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"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Game 21 Isles 4, Philadelphia 3 (OT) Josh Bailey's scored his 5th career overtime goal and added ...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Skinny on the end of November

There was only one NHL game played on Sunday, and Detroit beat Vancouver 5-3 in an afternoon affair, depriving the Canucks an opportunity to move into 1st place overall.

Thus the Isles end November as one of six teams with 34 points:

DIV GP W L OT P ROW
 PITTSBURGH
23 16 5 2 34 14
 NASHVILLE
23 16 5 2 34 13
 TAMPA BAY
24 16 6 2 34 15
 ST. LOUIS
24 16 6 2 34 13

 NY ISLANDERS
24 17 7 0 34 12
 MONTRÉAL
25 16 7 2 34 12

This leaves the Isles tied for first place in the Division (with Pittsburgh; although Pens have a game in hand), in the Conference (with Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Montreal), and in the entire National Hockey League (with Nashville, St. Louis and the other three Eastern teams).

You're probably thinking that it has a long time since the Isles had at least a share of the NHL lead at the end of a calendar month.  You are more right than you probably think.

The 2001-02 team went unbeaten in regulation in October (9-0-1-1, for 20 points) but even they did not earn that distinction, as Detroit earned 22 points that month.

The last time the Islanders ended a month with at least a share of the NHL lead, I was a college freshman.  It was October 1982:

Tm W L T OL PTS
Islanders 11 2 0 0 22
North Stars 9 2 1 0 19
Canadiens 7 2 3 0 17
Flyers 8 5 0 0 16
BlackHawks 6 2 4 0 16
As for November, 2014 itself, the Isles finished the month with 22 out of a possible 28 points.  Their .786 point percentage this month is the best in the NHL; only St. Louis (11-3-1, 23 points) earned more points than the Isles (11-3-0, 22 points).

With November's woes now confined to the history books, perhaps it's time to exorcise a similar, yet smaller demon, called "December".

The Isles have not have a winning December since 2006-07, when they went 7-6-0:

December
2007-08 7 - 7 - 1
2008-09 2 - 10 - 2
2009-10 6 - 8 - 1
2010-11 6 - 7 - 1
2011-12 6 - 6 - 2
2013-14 5 - 6 - 3

So, in the Tavares era, the Isles are 23-27-7 in December.  Not November-ish, but not playoff-worthy either.

It's certainly part of the reason that when the Islanders recorded their 17th win at the earliest date in their history on Saturday night (November 29th) it was also the first time since 2007-08 that the Isles had won 17 games before the turn of the New Year.

The December schedule features 13 games, but only 1 set of back-to-backs (December 19-20).

2-Dec-14  Vs Ottawa
4-Dec-14  @ Ottawa
6-Dec-14  Vs St. Louis
9-Dec-14  @ Minnesota
11-Dec-14  @ St. Louis
13-Dec-14  Vs Chicago
15-Dec-14  Vs New Jersey
19-Dec-14  @ Detroit
20-Dec-14  Vs Tampa Bay
23-Dec-14  Vs Montreal
27-Dec-14  @ Buffalo
29-Dec-14 Vs Washington
31-Dec-14  @ Winnipeg



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