By Eric Hornick
Isles 2, Buffalo 1
Frans Nielsen's second period power play goal broke a scoreless tie and Nikolay Kulemin scored for the third straight game as the Isles defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 before a crowd of 19,070 at First Niagara Center.
The win pushes the Isles back into 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of the Rangers.
09:35 NYI PPG - Frans Nielsen (14) ASST: John Tavares (14), Nick Leddy (12) 1 - 0 NYI
01:07 NYI Nikolay Kulemin (5) ASST: Kyle Okposo (19), Johnny Boychuk (11) 2 - 0 NYI
11:18 BUF PPG - Ryan O'Reilly (15) ASST: Jack Eichel (12), Rasmus Ristolainen (18) 2 - 1 NYI
The Isles killed the first three Sabres power plays, extending their streak to 42 (longest by an Islander team since at least 1987-88) before Ryan O'Reilly ended the streak…Frans Nielsen tied John Tavares for the team lead in goals with 14…Nick Leddy recorded an assist for the third straight game...Nikolay Kulemin scored for the third consecutive game after going 30 games without a goal; it was the first time since 2/27 – 3/3/2011 (with Toronto) that Kulemin has tallied in consecutive games …The Isles have won two straight games vs. Atlantic Division opponents after winning only 1 of the first 11 vs. the Atlantic (1-8-2).. The Isles have allowed the fewest PP goals in the NHL (14) and have killed 87.3% of opponent's power plays… Thomas Greiss recorded his career-high 11th win, while lowering his GAA to 2.03; he finished with 42 saves (2nd highest of his career – he had 44 vs. Nashville earlier this season)…The Isles earned their 21st win of the season; it's only the 7th time in club history (and the 2nd time in the Post-Cup era) that they have done so in December…The Isles have had three consecutive winning month to start the season (6-2-3 in October, 7-6-1 in November and 8-4-1 in December)…The Isles improve to 4-1-0 on New Year's Eve in Buffalo; they are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games played on December 31st. Overall the Isles are 15-7-1 on December 31st, going 4-1-0 at home and 11-6-1 on the road. Other than 12/31/12 (lockout), Isles have played on New Year's Eve every year since 12/31/07..Kyle Okposo's assist on the winning goal was his 332nd point as an Islander, breaking a tie with Ziggy Palffy for 17th on the all-time Islander list.
Johnny Boychuk, one of 4 Islanders (Kulemin, Lee, Nelson) who played in every regular season game in calendar year 2015, left the contest with 4:27 to play with an upper body injury following a collision with Jack Eichel. He did not return.
Longest Isles Streaks without Allowing a PP goal:
· 15 games: 11/27-12/29/2015
· 12 games: 3/3-3/28/2015
· 10 games: 2/18-3/7/1978
Most Consecutive Islander Penalty Kills (since 1987-88)
· 42 November/December 2015
· 39 to end 2003-04 season
· 37 November 2005
The Isles killed 42 straight opposing power plays after the Flyers scored on the first of their five opportunities on Thanksgiving Eve before O'Reilly's goal ended the streak.
What a Year(s)
The Isles earned 97 points in calendar year 2014. With their win tonight, they have matched that total of 97 points in calendar year 2015. These are the only two years in the Post-Cup era that the Isles have earned as many as 97 points.
Calendar Year 2015 Stats (Regular Season Only)
· Record 43‐29‐11 (97 points); Home 23‐16‐4 (50 points) ; Road 20‐13‐7 (47 points)
· Goals For 233; Goals Against 208
· PP 43‐235 18.3%; PK 35‐220 84.1%
· Vs Metropolitan Division 18‐4‐5
· Score 1st Goal 30‐10‐6; Allow 1st 13‐19‐5
· Overtime/Shootout Games 8-12 (4-5 when ending in OT and 4‐7 when ending in Shootout)
· Lead after 2 periods 28‐2‐5
Calendar Year 2015 Leaders (Regular Season Only):
· Goals: Tavares 37, Lee 31, Nielsen 20, Nelson 19, Okposo 18
· Assists: Tavares 45, Bailey 28, Hamonic 28, Leddy 28, Okposo 28
· Points: Tavares 82, Nielsen 47, Okposo 46, Lee 45, Bailey 44
· Games: Nelson 82, Kulemin 82, Lee 82, Boychuk 82
· Goalie Records: Halak 28‐17‐7, Greiss 11‐5‐2, Others 4‐7‐2
Out With the Old, In With the New
This was the third game of a stretch in which the Isles will play five games in eight days which will take the calendar into 2016. The Isles are 2-1-0 in this stretch.
27-Dec-15 Vs Maple Leafs (Lost 3-1)
29-Dec-15 @ Maple Leafs (Won 6-3)
31-Dec-15 @ Sabres (Won 2-1)
2-Jan-16 @ Penguins
3-Jan-16 Vs Stars
The Isles have won their last eight games that they have allowed at least 43 shots. (Really!)
Home and Road
The Islanders are 21-12-5 overall; 12-6-2 at home and 9-6-3 on the road.
Buffalo is 15-19-4 overall; 8-11-2 at home and 7-8-2 on the road.
The Isles are 7-0-2 in Division games and are 14-12-3 in games against other divisions. They are 3-8-2 vs. the Atlantic Division, 5-2-1 vs. Central Division, and 6-2-0 vs. the Pacific Division.
The Isles finished last season 21-6-3 against the Met and 26-22-4 against other Divisions.
In the Nets
Thomas Greiss made 42 saves as he improves to 10-5-2; he is 1-2-0 in his career against Buffalo.
Linus Ullmark made 31 saves as he falls to 5-9-2 on the season and 1-1-0 in his career against the Isles.
The Islanders were 1-2 on the power play while Buffalo was 1-4.
The Isles have killed 42 of the last 43 opponent power plays; the Isles' power play connected for only the second time over the last eight games (27 attempts).
The Isles are 11-3-3 when they score at least one power play goal and 10-9-2 when they do not. The Isles are 6-5-1 when they allow at least one power play goal and 15-7-4 when they do not.
Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 17-2-0 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 4-10-5 when they do not. The Isles were 40-8-4 when they scored at least three goals (including SO winners) last season.
One Goal Games
The Isles are 9-5-5 in games decided by a single goal including 4-5-0 in regulation. They are 2-3 in games decided in overtime and are 3-2 in shootouts. The Isles are 4-3 in games in which an empty-net goal turns a 1 goal game into a 2-goal game.
The Isles are 14-3-2 when they score first and are 7-9-3 when they allow the opening goal. The Isles have scored first in two straight games after allowing the first goal in the five previous games.
Second to The One
Jack Capuano is the 2nd winningest coach in Islander history. Capuano is 186-160-51 behind the Islander bench and will coach his 400th game on January 7th vs Washington. Among the 9 New York area 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 397
3. Mike Milbury 191
4. Terry Simpson 187
5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches:
1. Al Arbour 740
2. Jack Capuano 186
3. Terry Simpson 81
4. Peter Laviolette 77
5. Ted Nolan 74
They Tweeted It
@IslesWhiteSUV Dear Thomas Greiss, thank you for being awesome in the 1st period. Love, YeSUV and all the #isles fans
@FinallySock thankful for my #isles. it's been an eventful year... Here's to a bright 2016! #islesroadwarriors
@cward21187 Happy New Year Everyone!!! A great #isles win #yesyesyes
The Isles are 2-2-3 on the front-end and 4-2-1 on the back end of back-to-backs this season. The next back-to-back set will be January 2nd in Pittsburgh and January 3rd vs. Dallas.
Tired vs. Rested
· The Isles are 1-1-0 when both teams played the night before.
· The Isles are 3-2-0 when they are rested and their opponents are not.
· The Isles are 3-1-1 when their opponents are rested and the Isles are not.
Isles: Travis Hamonic (23:40); Buffalo: Rasmus Ruotsalainen (25:47)
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Travis Hamonic (13-2-3), Johnny Boychuk (4-3-0), Calvin deHaan (0-0-1), Nick Leddy (4-5-1), John Tavares (0-1-0), Tied (0-1-0)
John Tavares and Frans Nielsen led the Isles forwards with 18:19 of ice-time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (13-9-4), Ryan Strome (2-0-0), Kyle Okposo (0-1-1), Brock Nelson (1-0-0), Frans Nielsen (2-0-0), Josh Bailey (2-0-0), Tied (1-1-0).
Isles 28, Buffalo 30 (48%).
John Tavares won 10 of 16 for the Isles; Jack Eichel won 6 of 10 for Buffalo.
The Isles won 19 of 28 draws in the middle period but only 9 of 30 in the first and third periods.
The Isles won 25 of 49 draws at even strength, 2 of 3 on the power play and 1 of 6 on the penalty kill.
Isles 10, Buffalo 14. Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with 4 hits.
There were no fights. Season total – 9 (Martin-5, Boychuk, Bernier, Leddy, Okposo).
The Isles were credited with 15 blocked shots; Brock Nelson and Calvin deHaan led the way with 3.
For the Corsi Crowd
All situations: Isles 61, Buffalo 68 (Including 27-8 Buffalo in special teams) Even-Strength: Isles 53, Buffalo 41.
The Corsi stat measures shots attempted, both for and against (including blocks).
Johnny Boychuk led the Isles with a +18 even-strength Corsi rating; he also had a club-leading 74% Corsi For percentage. Jack Eichel and Cory Franson led Buffalo with a +5 rating.
· Nikolay Kulemin -188 (68 for Buffalo and 120 for the Isles)
· Brock Nelson -173 (all for Isles)
Jean-Francois Berube and Jaroslav Halak are on injured reserve. Brian Strait, Steve Bernier and Eric Boulton were scratched. Christopher Gibson served as the back-up goalie for the 3rd straight game.
The Isles have lost 75 games this season due to injury/illness.
All-time Islander Leader Board:
John Tavares has:
· 188 goals (11th all-time, 18 behind John Tonelli and 23 behind Derek King)
· 241 assists (15th all-time, 8 behind Tomas Jonsson and 18 behind Billy Harris)
· 429 points (13th all-time , 14 behind Billy Harris and 59 behind Patrick Flatley)
· 467 games played (30th among Islander skaters all-time, 3 behind Mariusz Czerkawski and 9 behind Gerry Hart)
Kyle Okposo has:
· 125 goals (18th all-time , 2 behind Jason Blake and 20 behind Mariusz Czerkawski )
· 207 assists (17th all-time , 2 behind Frans Nielsen and 34 behind John Tavares)
· 332 points (17th all-time , 1 behind Tomas Jonsson, 8 behind Pierre Turgeon and 37 behind Stefan Persson)
· 486 games played (27th among Islander skaters all-time and 7 behind Ed Westfall)
Frans Nielsen has:
· 113 goals (25th all-time, 3 behind Ray Ferraro, and 5 behind Mark Parrish, Matt Moulson and Steve Thomas)
· 209 assists (16th all-time and 32 behind John Tavares)
· 322 points (19th all-time, 9 behind Ziggy Palffy and 10 behind Kyle Okposo)
· 563 games played (15th among Islander skaters all-time and 31 behind John Tonelli)
Josh Bailey has:
· 148 assists (28th all-time, 2 behind Mariusz Czerkawski and 6 behind David Volek)
· 236 points (28th all-time, 1 behind Travis Green, 2 behind Ray Ferraro and 13 behind David Volek)
· 513 games played (23rd among Islander skaters , 1 behind Dave Lewis and 17 behind Pat LaFontaine)
Season Series Stats
The season series is even 1 game to 1 and 2 points to 2. The teams will play again in Brooklyn to close the regular season on April 9th.
On The Farm
Bridgeport is 18-12-2-1 and they next play on New Year's Day in Springfield before returning home to host Rochester on Saturday and Hershey on Sunday.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 2nd—ISLANDERS AT PITTSBURGH 7:00PM
[MSG+2 (Isles Pre-game at 6:30), 91.5 WNYE-FM. 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
The Isles open 2016 with their first of four meetings this season with Pittsburgh as they visit Mellon Arena.
The Isles dropped a 3-1 decision to the Pens last October 18th but then ripped off four straight wins over Pittsburgh, including two at Mellon Arena.
It's the first time that the Isles have won at least four straight over Pittsburgh since February 1 – December 23, 1986, when they won five straight. The Isles will be looking for their third straight regular season victory in Pittsburgh for the first time since a 4-game streak from December 19, 1992 – February 10, 1994.
By the way, it's probably a good thing that this game is not being played on New Year's Day. The Isles have played on January 1st seven times, and lost all 7 (0-7-0) by a combined 26-13 score.
Happy New Year to all!
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