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It Happened at the Coliseum

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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



It Happened at the Coliseum … on NOVEMBER 30th

23 years ago tonight (1991) – Pierre Turgeon recorded the first of his eight hat tricks for the Islanders as the Isles completed the sweep of a home-and-home series as they pounded the Washington Capitals 8-1. Turgeon also added an assist for a four-point game; linemate Steve Thomas had four assists.  The Isles scored five times on nine shots in the middle period and eight times on 23 shots overall.

Pierre Turgeon


Islander coach Al Arbour told Newsday’s Mark Herrmann: "You have to be pretty pleased with the weekend. We held the highest-scoring team in the league to three goals in back-to-back games.”  Arbour was downplaying the other move that he had made – putting Thomas and Turgeon together for the first time.  17 months later the Capitals would not be happy that the Hall of Fame coach had come up with that contribution.

This was the Isles’ only win in a stretch of 11 home games vs. Washington leading up to the 1993 playoffs, when the Isles beat the Caps three times on Coliseum ice.

Also on this date: (1993) – Travis Green had the hat trick as the Isles beat Washington 6-4 in the first meeting of the teams since the previous spring’s playoffs.


All-time, the Isles have played eight November 30th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 2-5-1 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

The Skinny: Isles 3, New Jersey 1

“The Skinny”  

By Eric Hornick

Game 24
Isles 3, New Jersey 1

Cal Clutterbuck broke a 1-1 tie as he deflected home a Calvin deHaan shot for the winning goal early through the second period and Jaroslav Halak took over from there as the Islanders extended their home winning streak to six games with a 3-1 victory over New Jersey before a sellout crowd of 16,170 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Halak was at his best in the third period, when the Isles were out-shot 16-2 yet managed to kill a late 5-on-3 before Casey Cizikas scored a shorthanded goal with 5 seconds to play to cement the win.

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 11 of their last 13(11-2-0) for the first time in 24 years, and have won 17 times in the first 24 games for the first time in franchise history.  The Isles lead the entire NHL with 17 victories and are tied for the NHL lead with 34 points (with Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Nashville and St. Louis).

The Scoring:

1ST PERIOD
12:40    NYI       Nikolay Kulemin (5) ASST: Kyle Okposo (16), John Tavares (13)  1 - 0 NYI          
14:27    NJD      Damien Brunner (2) ASST: Adam Larsson (3), Michael Ryder (8)  1 - 1 Tie           

2ND PERIOD
03:32    NYI       Cal Clutterbuck (3) ASST: Calvin de Haan (4), Casey Cizikas (4)   2 - 1 NYI          

3RD PERIOD
19:55    NYI       SHG - EN - Casey Cizikas (3) ASST: Frans Nielsen (8), Thomas Hickey (6) 3 - 1 NYI

The Skinny:
John Tavares’ assist was his team-leading 23rd point … Kyle Okposo extended his club lead with his 16th assist; it was his 171st career assist, tying Duane Sutter and Alexei Yashin for 20th place on the all-time Isles list…Two of Cal Clutterbuck’s three goals have been game-winners…Casey Cizikas hit the empty-net for his first career shorthanded goal and the Isles’ 4th SH goal of the season.  All four have been scored at home; the Isles lead the NHL with 4 SH goals at home…Brunner’s goal is the only even strength goal Halak has allowed in the last 232:47... Jaroslav Halak has won a career-best 9 straight starts, allowing just 11 goals.  He is one win away from tying Billy Smith’s club record for consecutive victories (10), which was set in 1982… The Isles held Jaromir Jagr without a point.  Jagr has 150 points in 104 career games vs. the Isles… It’s the first time in franchise history that the Isles have won 17 games by the end of November.  The Stanley Cup Champion 1980-81 Islanders recorded their 17th win on December 2nd.  This is the first time since 2007-08 that the Isles recorded a 17th win before New Year’s.

The Sellouts
The Isles hosted their third sellout in the last four games and are 4-0-0 before a home sellout crowd this season.  Over the last eight days, the Isles attracted 60,919 to four games at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

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 beat 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 16-5-2 34 points
ISLES       17-7-0 34 points

The Isles and Penguins have been tied at the end of play each of the last eight days; both teams are idle until Tuesday, when the Isles host Ottawa and the Penguins host New Jersey.

Comparable Records
The Isles are 17-7-0 thru 24 games; it’s the first time in franchise history that the Isles have won 17 of their first 24 games.  The Isles were 8-13-3 through 24 games and 8-14-3 through 25 games last season, when they did not win their 17th game until January 10th (17-22-7).

Most wins in first 24 games:
·         17-7-0 in 2014-15
·         16-7-1 in 1987-88
·         16-8-0 in 1983-84
·         16-3-5 in 1978-79
·         15-5-3-1 in 2001-02
·         15-6-3 in 1976-77

Most points in first 24 games
·         37 in 1978-79
·         34 in 2014-15
·         34 in 2001-02
·         33 in 1976-77
·         33 in 1980-81
·         33 in 1987-88

November to Remember!
The Isles finish November with an 11-3-0 record. It’s only the second time in franchise history that the Isles have won at least 11 November games (12-1-2 in 1980).
The Isles went 6-0-0 at home this month; it’s the first time the Isles have won six straight home games since a similar streak from December 29, 2009- January 21, 2010 and the first time that they have had a perfect November at home since 1984-85 (also 6-0-0).

Mr. November
After losing in San Jose to open the month, Jaroslav Halak reeled off nine straight wins.  Halak went 9-1-0 on the month, with a 1.37 GAA and a 95.0 save percentage.  Halak had three shutouts this month.

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 11-2-0 in last 13.
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             11-15-2=28
New Jersey   8-11-16=35

The Isles had only one shot against Cory Schneider in the third period; their second shot hit the empty-net.  It was the first time in eight games that the Isles have been outshot.

Home and Road
The Islanders are 17-7-0 overall, 9-2-0 at home and 8-5-0 on the road.
New Jersey is 9-11-4 overall; 3-3-3 at home and 6-8-1 on the road.

By Division
The Isles are 8-2-0 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 last of six consecutive division games, all in nine days.  The Isles went 5-1-0 in this stretch.
The Isles did not win their eighth divisional game last season until March 25th (8-15-3); they finished last season 10-16-4 against the Met. 

Playing the East
This was the ninth of 11 consecutive games against the Eastern Conference.  The Isles are 7-2-0 in this stretch, which has a home /home series with Ottawa remaining.

In the Nets
Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves and improves to 12-4-0 on the season with his 9th straight win. He is 4-4-1 in his career against the Caps.
Cory Schneider made 26 saves for New Jersey but falls to 9-10-3 on the season and 1-1-1 in his career against the Islanders. 

Power Plays
The Islanders were 0-4 on the power play while New Jersey was also 0-4.

The Isles have killed 30 of 35 over the last 12 games after they allowed 6 power play goals in 14 times short over the previous five games.  (The Isles killed only 1 of 4 in two games vs. Washington, but killed 29 of the other 31).

The power play is 4-21 (19.0%) over the last six games.

The Isles are 10-3-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 7-4-0 when they do not.  The Isles are 6-6-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 11-1-0 when they do not. 

Three is (Usually) a Magic Number
The Isles are 13-1-0 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 4-6-0 when they do not. 

Two Column Team
The Isles are the only NHL team without an overtime or shootout loss this season.

It’s the third time in club history that the Isles have gone this late into the season without an overtime/shootout loss or tie:
·         30 games (1998-99; 12-18-0 before tying Anaheim in game 31)
·         24 games (1983-84; 16-8-0 before tying St. Louis in game 25)
·         24 games (2014-15; current)

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.  Three games have been decided by two goals in which the second goal was an empty-netter.  The Isles are 2-1 in those games.

First Goal
The Isles are 10-5-0 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 135-127-39 behind the Islander bench.

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.     Al Arbour 1,500
2.     Jack Capuano 301
3.     Mike Milbury 191
4.     Terry Simpson 187
5.     Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.     Al Arbour 740
2.     Jack Capuano 135
3.     Terry Simpson 81
4.     Peter Laviolette 77
5.     Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
Jaroslav Halak:  “The guys are just playing great—everybody is doing the job they are supposed to do.  At the end of the day, it’s two points.”

They Tweeted It
@MattGorman14 Amazing first #isles game of the year for me. Barn was really rocking tonight! Loving this team more each day. #1stplace
@AlexMSilverman "I was just taking it in one last time, taking a look at all the building's old ghosts." - Denis Potvin, on Nassau Coliseum. #Isles
@alexgolema i will prob be in tears when the final horn blows at the coliseum im rlly gnna miss tht building i dont care what people say its home #isles
@islestopshelf Halak among the top 10 in the league now in save %, GAA, WIns, and SO's.. So this is what it feels like to have steady goaltending #Isles
@lizvschmidt The Coliseum was rockin tonight! Great crowd. Great game. Most wins in the NHL! Let's go Islanders!!! #Isles #Awesome

The Coach
“Even though they had the zone time at the end, we were in position.  We’re not going to go outside and chase when we don’t have to; we blocked some key shots and when the opportunity was there to pressure we did and when we had to contain we contained.”

Back-to-Backs
After tonight’s win, the Isles are 4-1-0 in the front-end and 4-1-0 on the back end of back-to-backs this season. 
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
Frans Nielsen led the Isles with 20:47 of ice-time (including 4:03 shorthanded); Damon Severson led New Jersey with 24:20. It was the first time this season that Nielsen led the Isles forwards, let alone the entire team, in ice-time.

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), Frans Nielsen and Calvin deHaan (0-1-0).

Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (9-7-0), Kyle Okposo (5-0-0), Brock Nelson (1-0-0), Frans Nielsen and Casey Cizikas (1-0-0).

In the Circle
The Islanders won 29 of 62 draws (47%).  John Tavares won 10 of 16, but his teammates won only 19 of 46. Jacob Josefson won 9 of 14 for New Jersey.
The Isles won 13 of 22 draws in the middle period, but only 16 of 40 draws in the first and third periods.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles were out-hit 17-16.  Nick Leddy led the Isles with three hits.
There were no fights for the first time in six games.  The Isles have been involved in seven fights this season: 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 26 blocked shots, including 5 from Calvin deHaan.

For the Corsi Crowd
The Devils finished with a total Corsi advantage of 75-55, which measures shots attempted for and against (including blocks), including a 40-8 advantage in the third period.   The Isles had only three attempts on goal (one of which was the empty-net goal) in the final 16 minutes.
Cal Clutterbuck (+7) led the Isles in even-strength Corsi. Clutterbuck also had a team-leading 77% of Corsi For events. Mike Cammalleri (+14) led the Devils.

Head of the Class
Islander Captain John Tavares has 338 career points; he is 61 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 16 games over all-time NHL .500 (1422-1406-450 in 3,278 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.

Ironmen
Nick Leddy and Brock Nelson are the Islanders’ reigning ironmen.  Leddy has played 276 consecutive regular season NHL games, while Nelson has played 76 consecutive regular season Islander games.

Missing Men
Eric Boulton, Michael Grabner and Matt Carkner are on injured reserve. Johnny Boychuk and Lubomir Visnovsky missed the game with injuries, allowing Matt Donovan to get back in the lineup. Cory Conacher also was scratched.
The Isles have lost 89 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        32

All-time Islander Leader Board:
John Tavares has:
·         146 goals (15th all-time, 1 behind Pierre Turgeon and 14 behind Pat Flatley)
·         192 assists (16th all-time, 1 behind Pierre Turgeon and 57 behind Tomas Jonsson)
·         338 points (15th all-time, 2 behind Pierre Turgeon and 31 behind Stefan Persson)
·         374 games played (43rd among Islander skaters all-time, 7 behind Randy Wood and 9 behind Anders Kallur)
Frans Nielsen has:
·         90 goals (35th all-time, 2 behind Travis Green and 3 behind Greg Gilbert & Garry Howatt)
·         177 assists (18th all-time and 4 behind Ed Westfall)
·         267 points (23rd all-time and 8 behind Kyle Okposo and 19 behind Ed Westfall)
·         469 games played (28th among Islander skaters all-time and 5 behind Gerry Hart)
Kyle Okposo has:
·         104 goals (26th all-time and 1 behind Ed Westfall & Benoit Hogue and 12 behind Ray Ferraro)
·         171 assists (tied-20th all-time with Duane Sutter & Alexei Yashin)
·         275 points (22nd all-time, 11 behind Ed Westfall and 15 behind Alexei Yashin)
·         414 games played (35th among Islander skaters all-time, 8 behind Josh Bailey and Dave Langevin and 11 behind Greg Gilbert)
Michael Grabner has:
·         82 goals (38th all-time, 2 behind Tomas Jonsson and 5 behind Butch Goring)
Josh Bailey has:
·         422 games played (tied-33rd among Islander skaters all-time with Dave Langevin and 3 behind Greg Gilbert)

Season Series Stats
The Isles lead the season series 1 game to 0 (and 2 points to 0).  The teams will meet again at the Coliseum on December 15th; the Isles visit New Jersey on January 9 and March 21.
The Isles have won 7 of the last 10 games between the teams (7-3-0), but this was only their third win in that span in regulation.

It Happened at the Coliseum … on NOVEMBER 29th
17 years ago tonight (1997) – Sergei Nemchinov scored two goals and Ziggy Palffy and Tom Chorske each had two assists as the Islanders built a 3-0 lead and then survived a valiant comeback effort by the St. Louis Blues, holding on for a 4-2 victory.

The Blues outshot the Isles 20-3 in the third period and 36-20 overall, but Eric Fichaud made 34 saves, including six on former Islander Pierre Turgeon to record his 19th career victory.

The Blues nearly tied the game late in the third period, but Al MacInnis’ shot rang off the post.  Fichaud told Newsday’s John Valenti: "That was probably the hardest shot I've ever seen in my life. It almost killed me."

It would turn out to be a last hurrah for Fichaud, who would not win again for the Isles and won only three other NHL games.

The win came in the 1000th regular season game at the Coliseum, raising the Islanders’ all-time record on Coliseum ice to 541-319-140.

Also on this date: (1975) – Ed Westfall scored the opening goal and add three assists as the Isles cruised to an 8-2 win over St. Louis.

All-time, the Isles have played 11 November 29th games at the Coliseum and have compiled a 5-5-1 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

On The Farm
Bridgeport is 10-7-2-1 on the season after a 3-1 loss to Hartford on Saturday.  David Leggio stopped 28 shots for Bridgeport, who are winless in their last six games (0-4-2-0); they host Providence on Sunday at 3pm.

Up Next
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2nd—OTTAWA AT ISLANDERS 7:00PM
[MSG+2 (Isles Pre-game at 6:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]

The Isles open December with their final home-and-home series, which begins on Tuesday at the Coliseum before concluding Thursday in the Canadian Capital.

The road team won all three meetings last season, with the Isles winning twice in Ottawa before the Sens were victorious in the Isles’ home finale.

Overall, the Isles are 3-2-0 in the last five vs. Ottawa, with two of the Isles’ victories coming in shootouts.


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. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

It Happened at the Coliseum … on NOVEMBER 29th

17 years ago tonight (1997) – Sergei Nemchinov scored two goals and Ziggy Palffy and Tom Chorske each had two assists as the Islanders built a 3-0 lead and then survived a valiant comeback effort by the St. Louis Blues, holding on for a 4-2 victory.

The Blues outshot the Isles 20-3 in the third period and 36-20 overall, but Eric Fichaud made 34 saves, including six on former Islander Pierre Turgeon to record his 19th career victory. 

The Blues nearly tied the game late in the third period, but Al MacInnis’ shot rang off the post.  Fichaud told Newsday’s John Valenti: "That was probably the hardest shot I've ever seen in my life. It almost killed me." 

Eric Fichaud (undated)


It would turn out to be a last hurrah for Fichaud, who would not win again for the Isles and won only three other NHL games.

The win came in the 1000th regular season game at the Coliseum, raising the Islanders’ all-time record on Coliseum ice to 541-319-140.

Also on this date: (1975) – Ed Westfall scored the opening goal and add three assists as the Isles cruised to an 8-2 win over St. Louis. 


All-time, the Isles have played ten November 29th games at the Coliseum and have compiled a 4-5-1 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.  The 11th and final November 29th home game is tonight –as the Isles host New Jersey at 7:00. Make sure you’re there, because after tonight, there are only 30 regular season games remaining.

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:

1ST PERIOD
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           

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

3RD PERIOD
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.

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 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.”

Back-to-Backs
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.

Ironmen
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
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29th—NEW JERSEY AT ISLANDERS 7:00PM
[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.