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Friday, February 20, 2015

The Skinny: Isles 5, Nashville 2

"The Skinny"  

By Eric Hornick
Game 59
Isles 5, Nashville 2
Jaroslav Halak matched a franchise record with his 32nd win and the Isles got goals from three defensemen for the second time this season as they defeated the Nashville Predators 5-2 before a sellout crowd of 16,170 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The Islanders extend their Metropolitan Davison lead to five points over the Rangers (who lost in a shootout to Vancouver) and over the Capitals (who beat Winnipeg 5-2). Pittsburgh has fallen into fourth place in the Metro, six points behind the Islanders.  The Isles also tie Montreal for the conference lead with 79 points.  The 79 points also equals the most by an Islander team in the Tavares era.

The Isles are 20 games over .500 for the first time in the post-Cup era (they finished the 1983-84 season with a 50-26-4 record).

The Scoring:

01:00    NYI       Brian Strait (2) ASST: Frans Nielsen (25), Michael Grabner (3)      1 - 0 NYI          
10:10    NYI       Johnny Boychuk (6) ASST: Nick Leddy (16), Michael Grabner (4) 2 - 0 NYI          
18:21    NYI       PPG - John Tavares (29) ASST: Nick Leddy (17), Johnny Boychuk (22) 3 - 0 NYI 
19:42    NSH     Filip Forsberg (20) ASST: Roman Josi (31), Craig Smith (15)       3 - 1 NYI          
16:38    NSH     James Neal (21) ASST: Mike Ribeiro (38), Roman Josi (32)          3 - 2 NYI          
07:02    NYI       Nick Leddy (8) ASST: Colin McDonald (4), Matt Martin (6)           4 - 2 NYI          
08:41    NYI       Josh Bailey (12) ASST: John Tavares (31), Anders Lee (11)         5 - 2 NYI

The Skinny
The Isles improve to 8-5-0 since the All-Star break…The Isles have scored in the first 71 seconds of each of their last four home games…Michael Grabner had two assists, giving him three points in two games since he returned to the line-up; it was the 4th two-assist game of his career…The Isles are 14-3-1 when scoring the first two goals; they led 3-0 in three of the four games that they did not win…The Isles have led 3-0 12 times this season (9-2-1) and trailed 3-0 only once (at Colorado)... John Tavares has scored goals in four straight games (4-5-9); he is just two goals shy of his career high in goals (31, set in 2011-12)…Nick Leddy tied a career high with three points (1-2-3)…The Isles also had three defensemen score goals on December 29th vs. Washington……Anders Lee is 6-6-12 in the last 10 games; with 19 goals, Lee is one goal off the rookie lead shared by Ottawa's Mike Hoffman and Nashville's Filip Forsberg…Both Leddy and Johnny Boychuk had at least a goal and an assist, becoming the first Isles defense pair to do so since Mark Streit and Bruno Gervais did so on January 12, 2010 vs. Detroit. It was Boychuk's 6th goal and Leddy's 8th goal, each of which are a career high… The Isles "D" now has 26 goals, most since they tallied 31 in 2009-10…With the win, Jaro Halak now is tied-2nd in victories (32) with Montreal's Carey Price; Pekka Rinne has 34 wins to lead the NHL…Every Islander but Thomas Hickey had a shot on goal.

The Injury:
Mikhail Grabovski left the game with an upper body injury following a hit from Nashville's Eric Nystrom in the first period.  Grabovski was on the ice for a few minutes, but eventually skated off under his own power.  He did not return.

60 Point Club
John Tavares reached the 60 point mark with his two points tonight.  Tavares is now 5th in the NHL in scoring, and is the only Canadian-born player with at least 60 points.  JT is also tied-5th in goals (29) and tied-3rd in power play goals (12).

Metropolitan Division Standings (Top 4)
·         ISLES           39-19-1=79 points / 59 games (32 ROW)  Beat Nashville 5-2
·         NY Rangers  34-16-6=74 points / 56 games (32 ROW)  Lost to Vancouver 5-4 (SO)
·         Washington  32-17-10=74 points / 59 games (31 ROW) Beat Winnipeg 5-1
·         Pittsburgh     32-17-9=73 points / 58 games (29 ROW)  Lost to Columbus 2-1

Upcoming Schedule:
·         ISLES:  Saturday @ Washington, Sunday vs. Vancouver
·         NY Rangers: Friday @ Buffalo, Sunday vs. Columbus
·         Washington: Saturday vs. Isles, Sunday @ Philadelphia
·         Pittsburgh: Saturday @ St. Louis, Sunday vs Florida

Year of the Fan:
The Isles have sold-out 15 of their 26 home dates this season. The 15 sellouts are the most for the Isles since they also had 21 full houses at the Old Barn in 2001-02.  The Isles have drawn at least 15,000 fans 18 times this season.

Month for the Fans:
February is the busiest home month in Islander history, as they play ten home games this month.  The Isles have played ten home games three previous times (January 1980, December 1999 and December 2000) but all were in 31-day months.

This was the sixth game of a stretch in which the Isles will play 9 of the final 11 February games at home.  The Isles are 5-1-0 in this stretch (4-1-0 at home and 1-0-0 on the road).

What a Season:
The Isles are 39-19-1 thru 59 games.  Only the 1981-82 team had more wins through 59 games, which was the final game of their 15-game win streak.  It's the first time since the 2006-07 season (40-30-12) that the Isles have won at least 39 games in a season.

Most wins in first 59 games:
·         40-13-6 in 1981-82
·         39-19-1 in 2014-15
·         38-11-10 in 1978-79
·         36-12-11 in 1977-78
·         35-16-8 in 1976-77
·         35-22-2 in 1983-84
·         34-15-10 in 1980-81

Most points in first 59 games:
·         86 in 1978-79
·         86 in 1981-82
·         83 in 1977-78
·         79 in 2014-15
·         78 in 1980-81
·         78 in 1976-77
·         72 in 1983-84 & 1975-76

Home Sweet Home
The Isles are 21-7-0 on Coliseum ice; it's only the fourth time in club history that the Isles have won at least 21 of their first 28 home games (23-3-2 in 1981-82, 21-2-5 in 1977-78, and 21-2-5 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, 6-1-0, 0-3-0, and are 7-2-0 in their last 9.

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.
·         6 streaks of at least 4 games -- First time in the Post-Cup era that the Isles have had at least six winning streaks of at least four games. The Isles had seven separate winning streaks of at least four games in their 1983-84 defense of the Stanley Cup.
·         8 streaks of at least 3 games -- First time in the Post-Cup era that the Isles have had at least eight winning streaks of at least three games. The Isles had nine separate winning streaks of at least three games in their 1983-84 defense of the Stanley Cup.

The Shots:
Isles        15-14-11=40
Nashville  17-8-7=32
The Isles have outshot 26 of their last 30 opponents. Since holding Buffalo to 10 shots on February 8th, the Isles have allowed at least 32 shots in six straight games.
On the season, the Isles have outshot their opponents 1,991-1,649 for a +342 shot differential.

Biggest Differential, Season
·         +342 THIS SEASON
·         +307 in 1976-77
·         +254 in 1986-87
·         +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 2,767 shots this year.

Home and Road
The Islanders are 39-19-1 overall; 21-7-0 at home and 18-12-1 on the road.  
Nashville is 39-13-6 overall; 25-3-1 at home and 14-10-5 on the road. 
The Isles lead the NHL in road wins and are tied with the Predators for most wins overall.

By Division
The Isles are 19-3-0 in Division games and are 20-16-1 in games against other divisions. They are 9-8-1 vs. the Atlantic Division, 5-5-0 vs. Central Division, and 6-3-0 vs. the Pacific Division.
The Isles finished last season 10-16-4 against the Met and 24-21-7 against other Divisions. 

Metropolitan Hockey Club, Inc.
The Isles are 19-3-0 against the Met Division, and they have won 12 of their last 13 division matchups...  They are 11-1-0 at home (outscoring opponents 50-29) and 8-2-0 on the road. The Isles are 7-0 in overtime/shootouts against division foes, going 4-0 at home and 3-0 on the road. 
The Isles' next division game will be on Saturday in Washington.

In the Nets
Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves and improves to 32-12-0 on the season. He is 11-3-4 in his career against the Predators.
Pekka Rinne made 35 saves but falls to 34-8-2 on the season. He is 3-1-1 in his career against the Isles. 

Move over Billy, Ozzy and DiPi
Halak has tied the franchise record with 32 wins in a season.
Player               Wins
Jaroslav Halak  32 in 2014-15
Rick DiPietro     32 in 2006-07
Billy Smith        32 in 1981-82
Chris Osgood   32 in 2001-02

Power Plays
The Islanders were 1-5 on the power play, while Nashville was 0-3. 
The power play is 10-48 in the last 16 games (20.8%) but only 6-32 (18.58%) in last 11.
The penalty kill is in the midst of their best stretch since early January, having killed all 13 penalties in the last five games.
The Isles are 21-9-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 18-10-1 when they do not.  The Isles are 15-14-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 25-4-1 when they do not. 

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 33-6-1 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 6-13-0 when they do not. 

One Goal Games
The Isles are 22-5-1 in games decided by a single goal including 10-5-0 in regulation. They are 5-0 in games decided in overtime and are 7-1 in shootouts.  Five games have been decided by two goals in which the second goal was an empty-netter.  The Isles are 3-2 in those games. 
The club record for 1-goal wins in 23, set in 2007-08 when 23 of Isles' 35 wins were by 1 goal.

First Goal (and Second Goal)
The Isles are 23-12-1 when they score first and are 16-7-0 when they allow the opening goal.  However, the Isles are 13-0-0 when they allow the opening goal but score the second goal.  The Isles have rebounded from 2-0 deficits to win three times this season (New Jersey on December 15th (SO), Pittsburgh on January 16th, and Philadelphia on February 5th)

Second to The One
Jack Capuano is the 2nd winningest coach in Islander history. Capuano is 157-139-40 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 336
3.     Mike Milbury 191
4.     Terry Simpson 187
5.     Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.     Al Arbour 740
2.     Jack Capuano 157
3.     Terry Simpson 81
4.     Peter Laviolette 77
5.     Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
Jaroslav Halak on the record-tying win: "It's nice, obviously, but it will be nice to get some more, and hopefully I can help the guys and they can help me down the stretch to get more."

John Tavares: "We know we have a good hockey team and we know we can beat anyone in this league, and we expect to.  Obviously they have one of the best defensive groups over there …. and certainly a goalie who has been lights-out this year. Obviously we were able to get three in the first and that brings some confidence."

They Tweeted It
@AlexSieger #Isles beat the #Preds 5-2.  Got to say I am impressed.  Way to hustle in the third period.  Hats off to the #HalaknessMonster as well.
@IslesOP Sick game by @grabs40  really been killin it out there since hes been back! #isles #YESYESYES
@p8rlynch "The @NYIslanders are a team that can beat you in many different ways."- @NHLNetwork's Dave Reid #Isles
@espnSteveLevy the @NYIslanders are now tied with the @PredsNHL for the most wins in the @NHL  #CupAtColiseum
@NYIslesfan99 Nick Leddy with a goal and 2 assists ALL against arguably the best goalie in the nhl.. not to mention his incredible defense

The Coach
"Overall, from our goaltender on out it was a solid win over a good hockey club…. I'm sure (Grabovski's) going to be out a while."

The Isles are 7-3-0 in the front-end and 8-2-0 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 five sets.
The next back-to-back set will be Saturday afternoon in Washington and Sunday at home vs. Vancouver (6pm).

Leading Ice Men
Travis Hamonic led all Isles with 22:01 of ice-time; Roman Josi led Nashville in ice-time with 26:12.  Each of the top four Nashville defensemen played more than any Islander.

Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (13-5-0), Travis Hamonic (16-2-1), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) John Tavares (2-5-0), Thomas Hickey (3-0-0), Nick Leddy (0-3-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0), Kyle Okposo (0-1-0), Brian Strait (1-0-0) and Calvin deHaan (1-2-0).

John Tavares led Isles forwards with 20:27 of ice-time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (22-18-1), Kyle Okposo (12-1-0), Ryan Strome (1-0-0), Brock Nelson (1-1-0), Anders Lee (1-0-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0), Casey Cizikas (1-0-0), and Josh Bailey (0-1-0). 

In the Circle
The Islanders won 29 of 67 draws (43%).  John Tavares won 10 of 19 for the Isles; Mike Fisher won 12 of 17 for Nashville. The Isles won only 9 of 24 draws in the first period but won 20 of 43 in the final 40 minutes. The Isles won 4 of 9 draws on the power play but lost all four draws on the penalty kill.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit Nashville 35-30.  Colin McDonald led the Islanders with 6 hits.
There were no fights. The Isles have been involved in 13 fights this season: Martin (8), Hamonic (3), Lee (1), Strome (1) and 10 of the 13 have been against Metropolitan Division opponents.

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 24 blocked shots; Brian Strait led the Isles with 4.

For the Corsi Crowd
The Isles finished with a total Corsi advantage of 68-63. The Corsi stat measures shots attempted, both for and against (including blocks).
Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with a +7 even-strength Corsi rating and was also on-ice for a team-leading 68% of Corsi For events.  Craig Smith (+20) led Nashville.

Head of the Class
Islander Captain John Tavares has 375 career points; he is 75 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.

This Team is Deep!
John Tavares has been held pointless 20 times this season and the Isles are 15-5-0 in those games.  Prior to this season the Isles had won only 40 of the 151 games in which Tavares was scoreless.

All-time Winners
The Islanders improve to 26 games over all-time NHL .500 (1444-1418-451 in 3,313 games).  It's the first time that they have been +26 all-time since December 23, 2003.   
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 311 consecutive regular season NHL games, while Nelson has played 112 consecutive regular season Islander games.

Missing Men
Kyle Okposo, Casey Cizikas and Eric Boulton are on injured reserve.  Lubomir Visnovsky replaced Calvin deHaan in the lineup. Matt Donovan was scratched.
The Isles have lost 215 games this season due to injury/illness.

All-time Islander Leader Board:
John Tavares has:
·         165 goals (13th all-time and 3 behind Ziggy Palffy)
·         210 assists (15th all-time, 39 behind Tomas Jonsson and 49 behind Billy Harris)
·         375 points (13th all-time and 68 behind Billy Harris)
·         409 games played (37th among Islander skaters all-time, 3 behind Wayne Merrick and 14 behind Dave Langevin)
Kyle Okposo has:
·         113 goals (24th all-time, 3 behind Ray Ferraro and 5 behind Steve Thomas, Matt Moulson and Mark Parrish)
·         185 assists (18th all-time, 8 behind Pierre Turgeon and 9 behind Frans Nielsen)
·         298 points (18th all-time, 33 behind Ziggy Palffy and 35 behind Tomas Jonsson)
·         436 games played (32nd among Islander skaters all-time, 14 behind Scott Lachance and 17 behind Josh Bailey)
Frans Nielsen has:
·         96 goals (27th all-time and 4 behind Trent Hunter)
·         194 assists (16th all-time and 16 behind John Tavares)
·         290 points (tied-21st all-time with Alexei Yashin and 2 behind Duane Sutter)
·         506 games played (24th among Islander skaters all-time, 3 behind Rich Pilon and 4 behind Mick Vukota)
Michael Grabner has:
·         88 goals (36th all-time and 4 behind Travis Green)
Josh Bailey has:
·         453 games played (30th among Islander skaters and 6 behind Trent Hunter)

Season Series Stats
The Isles lead the season series 1 game to 0 (and 2 points to 0).
The Isles are 5-1-1 in their last seven home games against the Predators, including an overtime win on October 15, 2002 with current Predator coach Peter Laviolette behind the Islander bench.
The Predators were the final opponent that the Isles had not faced this season; the Isles will return the visit to Nashville on March 5th.

It Happened at the Coliseum … on FEBRUARY 19th
8 years ago tonight (2007) – Mike Sillinger scored with 29 seconds to play to break a 5-5 tie as the Islanders rallied for a 6-5  President's Day matinee victory over Pittsburgh before a near-sellout crowd, and in the process, ended a 16-game (14-0-2) Penguins point streak.
Ryan Malone scored in the first minute of each period for the Penguins while Mark Recchi scored Pittsburgh's other two goals (and added three assists). The Penguins let 1-0 and 3-1 leads get away in this back-and-forth contest.  It was the second hat trick of the season for Malone against the Isles. Sidney Crosby added four assists.
Chris Simon had a pair of goals for the Isles, including the tying goal early in the third period.  It was the 13th (and final) 2-goal game for Simon, and his only one in an Islander uniform.
Randy Robitaille added three assists as the Isles improved to 29-23-8 on the season and 7-2-4 since the All-Star break. Marc-Andre Bergeron, in his Islander debut, added two assists.
The winning goal came just seconds after Rick DiPietro had stopped a chance from Mark Recchi that would have given him a hat trick.  Trent Hunter then started a rush that ended with Sillinger reaching the 20-goal mark on the season.
"When you outscore (Pittsburgh), you know you're doing something right", Sillinger told the NY Times' Dave Caldwell. 
Also on this date: (2011) – Al Montoya became the only goalie in Islander history to record a shutout in his first start with the team as the Isles blanked Los Angeles 3-0. Frans Nielsen scored a shorthanded goal and Matt Moulson scored twice (against his brother-in-law Jonathan Quick) for the Isles.
All-time, the Isles have played nine February 19th games at the Coliseum and have compiled a 7-2-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
It Happened at the Coliseum … on FEBRUARY 20th
33 years ago FRIDAY (1982) - John Tonelli's goal with 47 seconds to play broke a 2-2 tie, and Chico Resch's heart, as the Isles defeated their former goaltender and the Colorado Rockies, 3-2 at the Coliseum to establish an NHL record with a fifteenth straight win.
The win broke a record established by the Boston Bruins in the 1929-30 season.
Don Lever had given Colorado a 1-0 lead but goals by Bryan Trottier and Brent Sutter 50 seconds apart gave the Isles a 2-1 advantage after one period.  Lever tied the game just 1:46 into the second period and the score remained just that for the next 37 ½ minutes.
The NHL record winning streak is now 17 games, held by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins also won 15 straight games in the 2012-13 season. The Penguins' streaks, however, included overtime (and in 2013, shootout)  wins, leaving the Islanders as the only NHL team to EVER be better than their opponents after 60 minutes in fifteen straight games.
Resch was making his first appearance at the Coliseum after being traded away 11 months earlier.  After the game, he described the winning goal, which appeared in detail in Parton Keese's story in the NY Times:
''Trots came up center ice,'' Resch said. ''I don't trust Trots. I saw Bossy over at the right, but I thought Trots would fake a pass and drive up the middle.
''Instead, he passed it to Tonelli at his left. I couldn't see Tonelli too well, but I saw his stick go back. That's when I decided to cheat a little and protect the corners. At the last second, I saw it coming straight and true, and I jumped back and tried to draw my legs together.
''As Tonelli said to me later, 'Chico, you would have stopped that shot ninety-nine times out of a hundred, but this time it went right through the V.' I was embarrassed because the guys were so emotional about stopping the Islanders' streak.''
Tonelli said that he had not given much thought to the record until last Thursday night in Philadelphia when the Islanders beat the Flyers for their 14th straight victory, tying the mark.

Tonelli added: ''That meant a lot to me, the way we came back in their building, which is so tough for us. For the first time, I was really excited about the streak, though I do feel sorry for Chico, an old friend. He played so well.''
Also on February 20: (1992) – Pierre Turgeon recorded a hat trick and the Isles' power play dominated, scoring four times, as the Isles blasted the Rangers 6-2.
All-time, the Isles have played six February 20th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 4-2-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
On The Farm
The Sound Tigers are 21-23-5-1 heading into a pair of games this weekend. Bridgeport visits Hershey on Saturday and then hosts Norfolk on Sunday.

Up Next
[MSG+ (Isles Pre-game at 12:00), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
The Islanders and Capitals meet for the final time in the regular season on Saturday afternoon in the Nation's Capital. 

The home team has won all three games of this year's series, but both Islander Coliseum wins were in overtime (on goals by John Tavares and Johnny Boychuk).

Each team has had success on the power play in the season series, with the Isles converting on 4-of-12 tries and Washington doing so on 3-of-8.

This is the final road game of February; the Isles have a four-game homestand to close the month.

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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