By Eric Hornick
Isles 7, Philadelphia 4
Nikolay Kulemin scored two goals, including the Isles' NHL-leading 8th shorthanded goal of the season, and also added an assist as the Islanders clinched a first place position at the All-Star Break with a 7-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers before yet another sellout crowd of 16,170 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Isles head into the break with five wins in their last six games and are 31-14-1 on the season.
The Isles lead the Metropolitan Division by five points over the idle Penguins and lead the Eastern Conference by one point over Tampa Bay.
01:32 NYI Michael Grabner (4) ASST: Nikolay Kulemin (9), Johnny Boychuk (17) 1 - 0 NYI
08:06 NYI Nikolay Kulemin (10) ASST: Johnny Boychuk (18), Michael Grabner (2) 2 - 0 NYI
04:53 NYI SHG - Nikolay Kulemin (11) ASST: NONE 3 - 0 NYI
09:07 PHI PPG - Mark Streit (7) ASST: Brayden Schenn (18), Jakub Voracek (37) 3 - 1 NYI
11:49 NYI Josh Bailey (8) ASST: Nick Leddy (14), Ryan Strome (25) 4 - 1 NYI
15:12 PHI Michael Del Zotto (3) ASST: Jakub Voracek (38), Brayden Schenn (19) 4 - 2 NYI
19:52 NYI PPG - John Tavares (21) ASST: Frans Nielsen (16) 5 - 2 NYI
00:49 PHI Claude Giroux (15) ASST: Zac Rinaldo (2) 5 - 3 NYI
05:45 NYI Nick Leddy (7) ASST: John Tavares (25), Kyle Okposo (30) 6 - 3 NYI
17:36 PHI Chris VandeVelde (5) ASST: Luke Schenn (5) 6 - 4 NYI
18:57 NYI EN - Anders Lee (13) ASST: NONE 7 - 4 NYI
Johnny Boychuk celebrated his 31st birthday with two first period assists. Both Boychuk and Nick Leddy were +4, raising their season mark to +15…Kyle Okposo had an assist after being named the NHL's third star for last week…The Isles improved to 14-1-0 when Nikolay Kulemin records a point (13-1-0); Kulemin, who now has 95 career goals, has scored five goals in the last five games and has his highest goal total since scoring 30 times for Toronto in 2010-11…Kulemin also leads the Isles with three shorthanded goals… Anders Lee extended his point streak to five games (4-1-5); he is now tied for 3rd in rookie goal scoring…John Tavares' 21 goals leaves him tied for 7th in goals…NHL leading scorer Jakub Voracek had two assists for the Flyers…The 7 goals matched a season high (vs Dallas 10/25/14) and was the most goals that the Isles have scored vs. Philadelphia since January 23, 1993 (8-4 win)…The Isles also had a season-high 20 shots in the 2nd period…The Isles have scored 13 goals in their last two home games – it's the first time that they have done that since tallying 14 in games vs. Boston and Pittsburgh on January 3rd and January 7th, 2003…The Isles will spend the All-Star Break in first place in their division for the first time since 1990.
Both Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy were +4; they are the first Isles to have a rating that high since Matt Martin, Ryan Strome and Colin MacDonald were all +4 in a win in Carolina last March 25th.
The last time two Islander defensemen were +4 in the same game was on October 10, 2001 (Roman Hamrlik and Radek Martinek, at Pittsburgh) and the last time two defensemen did it on Coliseum ice was on January 26, 1999 vs. Boston when Eric Brewer and Barry Richter accomplished the feat.
Both Leddy and Boychuk each had 2 points; the last time two Isles defensemen each went +4 with two or more points in the same game since February 16, 1993 vs. Edmonton (Vladimir Malakhov and Dennis Vaske).
It's the first time in his career that Leddy had a +4 game; Boychuk accomplished the feat on February 19, 2012, for the Bruins, against Toronto.
Sean Couturier and Matt Read each went -5 for the Flyers. They were the first Flyer teammates to do so since Claude Giroux and Simon Gagne did so in 2010 vs. Ottawa. The last time any player went -5 against the Isles was on March 10, 2002 when Daniel Tarnqvist and Jiri Slegr both did so for Atlanta.
The Isles have hosted a matinee on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in each of the last nine years and 14 times since 1994. The Isles have won the last three, and are 4-3-2 in the last nine.
Metropolitan Division Standings (Top 4)
· ISLES 31-14-1=63 points (24 ROW) Beat Philadelphia 7-4
· Pittsburgh 26-12-6=58 points (24 ROW) Idle
· NY Rangers 26-13-4=56 points (24 ROW) Idle
· Washington 24-13-8=56 points (23 ROW) Idle
Schedule through All-Star Break:
· Isles: Idle
· Pittsburgh: @Philadelphia Tue, Vs Chicago Wed
· NY Rangers: Vs Ottawa Tue
· Washington: Vs Edmonton Tue
The Isles have a five point lead in their division for the first time since February 6, 1990:
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Year of the Fan:
The Isles have sold-out their last five home games, seven of the last eight and 11 of their 20 home dates this season. The eleven sellouts are the most for the Isles since they had 12 full houses at the Old Barn in 2007-08.
The Isles are 31-14-1 thru 46 games. The Isles were 17-22-7 through 46 games and 18-22-7 through 47 games last season, when they did not record their 31st win until they defeated Ottawa, 2-1 on April 2nd (31-35-10).
Most wins in first 46 games:
· 31-14-1 in 2014-15
· 31-6-9 in 1978-79
· 30-14-2 in 1983-84
· 28-11-7 in 1976-77
· 28-10-8 in 1980-81
· 27-13-6 in 1981-82
Most points in first 46 games:
· 71 in 1978-79
· 64 in 1980-81
· 63 in 1976-77
· 63 in 2014-15
· 62 in 1983-84
· 60 in 1981-82
Home Sweet Home
The Isles are 16-4-0 on Coliseum ice, tying the club record for most wins through 20 home games (16-0-4 in 1978-79). They have had more than 30 points through 18 home games only once: 16-0-4 for 36 points in 1978-79.
The Isles have had a season of streaks, going 4-0-0 to open the season and then (in succession) 0-2-0, 2-0-0, 0-3-0, 13-2-0, 0-3-0, 7-1-1, 0-2-0, and are now 5-1-0 in their last six games.
Winning Streaks (Season)
2 streaks of at least 5 games -- First time since the 1987-88 season that the Isles have had two winning streaks of at least five games.
5 streaks of at least 4 games -- First time since the 1984-85 season that the Isles have had five winning streaks of at least four games.
7 streaks of at least 3 games -- First time since the 1984-85 season that the Isles have had at least seven winning streaks of at least three games.
The Isles have outshot 16 of their last 17 opponents and have allowed at least 30 shots only once in the last 16 games.
The 20 shots for the Islanders in the second period was a season high.
On the season, the Isles have outshot their opponents 1,522-1,243 for a +279 shot differential. The club record for differential for a season is +307 in 1976-77. The Isles have had only two other seasons over +150: (+254 in 1986-87 and +152 in 1975-76).
Isles had 2,537 shots on goal last season, most since a franchise-record 2,616 in 1992-93. Isles are currently on pace for a record-breaking 2,713 shots this year.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 31-13-1 overall; 16-4-0 at home and 15-10-1 on the road.
Philadelphia is 18-22-7 overall; 11-7-3 at home and 7-15-4 on the road.
The Isles are 15-2-0 in Division games and are 16-12-1 in games against other divisions. They are 7-4-1 vs. the Atlantic Division, 4-5-0 vs. Central Division, and 5-3-0 vs. the Pacific Division.
The Isles finished last season 10-16-4 against the Met.
Metropolitan Hockey Club, Inc.
The Isles are 15-2-0 against the Met Division, including eight straight wins. They are 9-0-0 at home (outscoring opponents 35-19) and 6-2-0 on the road. The Isles are 6-0 in overtime/shootouts against division foes, going 4-0 at home and 2-0 on the road.
Prior to the current streak, the Isles did not have a division winning streak longer than five games since the divisions were rearranged for the 1993-94 season.
In the Nets
Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves to improve to 25-9-0 on the season, including 22-5-0 in his last 27 games. Three of his five losses in that span have been against his former teams (2 to St. Louis and 1 to Montreal) He is 6-2-0 in his career against Philadelphia. Halak has won at least 25 games in each of the last five full seasons.
Rob Zepp made 16 saves over the first period and a half, but when Chris VandeVelde scored with 2:24 to play, that made Tavares' goal against Ray Emery the winning goal. Emery made 18 saves but suffers his first loss ever to the Isles (7-1-2). Emry is 7-9-1 on the season.
Just Call Him Cy Halak
Halak's 25-9 (and 0) record would not only make him an NHL All-Star, it would likely make him a Cy Young Award winning. The last pitcher to finish with a 25-9 record was Hall of Famer Don Drysdale, for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1962. Drysdale did win the Cy Young that season.
Halak is the 6th goalie in Islander history to win at least 25 games in a season:
Player 25-win seasons
Chico Resch 3
Rick DiPietro 3
Billy Smith 2
Jaroslav Halak 1
Ron Hextall 1
Chris Osgood 1
The club record for wins in a season is 32, shared by Billy Smith, Chris Osgood and Rick DiPietro.
The Islanders were 1-4 on the power play, while Philadelphia was 1-3.
The power play is 3-24 (12.5%) in the last seven games after going 7-20 (35%) in the previous four games.
The penalty kill has allowed five goals in nine times short over the last three games (44.4%) after killing 27-29 (93.1%) over the prior 12 games.
The Isles are 17-6-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 14-8-1 when they do not. The Isles are 13-10-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 18-4-1 when they do not.
Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 25-5-1 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 6-9-0 when they do not.
One Goal Games
The Isles are 18-3-1 in games decided by a single goal including 7-3-0 in regulation. They are 5-0 in games decided in overtime and are 6-1 in shootouts. Four games have been decided by two goals in which the second goal was an empty-netter. The Isles are 3-1 in those games.
First Goal (and Second Goal)
The Isles are 17-9-1 when they score first and are 14-5-0 when they allow the opening goal. However, the Isles are 12-0-0 when they allow the opening goal but score the second goal. The Isles have rebounded from 2-0 deficits to win twice this season (New Jersey on December 15th (SO) and Pittsburgh on January 16th)
Second to The One
Jack Capuano is the 2nd winningest coach in Islander history. Capuano is 149-134-40 behind the Islander bench. Among the 9 New York teams, only the Giants' Tom Coughlin and the Yankees' Joe Girardi have led their respective teams longer than Capuano.
Most games coached (Islanders):
1. Al Arbour 1,500
2. Jack Capuano 323
3. Mike Milbury 191
4. Terry Simpson 187
5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches:
1. Al Arbour 740
2. Jack Capuano 149
3. Terry Simpson 81
4. Peter Laviolette 77
5. Ted Nolan 74
They Said It
John Tavares: "Everybody's feeding off one another…It's important to take some time off and enjoy it a bit, heal some bumps and bruises. Then it's time to gear up for the start of the stretch run."
Nikolay Kulemin: "A win is a win. We still have to be better defensively. We give up four goals, that's not the type of game we're supposed to play."
Matt Martin: ""When this building's full it's one of the best in the league. When they're loud and the building is rocking, it pushes us forward to want to win hockey games. We've kind of come together with this 'Yes, Yes, Yes' thing and we're all having fun with it."
They Tweeted It
@staceyall91 100% certain that Travis Hamonic is part human, part super hero. That guy just keeps on going. #isles
@craigorius_ John Tavares is special. Watch him, fans of any NHL team. #isles
@BarbaraDiGangi So happy with my @NYIslanders!! #LetsGoIsles #hockeylove
@MBheartstwugs @NYIslanders Happy Birthday to my birthday twin Johnny B!!! 1/19/84 babies!!!
@bowbirad Permission to jump on the @NYIslanders bandwagon. My mom is from Long Island so I think I should be okay.
(On Nikolay Kulemin): "When you play as hard as he plays, you're going to get results. He's a guy that away from the puck, plays exceptionally well defensively. We can use him in some crucial situations, not just the penalty kill, but five-on-five."
(On the team) "From day one, no one gave us a chance, but that's why we play the game. I'm very pleased up until this point with our hockey club, we've done a lot of good things, not only winning hockey games, but how we are winning games."
The Isles are 7-1-0 in the front-end and 6-2-0 on the back end of back-to-backs this season. The Isles have swept 5 sets of back-to-back this season and are 1-1-0 in three sets.
The next back-to-back set is February 7th in Boston and February 8th in Buffalo.
Leading Ice Men
Travis Hamonic led all Isles with 26:27 of ice-time; Michael DelZotto led Philadelphia in ice-time with 23:18.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (12-3-0), Travis Hamonic (10-1-1), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) John Tavares (2-4-0), Thomas Hickey (3-0-0), Nick Leddy (0-2-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0), Kyle Okposo (0-1-0) and Calvin deHaan (1-2-0).
Kyle Okposo led the forwards with 19:33 of ice time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (15-12-1), Kyle Okposo (12-1-0), Ryan Strome (1-0-0), Brock Nelson (1-1-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0) and Casey Cizikas (1-0-0).
In the Circle
The Islanders won 26 of 61 draws (43%). Frans Nielsen won 9 of 13 for the Isles; Pierre-Edouard Bellemare did the same for the Flyers. The Isles lost more draws than they won in each of the three periods. The Isles won only 1 of 6 draws on the power play but won 5 of 9 draws on the penalty kill.
The Isles out-hit Philadelphia 59-39. Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with ten hits while Matt Martin added nine.
There were no fights. The Isles have been involved in ten fights this season: Martin (7), Hamonic (2), Lee (1), and eight of the ten have been against Metropolitan Division opponents.
Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 15 blocked shots; Travis Hamonic led the Isles with 3.
For the Corsi Crowd
The Isles finished with a total Corsi advantage of 61-52 (including 42-29 in the final two periods). The Corsi stat measures shots attempted, both for and against (including blocks).
Nick Leddy led the Isles with a +11 even-strength Corsi rating; Leddy was also on-ice for a team-leading 67% of Corsi For events. Brayden Schenn (+7) led Philadelphia.
Head of the Class
Islander Captain John Tavares has 361 career points; he is 71 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 improved to 23 games over all-time NHL .500 (1436-1413-451 in 3,300 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 298 consecutive regular season NHL games, while Nelson has played 98 consecutive regular season Islander games.
Matt Carkner and Lubomir Visnovsky are on injured reserve. Mikhail Grabovski (injured), Matt Donovan and Eric Boulton were scratched.
The Isles have lost 163 games this season due to injury/illness.
All-time Islander Leader Board:
John Tavares has:
· 157 goals (14th all-time, 3 behind Pat Flatley and 11 behind Ziggy Palffy)
· 204 assists (15th all-time and 45 behind Tomas Jonsson)
· 361 points (14th all-time , 9 behind Stefan Persson and 83 behind Billy Harris)
· 396 games played (tied-38th with David Volek and 6 behind Jean Potvin)
Kyle Okposo has:
· 113 goals (23rd all-time, 3 behind Ray Ferraro and 5 behind Steve Thomas, Matt Moulson and Mark Parrish)
· 185 assists (tied-17th all-time with Frans Nielsen, 8 behind Pierre Turgeon and 19 behind John Tavares)
· 298 points (19th all-time and 35 behind Ziggy Palffy)
· 436 games played (32nd among Islander skaters all-time, 4 behind Josh Bailey and 14 behind Scott Lachance)
Frans Nielsen has:
· 94 goals (32nd all-time, 1 behind Mikko Makela and David Volek and 5 behind Trent Hunter)
· 185 assists (tied-17th all-time with Kyle Okposo, 8 behind Pierre Turgeon and 19 behind John Tavares)
· 279 points (23rd all-time, 7 behind Ed Westfall,11 behind Alexei Yashin and 13 behind Duane Sutter)
· 492 games played (25th among Islander skaters all-time, 1 behind Ed Westfall and 16 behind Rich Pilon)
Michael Grabner has:
· 86 goals (37th all-time, 1 behind Butch Goring and 6 behind Travis Green)
Josh Bailey has:
· 440 games played (31st among Islander skaters all-time, 10 behind Scott Lachance and 19 behind Trent Hunter)
Season Series Stats
The Islanders lead the season series 2 games to 0 (and 4 points to 1), and have outshot the Flyers 87-50 this season.
The Isles have won three straight against the Flyers (all at home). It's their longest winning streak against the Flyers since a 5-game win streak in 2007 and their longest on home ice since winning all four games played at the Coliseum in 1998.
The teams will meet again in Philadelphia on both February 5th and April 7th.
It Happened at the Coliseum … on JANUARY 19th
26 years ago tonight (1989) – The Isles survived a pair of late goals from John Tonelli as they held on to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Brent Sutter, Pat LaFontaine and Patrick Flatley had given the Isles a 3-0 lead and with four minutes left it looked like the Isles might cruise to an easy win.
However, Tonelli, who had many big late game moments at the Coliseum, had other ideas – scoring at 16:06 and 17:50 to make it a one-goal game. While Tonelli's first goal was unassisted, he had some help on the second one as Hall-of-Famers Luc Robitaille and Wayne Gretzky (playing his first game for the Kings on Long Island) had helpers.
As Los Angeles pressed for the tie, it was a future Islander overtime hero named David Volek who would cement the contest with an empty-netter. Kelly Hrudey, who would be traded to LA later that season made 21 saves for the win; a future Islander named Glenn Healy made 34 saves in defeat.
Also on this date: (2004) – Cliff Ronning scored twice to reach the 300 goal mark as the Isles beat Ottawa 5-2.
All-time, the Isles have played ten January 19th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 4-3-3 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
On The Farm
Kevin Poulin made 25 saves as Bridgeport earned a split of their 2-game series with Syracuse, as they defeated the Crunch 2-1. Bridgeport is now 19-16-4-1 on the season and is just 1 point out of a playoff spot; the Sound Tigers visit Albany on Wednesday.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 27th—RANGERS AT ISLANDERS 7:00PM
[MSG+ (Isles Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
[MSG+ (Isles Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
The Islanders are now off for the All-Star Break, but 21 of their 36 remaining games are at the Coliseum, including three with the rival Rangers.
The first of these will be on Tuesday, January 27th as the Blueshirts visit Long Island for the first time in 15 months.
The Islanders hold two wins at MSG on the Rangers this season, but are 0-1-2 in the last three games vs. the Rangers on Coliseum ice.
It will be the first time that the Isles were in first place by themselves when the Rangers visit the Coliseum since January 14, 1984 (31 years ago Wednesday). The Isles beat the Rangers 4-2 behind a goal and two assists (each) for Bossy, Potvin ... and Goring, extending their division lead to 7 points. (Trottier was hurt so Butch played with Bossy, who recorded his 400th NHL goal)
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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