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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 01, 2016

The Skinny: Isles 4, Columbus 3

"The Skinny"   

By Eric Hornick
Game 76
Isles 4, Columbus 3

For the second straight game, the Islanders' power play came up with a big goal in the third period and once again it was Anders Lee who scored the goal.  This time it broke a 3-3 tie as the Isles completed a season sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 4-3 win before a crowd of 13,857 at Barclays Center.

With the win, the Isles climb within two points of the third place Rangers and move four points ahead of the fifth place Flyers.  The Isles remain three points behind the now-2nd place Penguins, who they will play at Barclays Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Isles improved to 9-1-1 in their last 11 games at home; their magic number for clinching a playoff spot is now down to 5.

The Scoring:

04:14    CBJ      Brandon Dubinsky (15) ASST: Boone Jenner (18)           1 - 0 CBJ         
07:25    NYI      John Tavares (28) ASST: Ryan Strome (18), Josh Bailey (20)     1 - 1 Tie           
17:51    NYI      Thomas Hickey (5) ASST: Kyle Okposo (37), Frans Nielsen (29) 2 - 1 NYI           
18:32    NYI      John Tavares (29) ASST: Nikolay Kulemin (12), Brian Strait (5)   3 - 1 NYI           
15:48    CBJ      PPG - Brandon Saad (25) ASST: Alexander Wennberg (26), David Savard (18) 3 - 2 NYI          
00:37    CBJ      Boone Jenner (29) ASST: Cam Atkinson (22)     3 - 3 Tie           
05:23    NYI      PPG - Anders Lee (14) ASST: Johnny Boychuk (16), Frans Nielsen (30)  4 - 3 NYI     

The Skinny
The Isles led after the first period for only the second time in the last 13 games and only the third time in the last 18 games. It was the 6th time this season that the Isles scored at least three times in the opening period… The Isles improved to 27-2-2 when leading after two periods… Thomas Greiss recorded his second straight win and 21st of the season…The Isles finished March 9-5-2; it's the first time in Isles history that they have earned at least 20 points in March…The Isles have outscored their opponents 81-64 in the third period this season…John Tavares recorded his third multi-goal game of the season and 30th of his career…It's the first time the Isles have swept an opponent in a series of at least five games since they went 5-0-0 vs. Tampa Bay in 1997-98…Anders Lee now leads the Isles with eight PP goals; each of his last three goals have been scored on third period power plays and have either tied the score or given the Islanders the lead.  Nine of Lee's 49 career goals have been game-winners … Calvin deHaan played a season-high 28:33.
The Injury
Travis Hamonic suffered a lower body injury in a collision with Columbus' Scott Hartnell in the first period. He did not return.

Movin' On Up
Josh Bailey played his 551st Islander game, breaking a tie with Ken Morrow for 16th place on the all-time Isles list. Bailey became 26th player to reach the 250-point mark with an assist on John Tavares' first goal.
Comeback Kids
The Isles have now earned 19 points (7-20-5) in games that they trailed after 2 periods.
The 7 wins:
4-Dec-15          Vs        St. Louis (Trailed 1-0, won 2-1 in a shootout)
14-Jan-16         Vs        New York (Trailed 1-0, won 3-1)
9-Feb-16           @         Columbus (Trailed 2-1, won 3-2 in a shootout)
25-Feb-16         @         Calgary (Trailed 1-0, won 2-1 in overtime)
14-Mar-16         Vs        Florida (Trailed 2-0, won 3-2)
26-Mar-16         @         Carolina (Trailed 3-2, won 4-3 in overtime)
29-Mar-16         Vs        Carolina (Trailed 1-0, won 2-1 in a shootout)
Most wins (since 1987-88) by Isles when trailing after 2 periods
10 in 2013-14
7 in 2015-16

The Skinny on the Playoff Race
(Through games of March 31)
Metropolitan Division Standings (Top 5)
xy Washington 54-16-6=114 points / 76 games (50 ROW) Idle
Pittsburgh        44-25-8=96 points / 77 games (40 ROW) Beat Nashville 5-2
NY Rangers     43-25-9=95 points / 77 games (40 ROW) Lost to Carolina 4-3
ISLES              42-25-9=93 points / 76 games (37 ROW) Beat Columbus 4-3
Philadelphia     38-25-13=89 points/ 76 games (35 ROW) Idle
Atlantic Teams in Wild Card Race
Boston             40-29-8=88 points/ 77 games (36 ROW) Idle
Detroit             38-28-11=87 points/ 77 games (36 ROW) Idle
x Clinched Playoff Spot
y Clinched Division Title, Conference Title and President's Trophy
Best They Can Do (By Winning Every Game in Regulation or Overtime)
Pittsburgh      106 points/ 45 ROW
NY Rangers   105 points/ 45 ROW
ISLES             105 points/ 43 ROW
Philadelphia    101 points/ 41 ROW
Boston            98 points/41 ROW
Detroit             97 points/41 ROW
Remaining Schedule:
Washington: 4/1 @ Colorado, 4/2 @ Arizona, 4/5 vs. ISLES, 4/7 vs. Pittsburgh, 4/9 at St. Louis, 4/10 vs. Anaheim
NY Rangers: 4/2 vs. Buffalo, 4/4 @ Columbus, 4/5 vs. Tampa Bay, 4/7 vs. ISLES, 4/9 vs. Detroit    
Pittsburgh: 4/2 @ISLES, 4/3 vs. Philadelphia, 4/5 @ Ottawa, 4/7 @ Washington, 4/9 @ Philadelphia
ISLES: 4/2 vs. Pittsburgh, 4/4 vs. Tampa Bay, 4/5 @ Washington, 4/7 @ NY Rangers, 4/9 vs. Buffalo, 4/10 vs. Philadelphia
Philadelphia: 4/2 vs. Ottawa, 4/3 @ Pittsburgh, 4/6 at Detroit, 4/7 vs. Toronto, 4/9 vs Pittsburgh, 4/10 @ ISLES
Boston:  4/1 @ St. Louis, 4/3 @ Chicago, 4/5 vs. Carolina, 4/7 vs. Detroit, 4/9 vs Ottawa
Detroit: 4/1 vs. Minnesota, 4/2 @ Toronto, 4/6 vs. Philadelphia, 4/7 at Boston, 4/9 @ NY Rangers
On Their Own
If the Isles go 2-3-1 they will clinch a playoff spot regardless of what everyone else does.
If the Isles win their last 6 (including a regulation win over Pittsburgh) they will finish 2nd regardless of what everyone else does.
Magic Number
The Isles' magic number is clinch a playoff berth is 5 over Detroit, 6 over Boston, 9 over Philadelphia, 13 against the Rangers and 14 against Pittsburgh.  Any combination of Islander points gained and Red Wings points lost totaling 5 will guarantee that the Isles finish ahead of Detroit.
The Isles have clinched at least a 9th place finish in the East.  The Isles also need to finish ahead of Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, the Rangers OR Pittsburgh in order to clinch a playoff berth.
(Top 3 in each division, plus next two teams make the playoffs)
Friday's Games
Boston @ St. Louis
Minnesota @ Detroit
Washington @ Colorado
The Isles Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot will fall to:
  3, if the Red Wings lose in regulation
  3, if the Red Wings lose in overtime or a shootout AND the Bruins lose in regulation      
  4, if the Red Wings lose in overtime or a shootout OR the Bruins lose in regulation
Saturday's Games
Pittsburgh @ ISLES
Buffalo @ NY Rangers
Ottawa @ Philadelphia
Detroit @ Toronto
When Can They Clinch?
Magic number is 5 vs. Detroit.
Isles host Pittsburgh Saturday.  Detroit hosts Minnesota Friday and visits Toronto Saturday.
==> Isles would clinch spot Saturday if they beat Pittsburgh and Detroit goes 0-1-1 OR if they lose in overtime or a shootout and Detroit loses twice in regulation.
Magic number is 6 vs. Boston
Isles host Pittsburgh Saturday. Boston is in St. Louis on Friday and Chicago on Sunday.
==> Isles would clinch spot Sunday if they beat Pittsburgh and Boston loses twice in regulation
Since the Bruins and Red Wings have a game left with each other (next Thursday), there are some three-way combinations that would also see the Isles clinch on Sunday:
·        Isles beat Pittsburgh, Boston goes 0-1-1 and Detroit goes 1-1-0 (or 0-0-2).  That would give the Isles 95 points and give Detroit and Boston a possible maximum of 95 as well.  However, only one could reach it because of their game against each other.
·        Isles lose to Pittsburgh in an overtime or shootout, Boston goes 0-2-0 and Detroit goes 0-1-1.  That would give the Isles 94 points and give Detroit and Boston a possible maximum of 94 as well.  However, only one could reach it because of their game against each other.
"Home" Stretch
The Isles are playing six of their final eight games at home this season; it's the first time in franchise history that this has happened.  The Isles are 2-0-0 in this stretch:
·        March 29 vs. Hurricanes (Won 2-1 SO)
·        March 31 vs. Blue Jackets (Won 4-3)
·        April 2 vs. Penguins
·        April 4 vs. Lightning
·        April 5 @ Capitals
·        April 7 @ Rangers
·        April 9 vs. Sabres
·        April 10 vs. Flyers
Most Points in The Post-Cup Era through 75 games
·        93 in 2015-16
·        93 in 2014-15
·        86 in 1985-86 and 2001-02
Home Sweet Home
The Isles are 24-9-4 on home-ice (52 points), matching their highest point total through 37 home games in the Post-Cup era (52 in 1984-85). They are now a season-high 15 games over-.500 at home.
With 52 points, the Isles have matched last season's home-ice total.  It's the first time since 1983-84 and 1984-85 that the Isles have earned at least 52 points at home in consecutive seasons.

Road Warriors
The Isles are 18-16-5 on the road this season.  In the Post-Cup era, the Isles have earned more than 41 points in the first 39 road games only twice (47 in first 39 on road last season, 43 in first 39 in 2001-02).
The Isles have clinched at least an NHL-.500 road record for the 4th straight season, matching the club record (1975-76 to 1978-79 and 1980-81 to 1983-84).
The Shots
Isles        15-6-6=27
Columbus   2-10-12=24
Home and Road
The Islanders are 42-25-9 overall; 24-9-4 at home and 18-16-5 on the road. 
Columbus is 30-39-8 overall; 17-16-6 at home and 13-23-2 on the road.
By Division
The Isles are 16-6-4 in Division games and are 26-19-5 in games against other divisions. They are 7-12-3 vs. the Atlantic Division, 9-4-1 vs. the Central Division, and 10-3-1 vs. the Pacific Division. 
How The West Was Won
The Isles went 19-7-2 against the Western Conference, including 12-0-2 at home. The Isles have the most wins of any Eastern Conference team against the Western Conference and are guaranteed to finish with the record of an Eastern team vs. the West. 

In the Nets
Thomas Greiss made 22 saves to improve to 21-11-4 on the season; he is 4-3-2in his career against Columbus. 
Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves but falls to 13-19-1 on the season and 11-4-0 in his career against the Isles. 

Power Plays
The Islanders were 1-2 on the power play, while Columbus was 1-3. The Isles power play connected for the second straight game for the first time since March 6 (NYR) – March 8 (Pit).
The Isles are 25-5-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 17-20-5 when they do not.  The Isles are 13-11-3 when they allow at least one power play goal and 29-14-6 when they do not. 

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 34-4-1 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 8-21-8 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 20-6-9 in games decided by a single goal including 10-6-0 in regulation. They are 5-4 in games decided in overtime and are 5-5 in shootouts.  The Isles are 6-5 in games in which an empty-net goal turns a 1 goal game into a 2-goal game.

First Goal
The Isles are 27-6-4 when they score first and are 15-19-5 when they allow the opening goal.   

Second to The One
Jack Capuano, the 2nd winningest coach in Islander history, is 207-173-55 behind the Islander bench.  Among the 9 New York area teams, only the Yankees' Joe Girardi has led his team longer than Capuano. 

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.      Al Arbour 1,500
2.      Jack Capuano 435
3.      Mike Milbury 191
4.      Terry Simpson 187
5.      Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.      Al Arbour 740
2.      Jack Capuano 207
3.      Terry Simpson 81
4.      Peter Laviolette 77
5.      Ted Nolan 74

Capuano is the 86th coach in NHL history to coach at least 400 games. His 207 wins places him 69th all-time, one behind Ron Low and two behind Larry Robinson.

The Isles are 4-5-4 on the front-end and 8-2-3 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.  The Isles have two back-to-back sets remaining (April 4 vs. Tampa Bay, April 5 at Washington and April 9 vs Buffalo, April 10 vs. Philadelphia).

Tired vs. Rested
·        The Isles are 3-1-0 when both teams played the night before.
·        The Isles are 6-3-0 when they are rested and their opponents are not.
·        The Isles are 5-1-3 when their opponents are rested and the Isles are not.

Ice-time Leaders
Isles: Calvin deHaan (28:33); Columbus: Seth Jones (25:27)
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Travis Hamonic (24-6-6), Johnny Boychuk (5-3-0), Calvin deHaan (3-3-1), Nick Leddy (8-10-2), John Tavares (0-2-0), Tied (0-1-0)
Frans Nielsen led the forwards with 18:10 of ice time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (28-18-8), Ryan Strome (2-0-0), Kyle Okposo (2-3-1), Brock Nelson (1-0-0), Frans Nielsen (6-1-0), Josh Bailey (2-0-0), Tied (1-2-0). 

Isles 30, Columbus 25 (55%)
John Tavares won 9 of 10 for the Isles; Nick Foligno won 9 of 16 for Carolina. 
The Isles won 23 of 37 in the first and third periods but won only 7 of 18 in the middle period.
The Isles won 24 of 40 draws at even strength, 3 of 6 on the power play and 3 of 9 on the penalty kill.

Heavy Hitters
Isles 20, Columbus 28.  Matt Martin led the Isles with five hits, extending his NHL-leading total to 359.  Martin now has the four highest single-season hit totals since the statistic was recorded in 2005-06.

Most Hits in a Season (since 2005-06):
1          Matt Martin       2014-2015        NYI      382
2          Matt Martin       2011-2012        NYI      374
3          Matt Martin      2015-2016        NYI      359
3          Matt Martin       2013-2014        NYI      359
5          Cal Clutterbuck 2008-2009        MIN      356
6          Cal Clutterbuck 2014-2015        NYI      343
7          Cal Clutterbuck 2010-2011        MIN      336
8          Cal Clutterbuck 2009-2010        MIN      318
Martin needs 24 hits in the final six games to break his own NHL record.

Anders Lee fought Dalton Prout in the first period. Season total – 20 (Martin-10, Lee-3, Bernier, Boychuk, Cizikas, Hamonic, Leddy, Okposo, Strait).

Blocked Shots
The Isles were credited with 26 blocked shots, including nine from Calvin deHaan.  deHaan is only the 5th player to play at least 9 shots in an NHL game this season; he is the first Islander to do so since Andrew MacDonald had 9 blocks vs. Philadelphia on February 24, 2011.

Most Blocked Shots by an Islander (since 2005-2006)
1              Brendan Witt                    2006-2007    207
2              Sean Hill                          2006-2007    202
3              Andrew Mac Donald        2013-2014    198
4              Calvin de Haan                2015-2016    189
5              Andrew Mac Donald        2011-2012    185
For the Corsi Crowd
All situations:  Isles 49, Columbus 61 (Attempts favored the Isles 30-6 in the first period, but were 55-19 in Carolina's favor in the final two periods).
 5-on-5: Isles 43, Carolina 47.
The Corsi stat measures shots attempted, both for and against (including blocks). 
Ryan Strome led the Isles with a +8 5-on-5 Corsi rating and a club-leading 72% Corsi For percentage. Nick Foligno led Columbus with a +9 5-on-5 Corsi rating.

Five Islanders have played every game this season:
·        Nikolay Kulemin - 226 consecutive games (68 for Maple Leafs and 158 for the Isles)
·        Anders Lee – 152 (all for Isles)
·        Nick Leddy – 86 (all for Isles)
·        Matt Martin – 76 (all for Isles)
·        Frans Nielsen – 76 (all for Isles)

Missing Men
Adam Pelech is on injured reserve. Other injured players: Jaroslav Halak, Mikhail Grabovski and Marek Zidlicky. Ryan Pulock, Steve Bernier and Eric Boulton were scratched.

Missing a Piece (or two)
The Isles are 13-15-2 over the last two seasons in games in which they are missing Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic or Nick Leddy, including 5-5-1 this season.  They are 5-4-1, including 2-1-1 this season, when two of the three miss a game.

All-time Islander Leader Boards:
Games Played (skaters)
1.      Bryan Trottier 1123 *** 2. Denis Potvin 1060 *** 3. Bob Nystrom 900
11. Stefan Persson 622 *** 12. Frans Nielsen 601 *** 13. Kenny Jonsson 597 *** 14. Garry Howatt 596 *** 15. John Tonelli 594*** 16. Josh Bailey 551 *** 17. Ken Morrow 550 *** 18. Duane Sutter 547 *** 19. Lorne Henning 543 ***20. Claude Lapointe 535 *** 21. Tomas Jonsson 532 *** 22. Pat LaFontaine 530 *** 23. Kyle Okposo 523*** 24. Dave Lewis 514 *** 25. Mick Vukota 510 *** 26. Rich Pilon 509 *** 27. John Tavares 505

1.      Mike Bossy 573 *** 2. Bryan Trottier 500 *** 3. Denis Potvin 310
9. Derek King 211 *** 10. John Tonelli 206*** 11. John Tavares 203
16. Mariusz Czerkawski 145 *** 17. Kyle Okposo 138 *** 18. Jason Blake 127 *** 19. Duane Sutter 121 *** 20. Alexei Yashin 119 *** 21. Frans Nielsen, Mark Parrish, Matt Moulson, and Steve Thomas 118

1.      Bryan Trottier 853 *** 2. Denis Potvin 742 *** 3. Mike Bossy 553 ***
11. Pat LaFontaine 279 *** 12. Bob Nystrom 278 *** 13. Billy Harris and John Tavares 259*** 15. Tomas Jonsson 249***16. Frans Nielsen 228 *** 17. Kyle Okposo 224
25. Ziggy Palffy 163 *** 26. Josh Bailey 157

1.      Bryan Trottier 1353 *** 2. Mike Bossy 1126 *** 3. Denis Potvin 1052
10. Derek King 499 *** 11. Pat Flatley 488 *** 12. John Tavares 462***13. Billy Harris 443 *** 14. Stefan Persson 369 *** 15. Kyle Okposo 362 *** 16. Frans Nielsen 345
24 Jason Blake & Steve Thomas 258 *** 26. Josh Bailey 250

Season Series Stats
The teams sweep the season series five games to none (and ten points to two).  The Isles improve to 7-0-2 over the last two seasons against the Jackets.

On The Farm
Bridgeport is 37-24-4-3 on the season and trail Providence by one point in the battle for 3rd place in the Atlantic Division (The Bruins hold a game-in-hand).  Bridgeport travels to Wilkes-Barre-Scranton on Saturday and hosts Springfield on Sunday.

Up Next
[MSG+ (Isles Pre-game at 12:30), 91.5 WNYE-FM, 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
The Isles continue their longest homestand of the season as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins in the final regular season meeting between the squads.
The Isles are 1-1-1 against the Penguins this season and the home team has won all three games.
The Isles will enter the game three points behind the second place Penguins; the Isles have six games to play while the Penguins have five.
The Isles have won the last three home games vs. the Penguins and will be looking to extend that streak to four games for the first time since November 2006- November 2007.
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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