and 4 points to 3).  After playing three times in the first 20 games, the teams will play only once in the next 60 games (January 16 at the Coliseum).  The final road game of the season is in Pittsburgh on April 10th).
The Isles swept a home-and-home from the Penguins for the first time since March 27-29, 2012.

It Happened at the Coliseum … on NOVEMBER 22nd
8 years ago tonight (2006) – On Thanksgiving Eve at the Coliseum, the Isles made Carolina look like turkeys in the first period.  The Isles outshot the Canes 20-1 in the session (and 48-15 in the game) as they beat Carolina 4-2.
Alexei Zhitnik assisted on the first two Islander goals and went +4.  Alexei Yashin had a goal and an assist for the Isles, who improved to 10-7-3 on the season.
Also on this date: (1974) – Billy Smith made 31 saves for his third career shutout as the Isles got goals from six different players as they cruised to a 6-0 win over Toronto.
All-time, the Isles have played thirteen November 22nd games at the Coliseum and have compiled a 10-2-1 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.  

On The Farm
Bridgeport dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday as they fall to 10-5-1-1 on the season.
Ryan Pulock's goal scoring streak ended at four games (6 goals). Pulock leads all AHL rookies in goals (8) and leads the entire AHL in PP goals (7).
The Sound Tigers conclude their AHL-style "3 in 3" weekend on Sunday in Albany.

Up Next
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24th—PHILADELPHIA AT ISLANDERS 7:00PM
[MSG+ (Isles Pre-game at 6:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
The Isles will play their third consecutive game against a Pennsylvania opponent on Monday as they entertain Jacob Voracek and the Philadelphia Flyers. Voracek leads the NHL with 29 points.
It's the first meeting of the teams since a Kyle Okposo shootout goal was the deciding tally in an Islander win in a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day matinee.
The Isles are 2-7-1 in their last 10 Coliseum matchups with the Flyers and will be looking for consecutive home wins over the Flyers for the first time since 2007.

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 & on his blog www.nyiskinny.com. 
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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