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The Skinny on the Playoff Race

Updating for all of Saturday's results: Saturday's Games Rangers 3, Isles 2 (SO) Philadelphia 1, New Jersey 0 Washington 4, Tampa Ba...

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Skinny: Isles 3, Pittsburgh 1

"The Skinny"  

By Eric Hornick
Game 81
Isles 3, Pittsburgh 1
John Tavares became the first Islander in eight years to score 37 goals in a season when he scored the winning goal at 2:46 of the third period; the Islanders clinched at least third place in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins before a sellout crowd of 18,673 at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Isles' win also prevented the Penguins from clinching a playoff spot. 
The Isles reached the 100 point plateau for the 8th time in franchise history and the first time since the 1983-84 season.

The Scoring:

1st Period
08:00    NYI       SHG - Casey Cizikas (9) ASST: Cal Clutterbuck (9), Nick Leddy (25)         1 - 0 NYI          
2nd Period
19:54    PIT       Rob Scuderi (1) ASST: Sidney Crosby (56), Paul Martin (17)        1 - 1 Tie           
3rd Period
02:46    NYI       John Tavares (37) ASST: Kyle Okposo (32), Brian Strait (5)         2 - 1 NYI          
16:20    NYI       Michael Grabner (8) ASST: Josh Bailey (25)        3 - 1 NYI

The Skinny
The Isles improve to 6-8-4 in their last 18 games… John Tavares' winning goal gives him 10 points in the last five games; he ended the night tied with Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead. Tavares now has a career high 84 points, including at least one point in five straight games…Tavares is assured of finishing with over a point per game for the 2nd straight season; prior to Tavares no Islander since Ziggy Palffy had done that…The Isles have at least 22 wins both at home and on the road for the first time since the 1983-84 season, when they won 28 at home and 22 on the road…Casey Cizikas' goal was the Isles' 10th shorty of the season, tying Winnipeg for the NHL lead…Rob Scuderi's goal was the 100th NHL point for the Long Island neighbor and only his 8th goal in 719 games.  Scuderi stopped a 180 game goalless streak with the goal…The Penguins have sold out 375 consecutive games…The Isles improved to 17-7-2 in games that are tied after 2 periods…Cizikas is third Islander with multiple SH goals this season (Nikolay Kulemin has three and Cal Clutterbuck has two…Anders Lee, while still a rookie, played in his 99th NHL game.

The Injury
Travis Hamonic was injured in a collision with Rob Scuderi late in the first period and did not return.

The Race for the Art Ross Trophy
John Tavares and Sidney Crosby each have 84 points while Dallas' Jamie Benn has 83. Jakob Voracek (81) and Alex Ovechkin (80) round out the top 5.

Tomorrow's schedule:
·         Tavares (NYI) vs. Columbus 7:00
·         Crosby  (PIT) at Buffalo 7:00
·         Benn (DAL) vs. Nashville 8:00
·         Voracek (PHI) vs. Ottawa 12:30
·         Ovechkin (WSH) vs. NY Rangers 12:30
If the season ended after 81 games, John Tavares would win the Art Ross Trophy, because he has scored more goals than Crosby.  Bryan Trottier (1978-79) is the only Islander to win the Trophy.

The Big 3
The Isles are 39-18-6 in the 63 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.
Nick Leddy had an assist tonight, giving the trio 103 points on the season.  Boychuk has 35 points, Leddy has 35 and Hamonic has 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 and the first time that the Isles have had two defensemen with 35 points since Aucoin and Hamrlik did so in 2002-03.
Leddy and Boychuk have combined for 19 goals; they are the first pair of Isles defensemen to have 9 goals in a season since Aucoin (13) and Janne Niinimaa (9) did so in 2003-04.

Most Goals by an Islander in the 2000's
·         Jason Blake -40 (2006-07)
·         John Tavares-37 (2014-15)
·         Matt Moulson-36 (2011-12)
·         Miroslav Satan -35 (2005-06)
·         Mariusz Czerkawski-35 (1999-2000)
·         Michael Grabner-34 (2010-11)

Where Do We Start?
The Isles know that they will face Washington in the opening round of the playoffs. The home-ice advantage will be decided on Saturday.
Caps have 101 points and the Isles have 100 points. Both teams have 40 ROW and Washington holds the second tie-breaker (head-to-head record).

Washington hosts the Rangers at 12:30, while the Isles host Columbus at 7:00
·         If Caps beat Rangers, Caps clinch home ice.
·         If Caps get 1 point, Isles need a ROW for home-ice
·         If Caps lose in regulation, Isles need a win in any fashion for home ice.

Tired vs. Rested
There have been 27 times 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  52-22-7=111 points / 81 games (48 ROW) Idle
·         Washington  45-25-11=101 points / 81 games (40 ROW) Idle
·         ISLES           47-28-6=100 points / 81 games (40 ROW)  Beat Pittsburgh 3-1
·         Pittsburgh     42-27-12=96 points / 81 games (38 ROW)  Lost to Isles 3-1
Remaining Schedule:
·         NY Rangers: Saturday at Washington (12:30)
·         ISLES:, Saturday vs. Columbus (7:00)
·         Washington:, Saturday vs. NY Rangers (12:30)
·         Pittsburgh: Saturday at Buffalo (7:00)

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 47-28-6 thru 80 games, representing their most wins since 1983-84 (50). 

The Isles have won at least 47 games for the 7th time in their history:
·         1981-82           54
·         1978-79           51
·         1983-84           50
·         1980-81           48
·         1977-78           48
·         1976-77           47
·         2014-15           47

Home Sweet Home
The Isles are 25-14-1 on Coliseum ice, equaling 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).

Road Warriors
The Isles finish the season 22-14-5 on the road, including 6-2-4 in their last 12.  The Isles have won at least 20 road games in consecutive seasons for the second time in franchise history (1981-82 and 1982-83).

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, 1-6-1 before going 3-1-1 in their last 5.

The Shots:
Isles                5-8-13=26
Pittsburgh     17-11-10=38
The Isles have outshot 43 of their last 52 opponents and 60 of their 81 opponents this season. The 60 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 2,719 and have allowed 2,287 shots on goal for a +432 shot differential.  
Biggest Differential, Season
·         +432 THIS SEASON
·         +307 in 1976-77
·         +254 in 1986-87
·         +152 in 1975-76

Most Shots on Goal, Season
·         2719   2014-15
·         2616  1992-93 (84 games)
·         2537   2013-14
·         2511   1993-94 (84 games)

Home and Road
The Islanders are 47-28-6 overall; 25-14-1 at home and 22-14-5 on the road.  The Isles have at least 22 wins both at home and on the road for the first time since the 1983-84 season, when they won 28 at home and 22 on the road.
Pittsburgh is 42-27-12 overall, 23-13-5 at home and 19-14-7 on the road. 

By Division
The Isles are 21-6-2 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 21-6-2 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 10-3-2 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. 
Saturday's game is also against a divisional foe.

In the Nets
Jaroslav Halak made 37 saves to improve to 38-17-3 on the season.  He is 6-4-0 in his career against Pittsburgh.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves but falls to 33-20-9 on the season.  He is 20-9-4 in his career against the Isles.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 0-1 on the power play, while Pittsburgh was 0-2 and allowed a shorthanded goal to Casey Cizikas.
The power play is 6-20 (30%) in the last seven games. 

The penalty kill has killed 60 of 66 (90.9%) in the last 27 games; the Isles allowed two goals to Vancouver on February 22nd, two goals to Carolina on February 28th  one goal to Detroit on March 29th  and one to Philadelphia on April 7th but blanked their other 23 opponents. The Isles have killed 40 of the last 42 opponent power plays; in their last 12 road games, the Isles have killed 25 of 26 opponent power plays.

The Isles are 26-12-1 when they score at least one power play goal and 21-16-5 when they do not.  The Isles are 16-17-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 31-11-6 when they do not. 

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 40-8-3 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 26-10-6 in games decided by a single goal including 13-10-0 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 29-15-5 when they score first and are 18-13-1 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 165-148-45 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 358
3.     Mike Milbury 191
4.     Terry Simpson 187
5.     Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.     Al Arbour 740
2.     Jack Capuano 165
3.     Terry Simpson 81
4.     Peter Laviolette 77
5.     Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
Michael Grabner: "I'm just trying to play my game…make things happen…. (Jaro) just stood on his head."
Jaroslav Halak: "We knew they were going to come hard. First 10 minutes were hard for us…but PK came up big for us."

They Tweeted It
@emotrin Very impressed by Halak tonight - very professional. And Strait was real good too tonight. #isles
@RoseTintedVisor My team just hit 100 points for the first time in my life as a fan. #Isles
@Nick_Drizis 100 points for a team just learning how to win & play in games that matter is a big step forward. Wait until they gain the experience #isles
@factoropinion5 Halak was HUGE tonight great way to rebound after that goal that we shall not speak of ever again #isles #jaro
@BSutterFan And suddenly all is much better in #isles land! Bring on the Playoffs

The Coach
"We lost Travis early in the game—I give our D and our goaltender a lot of credit… we did a lot of good things."

Including tonight, the Isles are 10-5-1 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 back-to-back will conclude in game 82 tomorrow.

Leading Ice Men
Johnny Boychuk led all Isles with 24:48 of ice-time. Paul Martin led Pittsburgh in ice-time with 27:55.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (14-5-1), Travis Hamonic (22-7-3), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) John Tavares (2-7-1), 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).
Ryan Strome led Isles forwards with 20:09 of ice-time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (28-26-6), Kyle Okposo (12-1-0), Ryan Strome (2-0-0), 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 18 of 50 draws (36%).  No Isle won more draws than they lost; Brandon Sutter won 9 of 12 for Pittsburgh.  The Isles won 7 of 14 in the first period but only 11 of 36 in the other two periods. The Isles won 0 of 3 on the power play and 2 of 6 on the penalty kill.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit Pittsburgh 44-32.  Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with seven hits; every Isle but John Tavares had at least one.
 Matt Martin leads the NHL with an NHL-record (since 2005) 382 hits while Cal Clutterbuck is 2nd with 335.

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 15 fights this season: Martin (9), Hamonic (3), Boulton (1), Lee (1), Strome (1) and 12 of the 15 have been against Metropolitan Division opponents.

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 18 blocked shots; Brian Strait led the team with 4.

For the Corsi Crowd
The Penguins finished with a total Corsi advantage of 69-41, including 31-10 in the third period. The Corsi stat measures shots attempted, both for and against (including blocks). 
Brock Nelson led the Isles with a +8 even-strength Corsi rating; he was on-ice for a team-leading 70% of Corsi For events. Ben Lovejoy led Pittsburgh with a +18 rating.

Head of the Class
Islander Captain John Tavares has 399 career points; he is 82 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 25 games over all-time NHL .500 (1452-1427-456 in 3,335 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 149 consecutive games (68 for Toronto and 81 for the Isles) while Nelson has played 134 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. Cal Clutterbuck replaced Colin Mc Donald in the lineup. Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin missed the game with injuries. Calvin deHaan and Matt Donovan were scratched.
The Isles have lost 275 games this season due to injury/illness.

All-time Islander Leader Board:
John Tavares has:
·         173 goals (12th all-time and 11 behind Billy Harris)
·         226 assists (15th all-time, 23 behind Tomas Jonsson and 33 behind Billy Harris)
·         399 points (13th all-time and 44 behind Billy Harris)
·         431 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)
·         187 assists (18th all-time, 6 behind Pierre Turgeon and 9 behind Frans Nielsen)
·         303 points (18th all-time, 28 behind Ziggy Palffy and 30 behind Tomas Jonsson)
·         449 games played (32nd among Islander skaters all-time, 1 behind Scott Lachance and 10 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 28 behind John Tavares)
·         297 points (19th all-time and 6 behind Kyle Okposo)
·         525 games played (21st among Islander skaters all-time, 5 behind Pat LaFontaine and 7 behind Tomas Jonsson)
 Josh Bailey has:
·         136 assists (32nd all-time, 2 behind Greg Gilbert, 3 behind Mark Streit, and 4 behind Steve Thomas)
·         217 points (35th all-time, 2 behind Mikko Makela and 6 behind Matt Moulson)
·         475 games played (28th among Islander skaters and 1 behind Gerry Hart)
Michael Grabner has:
·         90 goals (36th all-time, 2  behind Travis Green and 3 behind Garry Howatt & Greg Gilbert)

Season Series Stats
The Isles won the final four meetings and win the season series 4 games to 1 (and 8 points to 3). 
The Isles went 2-1-0 in Pittsburgh; it's the first time that they have won two games in Pittsburgh since 2005-06.
The 4 Isles wins over Pittsburgh matches their total from the last three regular seasons combined (4-9-2)

It Happened at the Coliseum … on APRIL 10th
31 years ago tonight (1984) - Some called it the "Greatest Overtime Ever Played". 
Everyone called it the Isles 17th straight series win as Ken Morrow scored 8:56 into overtime to give the Isles a 3-2 victory over the Rangers to win the best-of-5 series 3 games to 2.
Ron Greschner and Mike Bossy traded first period goals as the opening session ended even.  Bossy's goal came with just 11 seconds to play in the first.
After a scoreless second period, Tomas Jonsson gave the Isles a 2-1 lead at 7:56 of the third.  In those days when the Isles had a late lead victory was almost always guaranteed.  But on this night, it would be Don Maloney who would tie the game with 39 seconds to play on a disputed goal when it was ruled that his rebound had not been with a high stick.
The Rangers had outshot the Isles 36-18 through three periods.  In the intermission leading to overtime I ran into Frank Brown, then the beat writer covering the Rangers. I asked Frank who he thought would win; Frank responded "We both know who should win (the Rangers)".  I laughed, and replied "We both know who will win."
8:56 later, Morrow made sure I wasn't a liar, beating Glen Hanlon with the 15th shot (8 by the Isles) of the overtime. "I'm going to take things as they come; thank goodness they're coming my way right now", he told CBS2's Steve Albert.
Also on this date: (1975) – In the first playoff game ever played at the Coliseum, the Rangers jumped all over the Isles early, raced to a 4-1 lead after 1 period, a 6-1 lead midway through the second period and defeated the Isles 8-3.  It's the only time in Isles playoff history that they have allowed 8 goals in a game at home. JP Parise scored the Isles' first goal; he'd score their last goal the next night in The Garden – changing the face of New York hockey history for a generation.
All-time, the Isles have played three regular season and two playoff games on April 10th at the Coliseum; they have compiled a 1-2-0 regular season and 1-1 playoff record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

On The Farm
The Sound Tigers are 27-36-7-1, following a 4-3 overtime loss to Syracuse.  Alan Quine scored his 21st goal of the season and added an assist for Bridgeport, who led 3-1 heading to the third period.
Bridgeport returns home to host Manchester on Saturday night and again at 3pm on Sunday.

Up Next
[MSG+ (Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
The Isles return home for the 1,665th (and final) regular season home game in Coliseum history as they entertain the Columbus Blue Jackets in the regular season finale.
The game will have home ice implications if the Rangers beat Washington in a matinee game.
Regardless, it promises to be an extraordinarily emotional night at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
As for the game itself, the Isles lead the season series two games to 1 (and 5 points to 2).  Columbus rallied from a 3-1 deficit for a 4-3 shootout win last week in Columbus after the Isles had dominated the Jackets in two previous games.   Columbus is looking to end their season with a 13-game point streak, having gone 11-0-1 in their last 12.

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 nearly 2,200 shirts and raised nearly $31,000 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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