By Eric Hornick
Isles 5, Pittsburgh 4 (SO)
The Isles exploded for three goals in a 95 second span of the first period to grab a 3-1 lead but eventually needed shootout goals from Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 before a sellout crowd of 18,653 at Consol Energy Center. The Isles have won seven of their last eight (7-1-0) and have won 13 of their first 19 games for the first time since the 1987-88 season.
It's the first time that the Isles are 7 games over NHL .500 this late in a FULL season for first time since they ended the 2006-07 season with a 40-30-12 record (finished 24-17-7 in lockout season).
01:13 PIT Brandon Sutter (6) ASST: Paul Martin (4), Steve Downie (7) 1 - 0 PIT
08:18 NYI Matt Martin (1) ASST: Travis Hamonic (2), Ryan Strome (10) 1 - 1 Tie
08:47 NYI Nikolay Kulemin (4) ASST: NONE 2 - 1 NYI
09:53 NYI Ryan Strome (4) ASST: Thomas Hickey (4), Josh Bailey (4) 3 - 1 NYI
16:34 PIT Blake Comeau (5) ASST: Chris Kunitz (9), Olli Maatta (6) 3 - 2 NYI
05:42 NYI Nick Leddy (5) ASST: Ryan Strome (11), Anders Lee (1) 4 - 2 NYI
08:50 PIT Nick Spaling (3) ASST: Patric Hornqvist (12), Evgeni Malkin (14) 4 - 3 NYI
13:00 PIT Patric Hornqvist (10) ASST: Evgeni Malkin (15), Christian Ehrhoff (6) 4 - 4 Tie
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS NEW YORK ISLANDERS
1 Evgeni Malkin (NG) John Tavares (NG)
2 Sidney Crosby (Goal) Frans Nielsen (Goal)
3 Brandon Sutter (NG) Kyle Okposo (G/Game Deciding Goal)
Frans Nielsen is now 36/64 in all-time shootout attempts. His 56.3% success rate is the best among active NHLers with at least 20 attempts. Nielsen is just one goal shy of the NHL record for career shootout goals shared by Brad Boyes, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu.
Kyle Okposo improves to 4/4 in the shootout this season, including three game deciding goals. Okposo and Anaheim's Jakob Silfverberg (4/6) are the only players in the NHL with four shootout goals this season while Okposo and Montreal's PA Parenteau are the only players with three game deciding goals.
The Isles improve to 61-41 all-time in shootouts. Only Pittsburgh (63-34) has more shootout wins.
The Isles have won six consecutive shootouts; the franchise record of seven was set in 2006.
The Penguins had allowed only 12 first period goals this season before the Isles scored three times in 95 seconds tonight…It's the first time that the Isles have scored three goals in a first period vs. Pittsburgh since they scored four times in the first period on February 11, 2011 and the first time they had scored three first period goals in any game this season. The Isles are 7-0-2 when scoring at least three first period goals over the last four seasons...Matt Martin scored his 25th career goal, and in the process snapped a 25-game goalless streak dating back to April1 vs. Florida. Martin was playing in his 299th NHL game… Nick Leddy scored his 5th goal, just two shy of his career high. The Isles' defense has 11 goals this season after tallying only 23 last season. It was also Leddy's 25th career goal…Ryan Strome recorded his fourth goal in the last five games and also recorded the first three-point game of his career…The Isles scored three (or more) goals in the first period for the first time in 28 games (March 25th @Carolina)… The Isles scored four goals and none of the three players who share the team scoring lead: Brock Nelson, Kyle Okposo and John Tavares, recorded a point…Isles are 7-0-0 when leading after 2 periods; Pittsburgh is 0-1-1 when trailing thru 40 minutes…The Isles held Sidney Crosby without a shot on goal…. Pittsburgh was 10-1-0 in its prior 11 games.
Remember That Second Period Issue?
Isles have now outscored the opposition 8-2 in second periods over the last five games. The Isles have allowed only 2 second period goals in the last seven games.
Home or Road…Does It Really Matter?
The Isles are now 5-2-0 at home and 8-4-0 on the road. It's the first time that the Isles are at least 3 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.
The Isles are 13-6-0 thru 19 games, matching their most wins thru 19 games since they opened 13-5-1 in the 1987-88 season. The Isles were 7-9-3 through 19 games and 7-10-3 through 20 games last season, when they finished the first half of the season with 13 wins (13-21-7).
Most wins in first 19 games:
· 14-2-3 in 1976-77
· 13-3-3 in 1978-79
· 13-5-1 in 1987-88
· 13-6-0 in 2014-15
Most road wins in first 12 games:
· 9-2-1 in 1976-77
· 8-3-1 in 1980-81
· 8-4-0 in 1987-88
· 8-4-0 in 2014-15
November to Remember?
The Isles are 7-2-0 this November, which still includes a home-and-home series with Washington and home games with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New Jersey. The Isles have five games remaining in November.
The 7 wins are the most that they have had in any November since they went 8-6-1 in 2008.
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 7-1-0 in last 8.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 13-6-0 overall, 5-2-0 at home and 8-4-0 on the road.
Pittsburgh is 13-3-2 overall; 6-2-1 at home and 7-1-1 on the road.
The Isles are 4-1-0 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.
The Isles did not win their fourth divisional game last season until January 20th (4-11-3). Beginning tonight, the Isles' final six games this month are all against division opponents.
Playing the East
This was the fourth of 11 consecutive games against the Eastern Conference. The Isles are 3-1-0 in this stretch, which includes upcoming home/home series with Washington and Ottawa.
In the Nets
Chad Johnson made 26 saves to improve to 5-2-0 on the season. This was his first career appearance against Pittsburgh. Johnson is now 2-0-0 in shootouts (both this season).
Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves but fails to win his 300th career game. Fleury is 11-3-1 on the season. Fleury is 20-7-4 in his career against the Isles.
The Islanders were 0-1 on the power play while Pittsburgh did not have a power play.
It's the first time since the playoff-clinching shootout loss on April 23, 2013 (at Carolina) that the Isles did not allow an opposition power play. It's the first time in at least 25 years that Pittsburgh has not had a power play vs. the Isles.
The Isles have killed 22 of 24 over the last seven games after they allowed 6 power play goals in 14 times short over the previous five games.
The power play is 5-31 (16.1%) over the last eight games.
The Isles are 8-3-0 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 8-1-0 when they do not.
Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 11-1-0 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.
The Isles are 7-5-0 when they score first and are 6-1-0 when they allow the opening goal.
Second to The One
Jack Capuano is the 2nd winningest coach in Islander history. Capuano is 131-126-39 behind the Islander bench.
Most games coached (Islanders):
1. Al Arbour 1,500
2. Jack Capuano 296
3. Mike Milbury 191
4. Terry Simpson 187
5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches:
1. Al Arbour 740
2. Jack Capuano 131
3. Terry Simpson 81
4. Peter Laviolette 77
5. Ted Nolan 74
They Said It
Phil Bourque on Penguins radio, describing the Kulemin goal: "Holy, Moly. Those were two good defensemen that (Kulemin) just abused."
Chad Johnson: "I think winning tonight was definitely a big confidence booster. You want to get as many points as you can, especially against the top opponents. We got two points tonight and tomorrow, we're just hoping to build off of it."
They Tweeted It
@MearsyNHL: Congrats to my good friend & former @NYIslanders broadcast partner Chris King. Tonight is his 1,500th #Isles radio broadcast
@mikechevy83 Can we all agree a goal, an own-goal and a fight is called a Matt Martin Hat Trick?
@HunterGildin Love watching @strome18 play. Kid's heating up. All 4 of his goals this season in the last 5 games, & 7 points over that stretch #isles
@NHLJensen Only two teams have multiple goalies w/5+ wins this season. #STLBlues' Brian Elliott & Jake Allen + #Isles' Jaroslav Halak & Chad Johnson.
"I think that's the sign of a good team. When you don't play well, and you don't stay focused and you don't do the intangibles that it takes, you still win the hockey game. So, they're a good team in there. They have to believe in playing the right way and I know it's going to happen over a long season, but tonight, we needed to be a little bit better."
With their win tonight, the Isles are 4-0-0 in the front-end and 2-1-0 on the back end of back-to-backs this season. This back-to-back set concludes on Saturday at the Coliseum.
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 22:54 of ice-time (one second more than Travis Hamonic) while Kris Letang led Pittsburgh with 29:29.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (6-2-0), Travis Hamonic (4-1-0), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) and John Tavares (1-2-0).
John Tavares led Islander forwards with 21:13 of ice-time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (8-6-0), Kyle Okposo (3-0-0), Brock Nelson (1-0-0), and Casey Cizikas (1-0-0).
In the Circle
The Islanders won 27 of 53 draws (51%). John Tavares won 8 of 13 for the Isles; Sidney Crosby won 12 of 21 for Pittsburgh.
The Isles did a particularly good job in the circle in their own zone, winning 10 of 16.
It was the first time all season that the Isles won the majority of face-offs in a road game.
The Isles were out-hit by Pittsburgh 36-27. Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas each had five hits to lead the Isles. Blake Comeau had eight hits for Pittsburgh.
Matt Martin fought Robert Bortuzzo in the second period. It was only the third fight of the season for the Isles: Martin (2), Hamonic (1).
Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 15 blocked shots; Anders Lee led the Isles with three.
For the Corsi Crowd
Nick Leddy (+16) led the Isles in even-strength Corsi, which measures shots attempted for and against (including blocks). Leddy also had a team-leading 71% of Corsi For events.
Head of the Class
Islander Captain John Tavares has 333 career points; he is 56 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.
The Islanders improve to 13 games over all-time NHL .500 (1418-1405-450 in 3,273 games). It's the first time since October 30, 2010 that the Isles have been 12 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.
Nick Leddy and Thomas Hickey are the Islanders' reigning ironmen. Leddy has played 271 consecutive regular season games, while Hickey has played 102 consecutive regular season Islander games.
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 102
(*) Start of NHL career.
(**) Entire career with Islanders
Eric Boulton, Michael Grabner and Matt Carkner are on injured reserve. Matt Donovan was scratched for the 19th straight game while Cory Conacher was scratched for the second straight game.
The Isles have lost 69 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:
· 143 goals (16th all-time, 2 behind Mariusz Czerkawski, 4 behind Pierre Turgeon and 17 behind Pat Flatley)
· 190 assists (16th all-time, 3 behind Pierre Turgeon and 59 behind Tomas Jonsson)
· 333 points (tied-15th all-time with Tomas Jonsson, 7 behind Pierre Turgeon and 36 behind Stefan Persson)
· 369 games played (43rd among Islander skaters all-time, 12 behind Randy Wood and 14 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)
· 466 games played (28th among Islander skaters all-time, 4 behind Mariusz Czerkawski and 10 behind Gerry Hart)
Kyle Okposo has:
· 104 goals (26th all-time and 1 behind Ed Westfall & Benoit Hogue and 12 behind Ray Ferraro)2
· 168 assists (22nd all-time and 3 behind Duane Sutter & Alexei Yashin)
· 272 points (22nd all-time, 14 behind Ed Westfall and 18 behind Alexei Yashin)
· 409 games played (36th among Islander skaters all-time, 2 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:
· 417 games played (34th among Islander skaters all-time, 5 behind Dave Langevin and 8 behind Greg Gilbert)
Season Series Stats
The season series is even at 1 game to 1 (Pittsburgh has 3 points to the Isles 2). The teams will meet again at the Coliseum on Saturday night.
The Isles improve to 2-7-1 in their last ten games against Pittsburgh in regular season play but are 4-4-0 in their last eight trips to Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is the only opponent that the Isles will visit three times. After a January 16th Coliseum meeting, the teams will meet in Pittsburgh in the penultimate game of the regular season on April 10th.
It Happened at the Coliseum … on NOVEMBER 21st
42 years ago tonight (1972) – The Islanders recorded the third victory in franchise history; like the previous two it came against a California team as the Isles beat the Golden Seals 4-2. The Isles won only two road games in that first season and one had come earlier that month in Oakland; this night, playing on Coliseum ice the Isles rallied from a 2-0 deficit for the win.
Brian Spencer scored the winning goal with 7:18 to play; Ed Westfall added an insurance goal with 1:59 to play as the Isles recorded only their second home win.
"I left the guys to themselves after this morning's meeting", Islander coach Phil Goyette told the NY Times' Gerry Eskenazi. "I told them I can't hit for them, I can't skate for them, I can't check for them. Then I told them to work it out for themselves."
Gerry Desjardins picked up the victory, his second against the Seals and their infamous owner Charles O. Finley. The prior season Finley had undone a trade in which the Seals had acquired Desjardins from Chicago, claiming that an arm injury rendered him as "damaged goods".
Also on this date: (1981) – Denis Potvin scored the winning goal while shorthanded early in the third period as the Isles beat the Rangers 4-3 in the front-end of a home-and-home sweep of the Blueshirts.
All-time, the Isles have played five November 21st games at the Coliseum and finish with a 3-2-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
On The Farm
Despite a 5-2 loss to Springfield on Friday, the Sound Tigers remain in first place in the AHL Northeast Division with a 10-5-0-1 record.
Ryan Pulock scored both Sound Tiger goals, and both were on power plays. The rookie defenseman has a four game goal streak (6 goals) and has scored eight goals in 16 games this season (including 7 PP goals). Pulock leads all AHL rookies in goals (8) and leads the entire AHL in PP goals (7).
The Sound Tigers continue their AHL-style "3 in 3" weekend, visiting Hartford on Saturday and Albany on Sunday.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22nd—ISLANDERS AT PITTSBURGH 7:00PM
[MSG+ (Isles Pre-game at 6:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
[MSG+ (Isles Pre-game at 6:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
The home and home series concludes with the first of three Islander home games in five days. The Isles will enter the game two points behind Pittsburgh, and could tie the Penguins in points with a regulation win (Pittsburgh would still have a game-in-hand).
It's Billy Smith Mini-Locker Night. See http://islanders.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=99767for details on this special promotion.
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