By Eric Hornick
Isles 3, Buffalo 1
Robin Lehner made 39 saves for his fifth straight win and Brock Nelson scored the winning goal as the Isles closed out 2018 with a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres before a sellout crowd of 19,070 at Keybank Center.
Lehner extended his shutout streak to 177:43 before Kyle Okposo's power play goal ended the streak. It was the first goal allowed by the Isles in 144:03.
Barry Trotz recorded his 783rd coaching victory, passing Isles legend Al Arbour for 4th place on the All-time NHL list.
Isles are 7-1-0 in their last eight games; since the 6:11 mark of the second period on Friday they have outscored the opposition by a 12-1 score.
Leo Komarov (5)Nick Leddy, Mathew Barzal 02:59 NYI 1,BUF 0
Brock Nelson (13) Joshua Ho-Sang, Scott Mayfield 01:45 NYI 2,BUF 0
Kyle Okposo (6) Nathan Beaulieu, Casey Mittelstadt 10:14 NYI 2,BUF 1 PPG
Ryan Pulock (3)EN Robin Lehner 19:28 NYI 3,BUF 1
A post-game scoring change gave Leo Komarov credit for the Isles' first goal...Brock Nelson scored his 13th goal of the season; he didn't reach that mark until February 9th last season. It was his third goal in the last seven games.… Josh Bailey played his 753rd game as an Islander passing Mike Bossy for 6th place on the all-time Isles list…The Isles now are two points ahead of last season's pace through 38 games; including shootout winners they have scored 21 fewer goals and allowed 31 fewer goals than last year's first 37 games… The Isles are a season-high eight games over NHL-.500 (22-13-4); they were last eight over .500 when they were 16-8-2 after a win on December 4, 2017 … The Isles finish December with a 9-4-1 mark; it's the first time since 2015-16 that they have opened the season with three winning months and the first time since 2003-04 that that have won at least nine December games… The Isles have earned 25 points in 21 road games this season; it's only the third time in the post-Cup era that they have had 25 points in the first 21 on the road. They had only 24 points through 26 road games last season… Vladimir Sobotka played in his 500th NHL game…Robin Lehner was credited with an assist of Ryan Pulock's 183-foot empty-netter…Leo Komarov has points in three of his last four games…Mathew Barzal extended his point streak to five games (6-3-9)… Kyle Okposo's power play goal was his first goal in 22 games…By outscoring Buffalo 2-1 in the third, the Isles have now outscored the opposition in all three periods (and in overtime) on the season.…The win moves the Isles into the second wild card spot, ahead of the Boston Bruins; the Bruins have the same number of points but have played one more game.
Valtteri Filppula and Jack Eichel left the game in the first period; they did not return.
First Times in a Ridiculously Long Time
The Nick Leddy goal was the 10th scored by the Isles since the opposition last scored. It's the first time since April 1998 that the Isles have scored ten straight goals.
Brock Nelson then made it 11 straight goals with the eventual game-winner. It was the first time since March 1988 that the Isles had scored at least 11 straight goals. (They scored 13 in that stretch, including two by Denis Potvin.)
It's Just Another New Year's Eve
The Isles are 11-1-1 in their last 13 New Year's Eve games.
Calendar Year 2018 Leaders
4 players played all 81 games the Isles played in 2018 -- Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock.
• Goals: Anders Lee 30, Anthony Beauvillier 28, Brock Nelson 23
• Assists: Barzal 66, Josh Bailey 37, Pulock 32
• Points: Barzal 85, Bailey 51,Lee 50
• +/-: Hickey 21, Nelson 16, Komarov 12 (just with NYI)
• PIM: Johnston 83, Clutterbuck 65, Lee 53
• GWG: Jordan Eberle 5, Beauvillier 4, Barzal 4, Nelson 4
• Shots: Pulock 215, Lee 211, Eberle 173
One Year, Two Teams
GF 2.95 2.95 [This is correct- scoring exactly the same]
GA 3.60 2.61 [...but allowing nearly a goal less a game]
Shots For 31.4 28.3 [Taking 3.1 fewer shots]
Shots Vs 37.6 31.4 [but allowing 6.2 fewer shots]
PP 25.4% 15.8% [PP not as successful]
PK 72.4% 77.5% [...but PK is improved]
Most Wins in December
• 1978 10-1-3
• 2003 10-4-1
• 1983 10-3-1
• 1975 9-2-1
• 1977 9-3-1
• 1989 9-3-1
• 2018 9-4-1
Most Wins by New Year's
• 1983 26-11-2
• 2014 25-11-1
• 1980 24-7-8
• 1978 24-4-7
• 1976 22-8-5
• 2015 21-12-5
• 1981 21-11-5
• 2018 21-13-4
Robin Lehner has won five consecutive decisions for the first time as an Islander and the first time since he closed the 2013-14 season with four straight wins (and won the first two games the following season for a 6-game multi-season streak. Lehner has allowed only eight goals in his last eight games (5-1-2, 1.04 GAA, .964 save percentage). In seven December appearances, Lehner's GAA is 1.06, which is the best in the NHL among goalies who have appeared in more than two games.
Worst to First
The Isles allowed the most goals in the NHL last season. Here's where they are this season:
Fewest Goals Allowed This Season (Including SO goals)
1. ISLES 102
2. Boston 103
3. Nashville 104
Fewest Goals Allowed This Season (excluding SO goals)
1. ISLES 99
2. Nashville 103
3. Boston 103
Last 30 Seasons: Most Goals by an Islander Before 22nd Birthday:
1. John Tavares 84
2. Anthony Beauvillier 41
Beauvillier's 22nd birthday is not until June.
Last 30 Seasons: Most Assists and Points by an Islander Before 22nd Birthday:
1. John Tavares 118 assists, 202 points
2. Mathew Barzal 89 assists, 121 points
Barzal's 22nd birthday is not until May.
Anders Lee has 138 career goals, leaving him one goal behind Kyle Okposo. Okposo is 2nd on the Islander goal-scoring list among American-born players, trailing only Pat LaFontaine (287).
Barry Trotz recorded his 783rd career win, breaking a tie with Al Arbour for 4th place on the all-time list.
Among active coaches, Barry Trotz has coached the most games and is 2nd to Ken Hitchcock in wins. Trotz' NHL record is 783-581-60-138 in 1562 games.
Most Coaching Wins
1. Scotty Bowman 1244
2. Joel Quenneville 890
3. Ken Hitchcock 832
4. Barry Trotz 783
5. Al Arbour 782
Most Games Coached
1. Scotty Bowman 2141
2. Joel Quenneville 1636
3. Al Arbour 1607
4. Barry Trotz 1562
5. Ken Hitchcock 1555
Trotz will catch Al Arbour in games coached on Opening Night next season. If Quenneville doesn't return to coaching Trotz would pass him sometime in December 2019.
This Season vs. Last Season
This Season: 21-13-4 (46 points), with 114 goals scored and 102 goals allowed (includes SO winners)
Last Season: 20-14-4 (44 points), with 135 goals scored and 133 goals allowed (includes SO winners)
First Things First
The Isles are 12-5-4 when scoring first and are 9-8-0 when allowing the opening goal.
The Isles are 4-8-1 when they outshoot their opponents, 0-1-0 when the shots are even and 17-4-3 when they are outshot.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 21-13-4 overall; 9-5-3 at home (2-0-1 on Long Island and 7-5-2 in Brooklyn) and 12-8-1 on the road. The Isles will play 21 games in Uniondale and 20 games in Brooklyn this season.
Buffalo is 21-13-6 overall; 12-5-3 at home and 9-8-3 on the road.
By Division & Conference
The Isles are 10-3-1 in Division games and 11-10-3 in games versus other divisions. The Isles are 15-5-4 against the East and 6-8-0 against the West.
In the Nets
Robin Lehner made 39 saves; he improved to 9-6-3 on the season and 5-4-0 in his career against Buffalo.
Carter Hutton made 30 saves but falls to 13-12-3 on the season and 1-1-0 in his career against the Isles.
The Isles were 1-2 on the power play in 3:42 of PP time; Buffalo was 0-2 on the power play in 4:00 of PP time.
The Isles are 14-1-1 when they score at least one power play goal and 7-12-3 when they do not. The Isles are 8-9-3 when they allow at least one power play goal and 12-4-1 when they do not.
Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 19-1-1 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 2-12-3 when they do not.
One Goal Games
The Isles are 7-2-4 in games decided by a single goal including 3-2 in regulation. They are 2-1 in games decided in overtime and are 2-3 in shootouts. The Isles are 3-4 in games in which an empty-net goal turns a 1 goal game into a 2-goal game.
The Isles are 4-1-0 in the front half and 5-0-0 in the back half. The next back-to-back is January 12th vs. the Rangers and January 13th vs. Tampa Bay.
Tired vs. Rested
• The Isles are 2-0-0 when both teams played the night before.
• The Isles are 2-0-1 when they are rested, and their opponents are not.
• The Isles are 4-0-0 when their opponents are rested, and the Isles are not.
• The Isles are 13-13-3 when both teams are rested.
Isles: Ryan Pulock (22:22); Buffalo: Rasmus Ristolainen (25:06)
Brock Nelson led Isles forwards with 20:58 of ice-time.
Isles record by ice-time leader: Ryan Pulock (11-6-3), Nick Leddy (6-6-1), Scott Mayfield (4-1-0).
Isles 26,Buffalo 31 (47%).
Josh Bailey won 6 of 10 for the Isles; Jeff Skinner won 4 of 5 for Buffalo.
Face-offs by period: 1st period 10/16; 2nd period 11/20; 3rd period 5/21x
Face-offs by strength: Even strength: 22/46, Power play 3/5, Penalty kill 1/6.
Isles 12 (Matt Martin & Cal Clutterbuck -3)
Buffalo 10 (Rasmus Ristolainen-5)
There were no fights. Season total –11 (Scott Mayfield -4, Ross Johnston-3, Josh Bailey, Johnny Boychuk, Anders Lee, Matt Martin).
The Isles blocked 16 shots (Adam Pelech – 6)
For the Corsi Crowd
All situations: Isles 56, Buffalo 65
5-on-5 Isles 40, Buffalo 53
Isles: Nick Leddy +3
Buffalo: Rasmus Ristolainen +17
The Isles are 18-12-4 in night games and 3-1-0 in matinees. The next matinee is on January 12th vs. the Rangers.
Anders Lee 156, Brock Nelson 133, Mathew Barzal 120
(Andrew Ladd – IR), (Thomas Hickey- IR), (Jordan Eberle-IR), (Cal Clutterbuck-INJ), Luca Sbisa, Tom Kuhnhackl
Total games lost: 73
The Isles have not yet scored in the final two minutes of regulation to either tie or take the lead.
Late Goals Allowed
The Isles have allowed a goal four times in the final two minutes of regulation to either tie or win a game:
10/4 – CAR Hurricanes – Jordan Staal tied game (18:25), but Isles won in overtime.
11/8 – TB Lightning – Tyler Johnson scored the winning goal (18:34)
11/23 – NJ Devils – Marcus Johansson tied game (19:49), but Isles won in overtime.
12/15- DET Red Wings – Thomas Vanek tied game (18:57), but Isles won in a shootout.
12/8 vs DET Red Wings – Red Wings goal overturned after successful Isles challenge.
12/20 vs VEG Golden Knights – Golden Knights goal overturned after successful Isles challenge.
The Isles are 4-3-0 when trailing in a game by a 2-0 score, defeating NYR (11/15), CBJ (12/1), DET (12/8) and OTT (12.28); all four wins have been in regulation.
The Isles are 8-1-1 when scoring the game's first two goals.
All-time Islander Leader Boards:
Games Played (skaters)
1. Bryan Trottier 1123 *** 2. Denis Potvin 1060 *** 3. Bob Nystrom 900 *** 4. Clark Gillies 872 ***
5. Bob Bourne 814***6. Josh Bailey 753
1. Mike Bossy 573 *** 2. Bryan Trottier 500 *** 3. Denis Potvin 310 …
16. Mariusz Czerkawski 145 *** 17. Kyle Okposo 139 *** 18. Anders Lee 138 ***19. Josh Bailey 132…
24. Mark Parrish, Matt Moulson and Steve Thomas 118 *** 27. Ray Ferraro 116 *** 28. Brock Nelson 112
1. Bryan Trottier 853 *** 2. Denis Potvin 742 *** 3. Mike Bossy 553…
12. Pat LaFontaine 279 *** 13. Bobby Nystrom 278 *** 14. Josh Bailey 275
1. Bryan Trottier 1353 *** 2. Mike Bossy 1126 *** 3. Denis Potvin 1052…
12. Patrick Flatley 488 *** 13. Billy Harris 443 *** 14. Josh Bailey 407
Games Played (Goalies)
1. Billy Smith 674 *** 2. Rick DiPietro 318 *** 3. Glenn Resch 282 …
7. Glenn Healy 176 *** 8. Thomas Greiss 142
1. Billy Smith 304 *** 2. Glenn Resch 157 *** 3. Rick DiPietro 130*** 4. Kelly Hrudey 108***
5. Jaroslav Halak 88 *** 6. Rollie Melanson 77*** 7. Thomas Greiss 74
Season Series Stats
The Isles lead the season series one game to none (and 2 points to 0). The Isles will return to Buffalo on February 12th and welcome the Sabres to Nassau Coliseum on March 30.
This was the 6th time that the Isles have provided the opposition for the traditional "Pucks and Tux" game in Buffalo; the Isles have won the last five (5-1-0 overall).
On the Farm
The Sound Tigers closed out 2018 with three straight wins and are 21-9-4-1 on the season. Bridgeport, who has not lost in regulation on home ice since its opener, has earned points in 21 of their last 25 games (17-4-3-1). The Sound Tigers next play on Wednesday in Rochester.
Leaders: Goals: Michael Dal Colle 16 ; Assists: Sebastian Aho/Joshua Ho-Sang 20; Points: Dal Colle 28. Goalies: Jeremy Smith 11-5-1 (2.67 GAA); Christopher Gibson 10-4-4 (3.06 GAA)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 3rd – CHICAGO AT ISLANDERS AT NASSAU COLISEUM 7:30PM
[NBCSN (NHL Live pre-game at 6:30pm), WRCN 103.9FM, 88.7 WRHU-FM, Radio.com]
The Isles open 2019 with a nationally televised game against the Blackhawks at the Coliseum. It's the fourth of 21 Islander games to be played at the Coliseum this season.
The Isles have won only once of the last seven games from Chicago, a 7-2 win in the Windy City last city that was highlighted by five points from Ryan Pulock.
Chicago, who was the opponent for the first game at Barclays Center, is one of the few Western Conference teams that has had success in Brooklyn, winning all three games (including the first game in overtime). The Isles' last home win over the Hawks was on December 13, 2014 in their final visit to the Coliseum.
Brendan Burke and AJ Mleczko will be on the call for NBCSN.
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