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The Skinny: Carolina 6, Isles 3 (Carolina wins series 4-1)

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Eastern Conference Round 1, Game 5 Carolina 6, Isles 3 Carolina Wins Series 4-1 School is out. Jack D...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Skinny on Isles Magic Numbers and Clinching Scenarios (Including games of 3/31) - Earliest clinch date now Saturday

The Isles magic number to clinch a playoff spot remained six as both Boston and Ottawa won on Tuesday.

In order to clinch a playoff spot, the Isles need to finish ahead of one of these five teams: Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit, Boston or Ottawa.

Tuesday's scores of note:
Boston beat Florida 3-2
Ottawa beat Detroit 2-1 in a shootout
Washington beat Carolina 4-2
  • Isles have 95 points, 38 regulation/overtime wins (ROW) & 5 games to play. The Isles were idle Tuesday. They can finish with a maximum of 105 points.
  • Pittsburgh has 95 points, 38 ROW and 6 games to play. Pens were idle Tuesday. They can finish with a maximum of 107 points.
  • Washington has 94 points, 38 ROW and 5 games to play. Caps beat Carolina Tuesday. They can finish with a maximum of 104 points.
  • Detroit has 93 points, 37 ROW and 6 games to play after their shootout loss vs. Ottawa. They can finish with a maximum of 105 points.
  • Boston has 91 points, 36 ROW and 5 games to play after their win vs. Florida.  They can finish with a maximum of 101 points.
  • Ottawa has 88 points, 32 ROW and 6 games to play after their SO win vs. Detroit.  They can finish with a maximum of 100 points.
  • Florida has 85 points, 27 ROW and 5 games to play after their loss to Boston.  They can finish with a maximum of 95 points but cannot catch the Isles in ROWs so the Isles are now guaranteed to finish ahead of the Panthers.
Isles magic numbers are:
  • 13 vs. Pittsburgh
  • 11 vs. Detroit
  • 10 vs. Washington
  • 7 vs. Boston
  • 6 vs. Ottawa
  • 0 vs. Florida  (because Isles will win ROW tie-breaker)
Pittsburgh hosts Philadelphia Wednesday.

The Islanders are in Columbus, Boston is in Detroit, Ottawa hosts Tampa Bay and Washington is in Montreal on Thursday.

None of these teams play Friday, but they all play Saturday:  Isles host Buffalo, Pittsburgh is at Columbus, Washington is at Ottawa, Detroit is at Minnesota and Boston hosts Toronto.

Clinching Scenarios for Saturday:
Isles win twice (Thursday/Saturday) and Ottawa does not win twice.
Isles win twice and Boston earns one point or less in their two games
Isles get three points and Ottawa earns two points or less in their two games
Isles get three points and Boston loses twice in regulation
Isles get two points (one ROW) and Ottawa loses twice in regulation
Isles gets two points (no ROW) and Ottawa earns one point or less in their two games
Isles get one point and Ottawa loses twice in regulation

The Isles still have home-ice in their control -- here's how -- if the Isles win their last 5- all in regulation, they will finish with 105 points and 43 ROW. Since one of those five games is against Pittsburgh, the best the Penguins could do is 105 points and 43 ROW but the Isles have already won season series with Pittsburgh, and that is the next tie-breaker! 

(If the Isles were to tie Washington in points and ROW, they would finish behind the Caps as Washington won the season series 6 points to 5,  Washington also holds the same-tiebreaker over Pittsburgh.  If all three teams were to tie, the Caps would finish ahead of the Isles, who would finish ahead of Pittsburgh.)

It Happened at the Coliseum … on MARCH 31st

25 years ago tonight (1990) – In retrospect, maybe this wasn’t the best thing that happened to the Islanders. Some could argue that it was even the worst.

Entering play on the final Saturday of the most up-and-down season in Islander history, the Islanders trailed the 4th place Penguins by one point for the final playoff spot. 
Patrick Division
NY Rangers
New Jersey
NY Islanders

Pittsburgh had already guaranteed that they would finish with more wins than the Islanders , so the Isles had only one shot – beat Philadelphia at home and have the Penguins lose to Buffalo.

Brent Sutter did what he could scoring twice for the Isles, but the Flyers scored in the first minute of both the first period and second period so the game was tied 2-2.  Jari Gronstrand scored the 8th (and final) goal of his NHL career  at the 3:20 mark of the second period and when David Volek scored 64 seconds later, the Islanders had some breathing room.  Pat LaFontaine and Don Maloney would turn the game into a rout with third period goals and the Isles had a 6-2 win.

Then it was up to the Sabres.  With the Coliseum crowd watching on the (then-new) center ice scoreboard, the Penguins, with Mario Lemieux back in the lineup after missing 21 games with a herniated disc, and Buffalo headed into overtime.  Sabre defenseman Uwe Krupp, who would become an Islander in a trade just 19 months later, scored the overtime goal that knocked the Penguins out of, and the Islanders into, the playoffs.

Final Standings
Patrick Division
NY Rangers
New Jersey
NY Islanders

The Isles, who managed to make the playoffs despite a 1-14-5 stretch, would meet the first place Rangers in the playoffs.  Al Arbour understood that what the Isles had accomplished was a bit remarkable and a bit unbelievable, telling Newsday’s Mark Herrmann: “The other fellows set the examples. It's up to these fellows to carry the torch through…The Good Lord was watching over us; we got a lot of help, and we'll accept it graciously."

It certainly was a longshot.  So long that Mark needed an “expert” to put it in perspective:
“The Islanders made the playoffs because a series of five games involving the Islanders, Penguins and Flyers worked out precisely the right way for them. It was a 241-2 shot, according to Eric Hornick, an actuary who spends his spare time as an Islanders' historian / statistician for SportsChannel and the team publication. He figured the odds based strictly on possible outcomes, disregarding factors such as home-ice advantage and winning streaks."

The Isles would overcome similar odds 17 years later when they rallied to sneak into the dance on the season’s final day.

The Isles would fall to the Blueshirts in the first round. But the longer lasting issue was that by qualifying for the playoffs, it pushed the Islanders to the 6th spot in the 1990 Entry Draft.  What’s the difference in one spot?  How about Jaromir Jagr vs. Scott Scissons?

Owen Nolan
Petr Nedved
Keith Primeau
Mike Ricci
Jaromir Jagr
NY Islanders
Scott Scissons

Of course that means the Isles also passed up Daryl Sydor and Derian Hatcher.  The two defensemen were picked 7th and 8th and each played over 1,000 NHL games.

Also on this date: (1988) – In the final regular season home game of Denis Potvin’s career, the Isles moved close to clinching first place in the Patrick Division with a 7-3 win over Washington.  The Isles announced that Potvin would become the first Islander in the team’s “Hall of Fame”; his jersey would be retired weeks before Mike Bossy’s was, in 1991.  Potvin also received NHL milestone awards from John Ziegler honoring him for 1000 NHL games and 1000 NHL points.

Here is some video from this game --including game action and a brief look at the post-game ceremony:

Also on this date: (1979) - Chico Resch blanked the Buffalo Sabres 2-0.  Bob Nystrom and Bob Bourne scored for the Isles, who remained 2 points behind the Canadiens for first place overall.

Here's NewsCenter 4's highlights, with Larry Sacknoff:

All-time, the Isles have played nine March 31st games at the Coliseum and finish with a 5-4-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

Monday, March 30, 2015

It Happened at the Coliseum … on MARCH 30th

22 years ago tonight (1993) – Pierre Turgeon broke a 1-1 tie midway through the third period as the Islanders defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 and moved into 4th place (the final playoff spot) in the Patrick Division.

Kevin Dineen and Benoit Hogue had traded first period goals, setting the stage for Turgeon’s 49th goal of the season.  Turgeon banked his power play game winner off the skate of Flyers goalie Dominic Roussel, and admitted to the NY Times’ Joe Lapointe: “I like to play pool once in a while.”  Steve Thomas noted: “That’s why we call him Sneaky Pete.  He’s a heck of a pool player.”

Heck of a hockey player too.

The win, the Isles’ 7th in nine games with the Flyers that season, gave the Isles 78 points, and a one point lead over the Rangers. 

Patrick Division W-L-T Pts
Pittsburgh 50-21-6 106
Washington 39-30-7 85
New Jersey 38-32-6 82
NY Islanders 36-33-6 78
NY Rangers 33-31-11 77
Philadelphia 28-36-11 67

Both the Isles and Rangers had nine games to play, but it was the first of those games that would help shape the season—the Good Friday Islander overtime win three nights later on Pierre Turgeon’s 50th goal of the season.

The Isles would eventually win this banner -- it would hang in the Coliseum for only one season.

Click here for the story as to why the banner no longer hangs at the Coliseum

Here's the overtime from the Isles-Rangers game three nights later from the Garden.  I worked with Jiggs/Eddie that night, but all I could find is the Ranger call with Sam and JD.

Also on this date: (1991) – Tom Fitzgerald and Hubie McDonough each scored twice as the Isles ended the home campaign with a 5-3 win over Boston.  It would have been hard to believe at the time, but it was Pat LaFontaine’s final Coliseum tilt as an Islander.

All-time, the Isles have played four March 30th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 2-2-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Skinny on Isles Clinching Scenarios

The Isles magic number  to clinch a playoff spot was reduced to 6 with their win over Detroit and Ottawa's loss to Florida.

In order to clinch a playoff spot, the Isles need to finish ahead of at least two of these three teams: Boston, Ottawa and Florida  (they would also clinch a spot if they finish ahead of Washington).

  • Isles have 95 points, 38 regulation/overtime wins (ROW)
  • Boston has 89 points, 35 ROWs and 6 games to play.  They can finish with a maximum of 101 points.
  • Ottawa has 86 points, 32 ROWs and 7 games to play.  They can finish with a maximum of 100 points.
  • Florida has 85 points, 27 ROWs and 6 games to play.  They can finish with a maximum of 97 points.
Isles magic numbers are:
  • 7 vs. Boston
  • 6 vs. Ottawa
  • 2 vs. Florida  (because Isles will win ROW tie-breaker)
So, any Islander win or Florida regulation loss will mean the Isles will finish ahead of the Cats.

Florida is at Boston, and Ottawa is at Detroit on Tuesday.
Boston is in Detroit, Ottawa hosts Tampa Bay and Florida hosts Carolina on Thursday.

The Isles, who are idle until the play Thursday in  Columbus, can clinch a playoff spot on Thursday IFFFFFFF:
  • The Isles win
  • AND Ottawa gets no more than 1 point in their games Tuesday/Thursday  (This would assure Isles win tie-breaker)
  • The Isles lose in OT/SO
  • AND Ottawa loses twice in regulation (This would assure Isles win tie-breaker)
  • AND Florida does not beat both Boston and Carolina
If Ottawa wins either of their next two games, the Isles can not clinch until at least Saturday.  The Isles can not clinch a spot over Boston until at least Saturday.

Some other numbers -- the Isles' magic number to finish ahead of Washington is 10 points.  The Isles' magic number to finish ahead of Pittsburgh is 13 points.  

The Isles once again, thanks to San Jose forcing a shootout,  have home-ice in their control -- here's how -- if the Isles win their last 5- all in regulation, they will finish with 105 points and 43 ROW. Since one of those 5 is against Pittsburgh, the best the Penguins could do is 105 points and 43 ROW but the Isles have already won season series with Pittsburgh, and that is the next tie-breaker!

The Skinny: Isles 5, Detroit 4

"The Skinny"  

By Eric Hornick
Game 77
Isles 5, Detroit 4
Cal Clutterbuck's shorthanded goal proved to be the winner as the Isles erased an early 2-0 deficit in a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings, before yet another sellout crowd of 16,170 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Isles connected for 3 power play goals; it's the first time this season that they have scored three power play goals and the first time since January 4th that they have scored multiple power play goals.
Pittsburgh beat San Jose 3-2 (shootout) to remain ahead of the Isles in the battle for second place in the Metropolitan Division; the teams each have 95 points but the Penguins have a game in hand.  Washington beat the Rangers 5-2; the Caps remain three points behind the Isles but Washington also has a game in hand.
The Scoring:
00:39    DET      Tomas Tatar (28) ASST: Danny DeKeyser (26)    1 - 0 DET         
01:46    DET      Drew Miller (5) ASST: Tomas Jurco (15), Luke Glendening (5)      2 - 0 DET         
04:01    NYI       PPG - Brock Nelson (19) ASST: Lubomir Visnovsky (12), Travis Hamonic (26) 2 - 1 DET  
05:38    NYI       Ryan Strome (16) ASST: John Tavares (41)         2 - 2 Tie           
09:02    NYI       PPG - Kyle Okposo (16) ASST: John Tavares (42), Nick Leddy (20)         3 - 2 NYI          
09:54    DET      Niklas Kronwall (9) ASST: Pavel Datsyuk (36)     3 - 3 Tie           
00:16    NYI       PPG - Frans Nielsen (14) ASST: John Tavares (43), Nick Leddy (21)         4 - 3 NYI          
03:57    NYI       SHG - Cal Clutterbuck (7) ASST: NONE  5 - 3 NYI          
10:20    DET      PPG - Pavel Datsyuk (24) ASST: Tomas Tatar (26), Marek Zidlicky (25)    5 - 4 NYI          
The Skinny
The Isles improve to 4-7-3 in their last 14 games but end March with a sub-NHL .500 record (4-6-3)… Pavel Datsyuk's power play goal ended the Isles franchise record streak of 12 games without allowing a power play goal; it was the only power play goal the Isles allowed in March…The Isles had allowed only two goals in the first two minutes of a game all season (Brandon Sutter in Pitt and PK Subban in Montreal) before allowing 2 in first 1:46 today…Each team scored 3 first period goals; the first time that has happened in an Isles game since April 7, 2011 in Philadelphia…The Isles scored 3 PP goals in a game for the first time this season; they also scored 3 PP goals and a SH goal in the same game for the first time since October 30, 1997 vs. the Rangers…John Tavares matched a career high with three assists; he ended the night two points behind Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead…The Isles are 9-0-0 when scoring a SH goal; only Winnipeg (10) has scored more SH goals this season…Tomas Tatar's goal was his 100th NHL point…The Isles have won 56 of their 57 games when scoring 5 or more goals (56-1-0)…Brock Nelson's PP goal was his 10th, joining John Tavares (12) in double-digit PP goals; the last Isles teammates with 10+ power play goals were Jason Blake (14) and Mike Sillinger (11) in 2006-07...Matt Martin had 4 hits, giving him an NHL -record 377 on the season and breaking his own record of 374...Ryan Strome has a point in three straight games…The Isles have now scored 72 first period goals; only the Rangers (73) have more.

Fort Never Lose?
The win ended a 7 game home winless streak at the Coliseum (0-6-1).  The Isles have had only three longer home winless streaks in Coliseum history:
·         9 games in 1998-99
·         8 games in 1999-00
·         8 games in 2014-15

The Big 3
The Isles are 37-17-5 in the 59 games that they have had Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic all in the lineup.  They are 8-10-0 in the 18 games that one or two have been missing.
All three now have at least 30 points; it's the first time that the Isles have had three defensemen with at least 30 points since Adrian Aucoin, Kenny Jonsson and Roman Hamrlik did so in 2001-02. 

Most Times Scoring the First Goal of a Game as a Rookie (last 25 seasons)
1.     Alex Ovechkin – 12 (2005-06)
2.     Teemu Selanne – 10 (1992-93)
3.     Anders Lee - 9 (2014-15)
       Mike Hoffman -9 (2014-15)

Most Shutouts in a Season by an Islander
7 – Chico Resch (1975-76)
5- Jaroslav Halak (2014-15), Rick DiPietro (2006-07 and 2003-04), Tommy Salo (1998-99 and 1996-97), and Ron Hextall (1993-94),

Most Goals by an Islander in the 2000's
·         Jason Blake -40 (2006-07)
·         Matt Moulson-36 (2011-12)
·         Miroslav Satan -35 (2005-06)
·         Mariusz Czerkawski-35 (1999-2000)
·         Michael Grabner-34 (2010-11)
·         John Tavares-34 (2014-15)

It's Magic
The Isles' magic number falls to 6 (and it is once again vs. Ottawa).  Any combination of points won by the Islanders and/or lost by Ottawa will clinch a playoff spot for the Isles.  The Isles magic number is 7 vs. Boston and is 2 vs. Florida.  (The Isles need to eliminate 2 of the three of them to clinch a playoff spot.)

Tired vs. Rested
This was the 26th time this season that the Isles, their opponent, or both had played the day before.  The Isles are 16-3-1 against an opponent playing on back-to-back days but are 1-5-0 when the Isles are playing on the back-end of back-to-backs against a rested opponent.
·         The Isles are 8-1-0 when both teams played the night before. This will happen for the final time this season on April 11th vs Columbus.
·         The Isles are 8-2-1 when they are rested and their opponents are not. This will happen for the final time this season on April 4th vs Buffalo
·         The Isles are 1-5-0 when their opponents are rested and the Isles are not. This will not happen again this season.

Metropolitan Division Standings (Top 4)
·         NY Rangers  47-21-7=101 points / 75 games (43 ROW)  Lost to Washington 5-2.
·         Pittsburgh     42-23-11=95 points / 76 games (38 ROW)  Beat San Jose 3-2 (SO)
·         ISLES           45-27-5=95 points / 77 games (38 ROW)  Beat Detroit 5-4.
·         Washington  41-25-10=92 points / 76 games (37 ROW)  Beat NY Rangers 5-2.

Remaining Schedule:
·         NY Rangers: Tuesday at Winnipeg, Thursday at Minnesota, Saturday vs. New Jersey, 4/6 vs Columbus, 4/7 at New Jersey, 4/9 vs. Ottawa, 4/11 at Washington
·         ISLES: Thursday at Columbus, Saturday vs. Buffalo, 4/7 at Philadelphia, 4/10 at Pittsburgh, 4/11 vs. Columbus
·         Pittsburgh: Wednesday vs. Philadelphia, Saturday at Columbus, Sunday at Philadelphia, 4/7 at Ottawa, 4/10 vs. ISLES, 4/11 at Buffalo
·         Washington: Tuesday vs. Carolina, Thursday at Montreal, Saturday at Ottawa, Sunday at Detroit, 4/8 vs. Boston, 4/11 at NY Rangers

Year of the Fan:
The Isles have sold-out 25 of their 39 home dates this season, including each of the last eight dates. The 25 sellouts are the most for the Isles since the 1980s.  The Isles have drawn at least 15,000 fans 30 times this season.

What a Season:
The Isles are 45-27-5 thru 77 games, representing their most wins since 1983-84 (50). 
The Isles have won more than 45 games only six times in their history:
·         1981-82           54
·         1978-79           51
·         1983-84           50
·         1980-81           48
·         1977-78           48
·         1976-77           47
·         2014-15           45
Home Sweet Home
The Isles are 24-14-1 on Coliseum ice, representing their most home wins since 2003-04 (when they finished 25-11-4-1).

Road Warriors
The Isles are 21-13-4 on the road and have earned at least a point in 8 of their last 9 (5-1-3). 

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, 1-4-0, 6-1-0, and 4-2-3 before going 2-6-1 in their last nine 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.
·         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        10-12-5=27 
Detroit      9-11-5=25
The Isles have outshot 41 of their last 48 opponents and 58 of their 77 opponents this season. The 58 times outshooting their opponent is the highest total in the NHL this season.
On the season, the Isles have outshot their opponents 2,589 - 2,162 for a +427 shot differential.  

Biggest Differential, Season
·         +427 THIS SEASON
·         +307 in 1976-77
·         +254 in 1986-87
·         +152 in 1975-76

Most Shots on Goal, Season
·         2616  1992-93 (84 games)
·         2589   2014-15
·         2537   2013-14
·         2511   1993-94 (84 games)
The Isles need just 28 shots on goal to establish a new franchise record.

Home and Road
The Islanders are 45-27-5 overall; 24-14-1 at home and 21-13-4 on the road.  The Isles have at least 21 wins both at home and on the road for the first time since the 2001-02 season, when they won 21 at home and 21 on the road.
Detroit is 40-23-12 overall, 21-8-8 at home and 19-15-4 on the road. 

By Division
The Isles are 20-5-1 in Division games and are 25-22-4 in games against other divisions. They are 11-10-2 vs. the Atlantic Division, 6-6-2 vs. Central Division, and 8-6-0 vs. the Pacific Division.  With this win, the Isles are assured of finishing at NHL-.500 or better against all four divisions.
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 20-5-1 against the Met Division, and are 13-3-1 in their last 17 division matchups.  They are 11-3-0 at home (outscoring opponents 54-36) and 9-2-1 on the road. The Isles are 7-1 in overtime/shootouts against division foes, going 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road. 
The Isles' next division game will be on April 2nd in Columbus.  Four of the Isles' last five games are against division foes.

In the Nets
Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves and improves to 36-16-2 on the season.  He is 6-4-1 in his career against Detroit.
Petr Mrazek was pulled after allowing the first 4 goals, making just 7 saves.  However, Jimmy Howard, who allowed 1 goal on 16 shots gets saddled with the loss (21-13-10 on the season).  Howard is 1-3-1 in his career against the Isles. 

Power Plays
The Islanders were 3-4 on the power play, while Detroit was 1-3. The Isles also scored their 9th SH goal of the season, and improved to 9-0-0 in games in which they have scored shorthanded.
The power play is 4-10 (40%) in the last three games. 
The penalty kill has killed 50 of 55 (90.9%) in the last 22 games; the Isles allowed two goals to Vancouver on February 22nd, two goals to Carolina on February 28th  and one goal to Detroit on March 29th but blanked their other 20 opponents. The Isles have killed 30 of the last 31 opponent power plays; in their last nine road games, the Isles have killed all 19 opponent power plays.
The Isles are 25-11-1 when they score at least one power play goal and 20-16-4 when they do not.  The Isles are 16-16-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 29-11-5 when they do not. 

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 38-7-2 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 7-20-3 when they do not. 

One Goal Games
The Isles are 26-9-5 in games decided by a single goal including 13-9-0 in regulation. They are 6-1 in games decided in overtime and are 7-4 in shootouts.  Six games have been decided by two goals in which the second goal was an empty-netter.  The Isles are 3-3 in those games. 
The 26 wins are a new franchise record – in 2007-08, 23 of Isles' 35 wins were by 1 goal.

First Goal (and Second Goal)
The Isles are 27-15-4 when they score first and are 18-12-1 when they allow the opening goal.   However, the Isles are 13-1-1 when they allow the opening goal but score the second goal.  The Isles have rebounded from 2-0 deficits to win five times this season (New Jersey on December 15th (SO), Pittsburgh on January 16th, Philadelphia on February 5th, Toronto on March 9th and Detroit on March 29th)

Second to The One
Jack Capuano is the 2nd winningest coach in Islander history. Capuano is 163-147-44 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 354
3.     Mike Milbury 191
4.     Terry Simpson 187
5.     Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.     Al Arbour 740
2.     Jack Capuano 163
3.     Terry Simpson 81
4.     Peter Laviolette 77
5.     Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
John Tavares on the early deficit: "We had 58 minutes to go. It wasn't the way we wanted to start, but credit to our team for digging deep and staying with it."
Kyle Okposo: "We had a spell there where we definitely weren't playing our best and weren't able to pull out wins, so hopefully we will be a stronger club for it moving forward."

They Tweeted It
@Riz2525Not gonna lie, I was very nervous, but the #isles held it together and got a big win... #OnToTheNext
Joejets86 Finally we won on home ice #Isles #YesYesYes
@Mgern26 Last time going to the coli for a regular season game want to cry #isles #OldBarn
@Smitty329 #isleswin on my birthday!!!!! #isles #329day

The Coach
"This team has been resilient all year…not the start we wanted, a couple of fluky goals, but …special teams came up big for us."

The Isles are 9-5-1 in the front-end and 9-6-0 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.  The Isles have swept 5 sets of back-to-backs, are 1-1-0 in eight sets, are 0-1-1 in one set, and have been swept once.
The Isles' final back-to-back will be in games 81 and 82, on April 10-11 (at Pittsburgh, vs Columbus).

Leading Ice Men
Travis Hamonic led all Isles with 24:40 of ice-time. Niklas Kronwall led Detroit in ice-time with 25:28.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (13-5-1), Travis Hamonic (21-7-2), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) John Tavares (2-6-1), Thomas Hickey (4-0-0), Nick Leddy (0-5-1), 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 19:29. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (27-25-5), 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 (1-2-0). 

In the Circle
The Islanders won 31 of 55 draws (56%).  Frans Nielsen won 15 of 20 for the Isles while Luke Glendenning won 7 of 13 for Detroit.  After winning 23 of 45 in the first two periods, the Isles won 8 of 10 in the third period. The Isles won 3 of 7 on the power play and 5 of 9 on the penalty kill.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles were out-hit 20-18.  Matt Martin and Brock Nelson led the Isles with four hits each.
Matt Martin leads the NHL with an NHL-record (since 2005) 377 hits while Cal Clutterbuck is 2nd with 323.

Most hits, season:
1      Matt Martin, NYI 377 in 2014-15           
2.     Matt Martin, NYI 374 in 2011-12
3.     Matt Martin, NYI 359 in 2013-14
4.     Cal Clutterbuck, Min 356 in 2009-10

There were no fights in the game. The Isles have been involved in 14 fights this season: Martin (9), Hamonic (3), Lee (1), Strome (1) and 11 of the 14 have been against Metropolitan Division opponents.

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 17 blocked shots; Brian Strait and Josh Bailey led the way with 3 each.

For the Corsi Crowd
The Isles finished with a total Corsi advantage of 53-51. The Corsi stat measures shots attempted, both for and against (including blocks).  Detroit had only one attempt (and 0 shots on goal) in the first 10 minutes of the third period.
Brock Nelson led the Isles with a +8 even-strength Corsi rating; Nelson was also on-ice for a team-leading 70% of Corsi For events.  Tomas Tatar led Detroit with a +9 rating.

Head of the Class
Islander Captain John Tavares has 392 career points; he is 83 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 28 times this season and the Isles are 15-12-1 in those games.  Prior to this season the Isles were 40-89-22 in the 151 games in which Tavares was scoreless. (Thanks hockey-reference.com)

All-time Winners
The Islanders improve to 24 games over all-time NHL .500 (1450-1426-455 in 3,331 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.

Nikolay Kulemin and Brock Nelson are the Islanders' reigning ironmen.  Kulemin has played 145 consecutive games (68 for Toronto and 77 for the Isles) while Nelson has played 130 consecutive Islander games. John Tavares is the only other Islander to have played every game this season. 

Missing Men
Mikhail Grabovski is on injured reserve. Calvin deHaan, Matt Donovan, Michael Grabner, Colin McDonald and Eric Boulton were scratched.
The Isles have lost 266 games this season due to injury/illness.

All-time Islander Leader Board:
John Tavares has:
·         170 goals (12th all-time and 14 behind Billy Harris)
·         222 assists (15th all-time, 27 behind Tomas Jonsson and 37 behind Billy Harris)
·         392 points (13th all-time and 51 behind Billy Harris)
·         427 games played (33rd among Islander skaters all-time, and 18 behind Kyle Okposo)
Kyle Okposo has:
·         115 goals (24th all-time, 1 behind Ray Ferraro and 3 behind Steve Thomas, Matt Moulson and Mark Parrish)
·         186 assists (18th all-time, 7 behind Pierre Turgeon and 10 behind Frans Nielsen)
·         301 points (18th all-time, 30 behind Ziggy Palffy and 32 behind Tomas Jonsson)
·         445 games played (32nd among Islander skaters all-time, 5 behind Scott Lachance and 14 behind Trent Hunter)
Frans Nielsen has:
·         99 goals (tied-28th all-time with Trent Hunter and 2 behind Anders Kallur)
·         197 assists (16th all-time and 25 behind John Tavares)
·         296 points (19th all-time and 5 behind Kyle Okposo)
·         523 games played (21st among Islander skaters all-time, 7 behind Pat LaFontaine and 9 behind Tomas Jonsson)
 Josh Bailey has:
·         134 assists (32nd all-time, 4 behind Greg Gilbert, 5 behind Mark Streit, and 6 behind Steve Thomas)
·         215 points (35th all-time, 4 behind Mikko Makela and 8 behind Matt Moulson)
·         471 games played (28th among Islander skaters and 5 behind Gerry Hart)
Michael Grabner has:
·         89 goals (36th all-time, 3  behind Travis Green and 4 behind Garry Howatt & Greg Gilbert)

Season Series Stats
The Isles win the season series 2 games to 1 (and 4 points to 2). 
The Isles have won four of the last five Coliseum match-ups between the teams and are 4-1-3 in their last 8 on Long Island against the Red Wings.
Overall, the Isles are 9-2-1 in their last 12 games vs. Detroit.

It Happened at the Coliseum … on MARCH 29th
18 years ago today (1997) – Zigmund Palffy had a hat trick and added an assist while Robert Reichel added four helpers as the Islanders pounded the Bruins 8-2 to complete a sweep of a home-and-home series with Boston.
Palffy's goals gave him 5 goals in the back-to-back set as the Isles improved to 4-0-1 in five games since acquiring Reichel from Calgary.
The game was so one-sided that Palffy, Reichel and goaltender Tommy Salo were given the night off, as the Bruins suffered their sixth straight loss.
The Isles had caught lightning in a bottle with the Palffy/Reichel/Bryan Smolinski line.  As Jeff Williams noted in Newsday:
Since Reichel joined the team in a trade with the Flames March 18 and was put on a line with Palffy and Smolinski, the Islanders are unbeaten in five games (4-0-1). Reichel has three goals and nine assists during that span. Palffy has seven goals and four assists. Smolinski has three goals and five assists. That's 31 points for the line in five games.
"Our team is winning, our line is playing great. It's nice to see, you know." said Palffy.
Reichel had nine points in the home-and-home series; no Islander would have consecutive four point games in consecutive games again until John Tavares did it in October 2011.
The win moved the Isles (28-36-11) within 2 points of the final playoff spot, with 7 games to play. However, the Isles would win only once more, and miss the playoffs by seven points.
Also on this date: (2012) - Josh Bailey scored two goals and added three assists as the Islanders completed a sweep of the home-and-home series with Pittsburgh, defeating the Penguins 5-3.  Bailey became the first Islander since Niklas Andersson (12/10/96 vs. Phoenix) to record five points in a game at the Coliseum.
All-time, the Isles have played twelve March 29th games at the Coliseum and have compiled a 7-3-2 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

On The Farm
The Sound Tigers are 25-35-6-1, following a 4-1 win in Binghamton on Saturday and a 4-3 loss to Hershey on Sunday.  Ryan Pulock scored power play goals in both games; 12 of his 15 goals have come on the power play.

Up Next
[MSG+ (Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
The Isles have only five games remaining in the season and two of them are against the Columbus Blue Jackets.  The Isles have scored 11 goals this season in two wins (5-2 and 6-3) over the Blue Jackets.
However, Columbus, who will play on Tuesday before hosting the Isles Thursday, has been red-hot, winning their last six games.

Thanks so much to all those who have participated in our shirt sale based on the It Happened at the Coliseum theme.  We have now raised over $25,000 for Make-A-Wish® Metro NY.  If you would like to order, please visit bit.ly/IHATC.   For more about the project, see here: http://islanders.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=759550

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