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Friday, November 28, 2014

The Skinny: Washington 5, Isles 2

“The Skinny”  

By Eric Hornick

Game 23
Washington 5, Isles 2
Alex Ovechkin broke a 2-2 tie midway through the second period as the Washington Capitals handed the Isles only their second loss in the last 12 games with a 5-2 Washington win before a sellout crowd of 18,506 at Verizon Center.

Despite the loss, the Isles remain tied with the Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division (although Pittsburgh has a game in hand). The Isles have won ten of their last 12(10-2-0), and have won 16 times in the first 23 games for the first time in franchise history.  The Isles also remained tie for the NHL lead in wins as Montreal lost to Buffalo.
The loss prevented the Isles from going 11 games over NHL .500 for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

The Scoring:

11:51   WSH PPG - Andre Burakovsky (4) - ASST: Matt Niskanen (7), Evgeny Kuznetsov (6)1 - 0 WSH    
18:27   WSH Marcus Johansson (9) Snap shot - ASST: Matt Niskanen (8)    2 - 0 WSH        
18:58   NYI   John Tavares (10) Wrist shot - ASST: Nick Leddy (5), Kyle Okposo (15)  2 - 1 WSH        
19:33   NYI   Anders Lee (5) Tip-in - ASST: Travis Hamonic (3), Casey Cizikas (3) 2 - 2 Tie           

09:53  WSH Alex Ovechkin (12) Wrist shot - ASST: Tom Wilson (3), Nicklas Backstrom (17) 3 - 2 WSH   

05:56    WSH Evgeny Kuznetsov (2) Wrist - ASST: Troy Brouwer (6), Marcus Johansson (7)4 - 2 WSH      
18:32    WSH EN - Joel Ward (9) Wrist - ASST: John Carlson (11), Matt Niskanen (9)         5 - 2 WSH

The Injuries:
Lubomir Visnovsky did not play in the third period, suffering from an upper-body injury.
Travis Hamonic suffered an apparent lower-body injury in the third period, but returned later in the period.

The Skinny:
A post-game scoring change credited Andre Burakovsky with Washington’s first goal.  Matt Niskanen, who shot that puck, finished with 3 assists, matching a career high (2-6-09, for Dallas, vs NY Rangers)…Alex Ovechkin now has scored 25 goals (25-14-39) in 35 career games against the Isles. He has 434 goals in 701 NHL games. It became his 72nd game-winning goal, tying Peter Bondra’s Capital record… The Isles now have 12 goals by defensemen after having only 23 all last season… John Tavares’ goal (10) tied Brock Nelson for the club lead.  Tavares also has a two point lead (10-12-22) over Nelson… Kyle Okposo extended his club lead with his 15th assist… Tavares’ goal was his 146th career goal, passing Mariusz Czerkawski for 15th place on all-time Isles list.  Tavares and Anders Lee each have three goals in the last four.

Last Time First!
The Isles maintain at least a share of first place this late in the season for the first time since 2006 as Pittsburgh lost at home to Carolina.

(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 15-5-2 32 points
ISLES       16-7-0 32 points

Comparable Records
The Isles are 16-7-0 thru 23 games; despite tonight’s loss, it’s the first time in franchise history that the Isles have won 16 of their first 23 games.  The Isles were 8-12-3 through 23 games and 8-13-3 through 24 games last season, when they did not win their 16th game until January 7th (16-22-7).

Most wins in first 23 games:
·      16-7-0 in 2014-15
·         15-3-5 in 1978-79
·         15-5-2-1 in 2001-02
·         15-5-3 in 1976-77
·         15-7-1 in 1987-88
·         15-8-0 in 1983-84

November to Remember!
The Isles are 10-3-0 this November, which has one game remaining – Saturday with New Jersey.  The 10 wins are their most in any November since the Stanley Cup Champions went 10-2-1 in 1983.  The Isles have won at least 11 November games only once, in 1980, when the Stanley Cup Champions went 12-1-2.

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 10-2-0 in last 12.

The Isles have had two winning streaks of at least five games this season.  It’s the first time since the 1987-88 season that the Isles have had two winning streaks of at least five games.

The Shots:
Isles             11-8-9=28
Washington   5-13-9=27

Home and Road
The Islanders are 16-7-0 overall, 8-2-0 at home and 8-5-0 on the road.
Washington is 10-8-4 overall; 5-4-3 at home and 5-4-1 on the road.

By Division
The Isles are 7-2-0 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 fifth of six consecutive division games.  The Isles are 4-1-0 in this stretch.
The Isles did not win their seventh divisional game last season until March 23rd (7-15-3). 

Playing the East
This was the eighth of 11 consecutive games against the Eastern Conference.  The Isles are 6-2-0 in this stretch, which has a home game with New Jersey and a home /home series with Ottawa remaining

In the Nets
Chad Johnson made 22 saves but falls to 5-3-0 on the season. He is 1-1-0 in his career against the Caps.
Braden Holtby made 26 saves for Washington to improve to 8-5-3 on the season and 6-1-1 in his career against the Islanders. 

Power Plays
The Islanders were 0-2 on the power play while Washington was 1-2.
The Isles have killed 26 of 31 over the last 11 games after they allowed 6 power play goals in 14 times short over the previous five games.
The power play is 4-17 (23.6%) over the last five games.
The Isles are 10-3-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 6-4-0 when they do not.  The Isles are 6-6-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 10-1-0 when they do not. 

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 13-1-0 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 3-6-0 when they do not. 

One Goal Games
The Isles are 10-1-0 in games decided by a single goal including 3-1-0 in regulation. They are 2-0 in games decided in overtime and are 5-0 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 9-5-0 when they score first and are 7-2-0 when they allow the opening goal.

Second to The One
Jack Capuano is the 2nd winningest coach in Islander history and was behind the bench for his 300th game on Friday. Capuano is 134-127-39 behind the Islander bench.

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.     Al Arbour 1,500
2.     Jack Capuano 300
3.     Mike Milbury 191
4.     Terry Simpson 187
5.     Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.     Al Arbour 740
2.     Jack Capuano 134
3.     Terry Simpson 81
4.     Peter Laviolette 77
5.     Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
Anders Lee: "We didn't handle the puck the way we wanted to; it was sloppy. [The Caps] took advantage of some opportunities and tonight our sloppy play cost us. We didn't sustain (enough) pressure … We did that in spurts, but not for the entire period or the entire game.”

John Tavares: “"When you miss a defenseman, especially a guy like [Visnovsky], we've got to help out our D. We just weren't very sharp. Execution wasn't where it has been, and you can see why we didn't generate as much as we would like."

They Tweeted It
@TVsGGreenlee On the plus side #Isles fans, Pens didn't win either today. So we're still tied for 1st in the Metro.
@JoelLeon1414  Yep, I remember watching Anders Lee play on the @GamblersHockey knew he would make it to the @NHL
@MaxByer I SAW JOHN TAVARES SCORE IN PERSON. OH MY LORD.   (And you made The Skinny too!)

The Coach
“I thought we dictated the play I just didn’t like the third period for us. We didn’t generate much, we didn’t get to the interior.”

After tonight’s loss, the Isles are 4-1-0 in the front-end and 3-1-0 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.  This back-to-back set will conclude on Saturday when the Isles host New Jersey.
The Isles will play only one set of back-to-backs in December.  They will visit Detroit on December 19th and then host Tampa Bay on December 20th.

Leading Ice Men
Calvin deHaan led the Isles with 23:27 of ice-time (but was -3); Matt Niskanen led Washington with 22:35.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (9-2-0), Travis Hamonic (4-1-0), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) John Tavares (1-2-0), and Calvin deHaan (0-1-0).
John Tavares led Islander forwards with 19:28 of ice-time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (9-7-0), Kyle Okposo (5-0-0), Brock Nelson (1-0-0), and Casey Cizikas (1-0-0).

In the Circle
The Islanders won 21 of 55 draws (38%). No Isles who took more than 4 draws won more than he lost; Jay Beagle won 5 of 7 for Washington.
The Isles won 9 of 16 draws in the middle period, but only 12 of 39 draws in the first and third periods.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles were out-hit 33-25.  Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, Brock Nelson and Calvin deHaan each had 4 hits to lead the Isles.  Brooks Orpik led the Caps with nine.
Matt Martin fought Tom Wilson in the first period.  It was the fifth straight game that the Isles have been involved in a fight and the seventh fight of the season for the Isles: Martin (4), Hamonic (2), Lee (1). All seven fights have come in games against Metropolitan Division opponents.

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 27 blocked shots, including 7 from Travis Hamonic.

For the Corsi Crowd
The Capitals finished with a total Corsi advantage of 70-60, which measures shots attempted for and against (including blocks). 
Nick Leddy (+7) led the Isles in even-strength Corsi. Leddy also had a team-leading 60% of Corsi For events. Joel Ward (+10) led the Capitals.

Head of the Class
Islander Captain John Tavares has 337 career points; he is 60 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 fall to 15 games over all-time NHL .500 (1421-1406-450 in 3,277 games).  
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 Brock Nelson are the Islanders’ reigning ironmen.  Leddy has played 275 consecutive regular season NHL games, while Nelson has played 75 consecutive regular season Islander games.

Missing Men
Eric Boulton, Michael Grabner and Matt Carkner are on injured reserve. Brian Strait returned to the as Johnny Boychuk missed the game with an upper body injury. Matt Donovan and Cory Conacher were scratched.
The Isles have lost 84 games this season due to injury/illness.

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.  His shutout of Philadelphia on November 24th was his 33rd career shutout, making him the 50th goalie in NHL history to reach that total.

Halak’s 33 shutouts also rank tied-fourth among active goalies:
·         Roberto Luongo 67
·         Evgeni Nabokov 59
·         Henrik Lundqvist 53
·         Jaroslav Halak 33
·         Pekka Rinne      33
·         Jonathan Quick 33
·         Marc-Andre Fleury 32
·         Ryan Miller        31

All-time Islander Leader Board:
John Tavares has:
·         146 goals (15th all-time, 1 behind Pierre Turgeon and 14 behind Pat Flatley)
·         191 assists (16th all-time, 2 behind Pierre Turgeon and 58 behind Tomas Jonsson)
·         337 points (15th all-time, 3 behind Pierre Turgeon and 32 behind Stefan Persson)
·         373 games played (43rd among Islander skaters all-time, 8 behind Randy Wood and 10 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)
·         468 games played (tied-28th among Islander skaters all-time with Mariusz Czerkawski and 6 behind Gerry Hart)
Kyle Okposo has:
·         104 goals (26th all-time and 1 behind Ed Westfall & Benoit Hogue and 12 behind Ray Ferraro)
·         170 assists (22nd all-time and 1 behind Duane Sutter & Alexei Yashin)
·         274 points (22nd all-time, 12 behind Ed Westfall and 16 behind Alexei Yashin)
·         413 games played (35th among Islander skaters all-time, 8 behind Josh Bailey, 9 behind Dave Langevin and 12 behind Greg Gilbert)
Michael Grabner has:
·         82 goals (38th all-time, 2 behind Tomas Jonsson and 5 behind Butch Goring)
Josh Bailey has:
·         421 games played (34th among Islander skaters all-time, 1 behind Dave Langevin and 4 behind Greg Gilbert)

Season Series Stats
The season series is even at 1 game to 1 (Washington has earned 3 points to the Isles’ 2).  The 200th regular season meeting of the teams will be on December 29th at the Coliseum; the teams will also meet February 21st in DC.  The Isles are 88-86-25 all-time against Washington.

This was only the Isles 2nd regulation loss in their last 8 games in Washington (3-2-3) and only their second in 14 games overall vs. Washington (6-2-6). 

The loss deprived the Isles of their first home-and-home sweep of the Caps in 23 years; however this was only the third home-and-home series in that time.

It Happened at the Coliseum … on NOVEMBER 28th
22 years ago tonight (1992) – Pierre Turgeon scored the Isles’ first two goals and assisted on the third.  He then let his teammates get involved in the scoring as the Isles pounded the Flyers 9-3 earning a split of a home-and-home series with Philadelphia.

Tom Kurvers added 4 points (1-3-4) as the Isles tallied 27 scoring points (9-18-27).

The game also featured a lengthy brawl in the first period; Islander rookie Darius Kasparaitis was ejected and also received a match penalty after his fight with Philly’s Kevin Dineen.

Steve Thomas told Newsday’s Jim Smith that Turgeon has “…all the abilities to be a Gretzky or a Lemieux-type player. I don't think people realize he's that good. He's great with the puck, an exceptional passer, hard to check one-on-one, sees the ice very well."   By the end of that season, everybody knew.

Also on this date: (1987) -  Mikko Makela scored two goals and added an assist as the Isles beat the Rangers 5-4.  Kelly Hrudey had 20 saves as the Isles outshot the Blueshirts 42-24.
All-time, the Isles have played seven November 28th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 3-4-1 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

On The Farm
Bridgeport is 10-6-2-1 on the season after a 3-2 OT loss in Manchester.  Kevin Poulin stopped 47 shots as Bridgeport rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force the extra session, which for the second time in 3 games ended on a 3-on-3 extra session goal. (The AHL is playing 7 minutes of OT this season, with the OT becoming 3-on-3 at the first whistle after 4 minutes are played).

The Sound Tigers are winless in their last five games (0-3-2-0); they return home to face Hartford on Saturday and Providence on Sunday.

Up Next
[MSG (Isles Pre-game at 6:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]

The Isles return home to conclude November for their first meeting of the season with the New Jersey Devils.
The Isles have won 6 of the last 9 games between the teams (6-3-0), but only two of the wins have come in regulation.
Jack Capuano has split each set of back-to-backs with his goalies, so Jaroslav Halak will likely be in the nets.  Jaro has won eight straight starts, allowing just ten goals, matching his career-best winning streak (eight games for St. Louis from February 23-March 11, 2012) and tying Mark Fitzpatrick’s second-longest streak in Isles history (8 in 1989-90).  Billy Smith holds the Isles’ club record, with a 10-game streak in 1982.

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.

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