By Eric Hornick
Isles 3, Buffalo 0
The Islanders got goals from three different players and a 21-save shutout from Jaroslav Halak as they moved within 2 points of clinching a playoff spot with a 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres, before yet another sellout crowd of 16,170 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Washington lost to Ottawa 4-3 in OT while Pittsburgh lost 5-3 to Columbus. The Isles regain 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of Washington and three points ahead of Pittsburgh. The Penguins have four games to play while the Isles and Caps each have three.
The Isles could clinch a playoff spot on Sunday, if Ottawa were to lose in regulation to Toronto.
06:37 NYI PPG - Kyle Okposo (17) ASST: John Tavares (45), Frans Nielsen (29) 1 - 0 NYI
09:32 NYI Brock Nelson (20) ASST: NONE 2 - 0 NYI
13:13 NYI Nikolay Kulemin (14) ASST: Travis Hamonic (28), Lubomir Visnovsky (13) 3 - 0 NYI
The Isles improve to 5-7-4 in their last 16 games… John Tavares had one point, giving him six points in the last three games; he ended the night one point behind Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead…Jaro Halak is the first Islander goalie in 39 years with at least six shutouts; Halak, who extended his club record total to 37 wins this season, is one shutout shy of Chico Resch's club record…Nikolay Kulemin, playing in his 500th NHL game, scored his 14th goal of the season and the 98th goal of his career…Kyle Okposo scored his 3rd goal in 11 games since returning from injury…Travis Hamonic and John Tavares each have at least one assist in three straight games…The Sabres are now 4-26 in games decided by at least 3 goals…The Isles wore their Stadium Series jerseys they are 7-5-0 in those jerseys this season….The Isles played their 3,333rd regular season game...The Sabres were held to 1 goal or less for the 36th time this season, tying an NHL record.
The Big 3
The Isles are 38-17-6 in the 61 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.
Travis Hamonic earned an assist tonight, giving the trio 100 points on the season. Boychuk has 34 points while Leddy and Hamonic each have 33.
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 Shutouts in a Season by an Islander
· 7 – Chico Resch (1975-76)
· 6- Jaroslav Halak (2014-15)
· 5 -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)
· John Tavares-35 (2014-15)
· Miroslav Satan -35 (2005-06)
· Mariusz Czerkawski-35 (1999-2000)
· Michael Grabner-34 (2010-11)
The Isles' magic number falls to 2. 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 4 vs. Boston and 6 vs Detroit and Pittsburgh. (The Isles need to finish ahead of at least one of these teams: Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit, Boston or Ottawa to clinch a playoff spot.)
The Isles can clinch a playoff spot on Sunday if Toronto beats Ottawa in regulation. Otherwise, their next chance to clinch will be on Tuesday.
Tired vs. Rested
This was the 27th time this season that the Isles, their opponent, or both had played the day before. Buffalo lost 4-3 to Chicago on Friday. The Isles are 17-3-1 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 9-2-1 when they are rested and their opponents are not. This will not happen again this season.
· 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 50-21-7=107 points / 78 games (46 ROW) Beat New Jersey 6-1
· ISLES 46-27-6=98 points / 79 games (39 ROW) Beat Buffalo 3-0
· Washington 43-25-11=97 points / 79 games (38 ROW) Lost to Ottawa 4-3 (OT)
· Pittsburgh 42-25-11=95 points / 78 games (38 ROW) Lost to Columbus 5-3
· NY Rangers: Monday vs Columbus, Tuesday at New Jersey, Thursday vs. Ottawa, Saturday at Washington
· ISLES: Tuesday at Philadelphia, Friday at Pittsburgh, Saturday vs. Columbus
· Washington: Saturday at Ottawa, Sunday at Detroit, Wednesday vs. Boston, Saturday at NY Rangers
· Pittsburgh: Sunday at Philadelphia, Tuesday at Ottawa, Friday vs. ISLES, Saturday at Buffalo
Year of the Fan:
The Isles have sold-out 26 of their 40 home dates this season, including each of the last nine dates. The 26 sellouts are the most for the Isles since the 1980s. The Isles have drawn at least 15,000 fans 31 times this season.
What a Season:
The Isles are 46-27-6 thru 79 games, representing their most wins since 1983-84 (50).
The Isles have won more than 46 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 46
Home Sweet Home
The Isles are 25-14-1 on Coliseum ice, equating their most home wins since 1984-85 (when they finished 25-11-4-1 in 2003-04 and went 26-11-3 in 1984-85).
The Isles are 21-13-5 on the road and have earned at least a point in 9 of their last 10 (5-1-4).
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, 4-2-3, and 1-6-1 before going 2-0-1 in their last three 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 Isles have outshot 42 of their last 50 opponents and 59 of their 79 opponents this season. The 59 times outshooting their opponent is the highest total in the NHL this season.
The Isles have established a new franchise record in shots on goal with 2,653 and have allowed 2,222 shots on goal for a +431 shot differential.
Biggest Differential, Season
· +431 THIS SEASON
· +307 in 1976-77
· +254 in 1986-87
· +152 in 1975-76
Most Shots on Goal, Season
· 2646 2014-15
· 2616 1992-93 (84 games)
· 2537 2013-14
· 2511 1993-94 (84 games)
Home and Road
The Islanders are 46-27-6 overall; 25-14-1 at home and 21-13-5 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.
Buffalo is 22-49-8 overall, 13-21-5 at home and 9-28-3 on the road. With their loss tonight, the Sabres are assured of being a top-2 seed for the NHL draft lottery.
This was the final game outside the Metropolitan Division. The Isles are 20-5-2 in Division games and finished 26-22-4 in games against other divisions. They were 12-10-2 vs. the Atlantic Division, 6-6-2 vs. Central Division, and 8-6-0 vs. the Pacific Division. The Isles finished 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 20-5-2 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 9-2-2 on the road. The Isles are 7-2 in overtime/shootouts against division foes, going 4-0 at home and 3-2 on the road.
The Isles' next division game will be on April 7th in Philadelphia. The Isles' final three games are against division foes.
In the Nets
Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves to improve to 37-16-3 on the season. He is xx in his career against Columbus.
Andrey Makarov made 33 saves in his NHL debut.
The Islanders were 1-2 on the power play, while Buffalo was 0-4.
The power play is 5-14 (35.7%) in the last five games.
The penalty kill has killed 56 of 61 (91.8%) in the last 25 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 22 opponents. The Isles have killed 36 of the last 37 opponent power plays; in their last ten road games, the Isles have killed all 21 opponent power plays.
The Isles are 26-11-1 when they score at least one power play goal and 20-16-5 when they do not. The Isles are 16-16-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 30-11-6 when they do not.
Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 39-7-3 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 26-9-6 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 28-15-5 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 164-147-45 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 356
3. Mike Milbury 191
4. Terry Simpson 187
5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches:
1. Al Arbour 740
2. Jack Capuano 164
3. Terry Simpson 81
4. Peter Laviolette 77
5. Ted Nolan 74
They Said It
Travis Hamonic: "It would be nice to get home-ice advantage and let our fans have more opportunity to watch us here."
Jaroslav Halak: ""I think guys did a good job killing the penalty. Everyone was competing, blocking shots, being in the right spots. Obviously it was a big kill for us at the end of the second."
They Tweeted It
@wolfpak999 Had a great time at @NYIslanders tonight especially at #DecadesNight all the guys were really nice #Isles #YesYesYes
@Moe_Be_Knowin Winning solves everything...for the most part #isles
@CurleyWill #Isles train still has some seats left, but its leaving the station. #hop-on #roadtothecup
@justinmiller928 Went to the #isles game today, probably my last one at the coliseum 😥 BUT WE WON!!!! 😃#Yesyesyes…
@mariapiug Warm-up puck. Jumbotron. Sparky. And a shutout. It was a great night. @NYIslanders #isles #OldBarn #NYIvsBUF
"You can control what you can control and that's all we are focused on right now."
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 22:03 of ice-time. Zach Bogosian led Buffalo in ice-time with 28:59.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (13-5-1), Travis Hamonic (22-7-3), 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 21:05. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (28-25-6), 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 23 of 43 draws (53%). Brock Nelson won 5 of 8 for the Isles while Tim Schaller won 6 of 10 for Buffalo. The Isles won 10 of 17 in the second period and 13 of 26 in the other two periods. The Isles won 0 of 2 on the power play and 6 of 8 on the penalty kill.
The Isles were out-hit 27-20. Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas led the way with three hits each.
Matt Martin leads the NHL with an NHL-record (since 2005) 382 hits while Cal Clutterbuck is 2nd with 328.
Most hits, season:
1 Matt Martin, NYI 382 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 14 blocked shots; Thomas Hickey led the way with 3.
For the Corsi Crowd
The Isles finished with a total Corsi advantage of 68-45, including 25-12 in the third period. The Corsi stat measures shots attempted, both for and against (including blocks).
Thomas Hickey led the Isles with a +19 even-strength Corsi rating; Hickey and Johnny Boychuk were on-ice for a team-leading 79% of Corsi For events. No Sabre finished with a positive rating.
Head of the Class
Islander Captain John Tavares has 395 career points; he is 81 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)
The Islanders improve to 25 games over all-time NHL .500 (1451-1426-456 in 3,333 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 147 consecutive games (68 for Toronto and 79 for the Isles) while Nelson has played 132 consecutive Islander games. John Tavares is the only other Islander to have played every game this season.
Mikhail Grabovski is on injured reserve. Tyler Kennedy, Calvin deHaan, Matt Donovan, Michael Grabner and Colin Mc Donald were scratched.
The Isles have lost 268 games this season due to injury/illness.
All-time Islander Leader Board:
John Tavares has:
· 171 goals (12th all-time and 13 behind Billy Harris)
· 224 assists (15th all-time, 25 behind Tomas Jonsson and 35 behind Billy Harris)
· 395 points (13th all-time and 48 behind Billy Harris)
· 429 games played (33rd among Islander skaters all-time, and 18 behind Kyle Okposo)
Kyle Okposo has:
· 116 goals (tied-23rd all-time with Ray Ferraro and 2 behind Steve Thomas, Matt Moulson and Mark Parrish)
· 186 assists (18th all-time, 7 behind Pierre Turgeon and 10 behind Frans Nielsen)
· 302 points (18th all-time, 29 behind Ziggy Palffy and 31 behind Tomas Jonsson)
· 447games played (32nd among Islander skaters all-time, 3 behind Scott Lachance and 12 behind Trent Hunter)
Frans Nielsen has:
· 99 goals (tied-28th all-time with Trent Hunter and 2 behind Anders Kallur)
· 198 assists (16th all-time and 26 behind John Tavares)
· 297 points (19th all-time and 5 behind Kyle Okposo)
· 525 games played (21st among Islander skaters all-time, 5 behind Pat LaFontaine and 7 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)
· 473 games played (28th among Islander skaters and 3 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 5 points to 2).
The Isles are 7-2-2 in their last 11 home games against the Sabres.
It Happened at the Coliseum … on APRIL 4th
1 years ago tonight (1984) – The earliest playoff game in Islander history came on this day in 1984, as the Islanders defeated the Rangers 4-1 in Game 1 of the Patrick Division Semi-Finals.
Jan Erixon scored the only goal of the first period but that was the only time that the Rangers beat Billy Smith. Pat Flatley and Pat LaFontaine, each playing in their first NHL playoff game, score a goal and earned an assist on the other's goal.
Flatley and LaFontaine sandwiched goals by Bob Bourne and Greg Gilbert as the Isles scored 4 goals in a span of 7:08 starting late in the second period and continuing into the third.
The Rangers outshot the Isles 34-28 but it wasn't enough in game 1.
Also on this date: (1998) – In the famed "goalie fight" game, the Isles recorded their second consecutive shutout as they blanked the Rangers 3-0.
Neither team was headed to the playoffs on that Saturday afternoon and Claude Lapointe's goal in the final minute of the first period was all the scoring until the third. Ziggy Palffy and Joe Sacco had raised the Isles' advantage to 3-0 in the first 13 minutes of the third. It was at that point just 44 seconds after Sacco's goal that all heck broke loose.
In all five separate fights broke off—capped by the battle, if one could call it that, between Tommy Salo and the Rangers' Dan Cloutier.
Cloutier won the battle, Salo lost his shutout as he was ejected, but Wade Flaherty completed the shutout.
Also on this date: (1987) – Denis Potvin scored his 2nd goal of the game to with just 17 seconds to play but it did more than earn the Isles a 6-6 tie with Buffalo. It was Potvin's 1,000th NHL point, as he became the first defenseman in NHL history to reach 1,000 points. Clark Gillies scored twice and added an assist, but he did it as a Sabre, not an Islander.
Also on this date: (2004) – Kim Johnsson scored at 4:20 of the third period to lift the Flyers into a 3-3 tie with the Islanders on the final day of the regular season. Overtime solved nothing and the game ended in that 3-3 tie–the final tie in Islander history. When NHL play resumed 18 months later after a lockout cost the 2004-2005 season, the tie game was extinct, replaced by a shootout.
All-time, the Isles have played eight regular season and one playoff game on April 4th at the Coliseum; they have compiled a 4-1-3 regular season and 1-0 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
On The Farm
The Sound Tigers are 26-36-6-1, following a 3-2 win over Syracuse. Goaltender Stephon Williams, who led Minnesota State –Mankato to the top seed in the NCAA tourney before being beaten by RIT, made 30 saves in his professional debut. Ryan Pulock scored his 16th goal and 13th power play marker. Pulock it 2nd in the AHL in PP goals, despite missing 22 games.
Bridgeport hosts Worcester on Monday.
TUESDAY, APRIL 7th –ISLANDERS AT PHILADELPHIA 7:00PM
[MSG+2 (Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
[MSG+2 (Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
The Isles look to be something that they have never done in their history as they attempt to complete a season sweep against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Isles own a pair of shootout wins over Philadelphia and a regulation win over the Flyers this season; the Isles have won 4 straight overall against Phiily (including three in shootouts).
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 sold over 2,000 shirts and raised over $28,000 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
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