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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Skinny on Allowing Fewer Goals

The Isles swept a set of back-to-backs on the road this weekend, and allowed only 1 goal in each game.

It's the first time since 12/31/03 (6-1 W in Pit) & 1/1/04 (0-1 L in Ott) that the Isles have allowed 1 goal or less in each half of a road back-to-back set.  The Isles also allowed 1 goal in back-to-back nights on the road on Apr 3-4, 2002 (1-1 T in Buf; 2-1 W in Bos) but only came up with three points.

To find two road games where the Isles won both games and allowed 1 goal or fewer in each, you have to go back to November 17-18, 1993, when the Isles beat Ottawa and Montreal on consecutive nights, 8-1 and 5-1.  However, even that set has an asterisk as the second game was played in Hamilton ONT as this was one of two seasons that the NHL played two neutral site games.

So to find two games when the Isles went into the other team's building and won on consecutive days, allowing 1 goal or less in each game, you have to go back to March 20-21, 1988.  The Isles won 6-0 in Winnipeg (against the original Jets) and 5-1 in Minnesota (against the North Stars).  The shutout in Winnipeg was the final one of Billy Smith's career.

The Isles have allowed only five goals in their five wins this season.  So what, you say?  It's the first time in over 40 years that has happened:

Fewest Goals Allowed by Isles in First Five Wins
4- 1975-76
5- 1976-77
5- 2018-19

The Isles have allowed one goal or fewer four times in the first ten games. 

Most Times Isles Have Allowed One Goal or Fewer in First Ten Games
5- 1974-75 (4-0-1) 
5- 1975-76 (4-0-1)
4- 1976-77 (4-0-0)
4- 1987-88 (4-0-0)
4- 2018-19 (4-0-0)

Over the first 10 games of the last four seasons (40 games total), the Isles allowed one goal/fewer only four times.

On the season, the Isles have allowed 8 fewer goals in the first ten games than they allowed last season.  If they keep up that pace, the Isles would allow 65 fewer goals than they did last season, which would match the 1996-97 team for the second biggest decrease (315 in 1995-96, 250 in 1996-97).  

The only team with a bigger year-to-year decrease was the 1973-74 squad (Al Arbour's first), which allowed 100 fewer goals than they did in the franchise's first year.

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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