By Eric Hornick
Isles 2, Montreal 1
Anders Lee converted a fabulous pass from Mathew Barzal for the winning goal with 2:57 to play and as Thomas Greiss made 33 saves for his team-leading 21st victory the Isles improved to 4-1-0 in their last five games with a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens before a crowd of 13,274 at Nassau Coliseum.
Lee's goal was the first for an Islander forward in 184:34, not including empty-netters for Casey Cizikas and for Lee. Lee now has 99 goals over the last three seasons and 149 in his career; it's the fourth time in the last five seasons he has tallied at last 25 goals.
The Isles remain two points behind Washington (who beat Philadelphia) for the Metro Division lead. Pittsburgh's win in Buffalo keeps the Penguins two points behind the Isles. The Isles are now six points ahead of Carolina and eight points ahead of Columbus; those teams face each other on Friday night. Columbus remains in the 2nd Wild Card with 79 points (having now played one fewer game than Montreal).
With tonight's results, the Isles' magic number to clinch a playoff spot is reduced to 15; their magic number to win a division for the first time since 1987-88 is now 25.
Adam Pelech (5) Anthony Beauvillier 01:20 MTL 0,NYI 1
Jordie Benn (5) Paul Byron, Christian Folin 18:10 MTL 1,NYI 1
Anders Lee (25) Mathew Barzal 17:03 MTL 1,NYI 2
The Isles are 27-10-3 in their last 40 games and have moved a season-high 19 games over .500; it's the first time since April 9, 2016 (45-26-10) that they have been 19 games over. …Adam Pelech opened the scoring; he is 2-2-4 in the last four games.… The Isles have surpassed last season's win and point total; including shootout winners they have scored 23 fewer goals and allowed 83 fewer goals than last year's first 70 games… The Isles have 48 points at home and 41 points on the road … The Isles did not score a power play goal for the 10th straight game (0-22); their power play falls to 4-49 in games played at the Coliseum… With their goals tonight, the Isles have scored 66 goals in the 1st period, 60 goals in the 2nd period, and 67 goals in the third period… Anders Lee has seven goals in the last 13 games…Jordan Benn's goal was the first allowed by the Isles in 120:44.
Metro Playoff Watch
1. Caps 91 points/71 games/38 ROW (Saturday at Tampa Bay)
2. Isles 89 points/70 games/37 ROW (Saturday at Detroit)
3. Penguins 87 points/71 games/38 ROW (Saturday vs. St. Louis)
4. Hurricanes 83 points/69 games/37 ROW (Friday at Columbus)
5. Blue Jackets 81 points/70 games/38 ROW (Friday vs. Carolina)
6. Philadelphia 76 points/70 games/32 ROW (Friday at Toronto)
Also in Wild Card Race
Canadiens 81 points/71 games/35 ROW (Saturday vs. Chicago)
The Blue Jackets currently hold the second Wild Card, so five Metropolitan Division teams are currently in playoff spots.
Up, Up and Away
The Isles are 19 games over NHL-.500 for the first time in three seasons. In the 2014-15 season, the Isles got as high as 22 games over NHL-.500 but they have not been 20 games over .500 this late in the season in the post-Cup era. The still-champion Islanders ended the 1983-84 season with a 50-26-4 record.
Look at Me, I'm Anders Lee
Anders Lee now has four seasons of at least 25 goals. He is only the 10th player in club history to do so, joining Bryan Trottier (12), Mike Bossy (10), Clark Gillies/John Tavares (7), Pat LaFontaine/Brent Sutter (6), and Bob Bourne/Denis Potvin/John Tonelli (4).
Thomas Greiss now has 21 wins. He is only the fourth goalie in club history to have at least three 21-win seasons, joining Billy Smith (6), Glenn Resch (5) and Rick DiPietro (4).
Power Play Drought
The Isles have now gone 10 games without a power play goal. This is the third time in Isles history that they have gone at least 10 games (in a single season) without connecting on the power play:
• 12 - November/December 1972
• 12 – November /December 2010
• 10 – February/March 2019 CURRENT
The Isles went ten games over two seasons without a power play goal in 1973, including Al Arbour's first seven games behind the Islander bench.
Strength in the Nets
Thomas Greiss has won 21 games and Robin Lehner has won 20. It's the 1st time in the last 35 years that the Isles have gotten at least 20 wins from two different goalies. Billy Smith won 23 games and Roland Melanson won 20 in 1983-84.
Best Goals Against Average by An Islander in a Season
1. Chico Resch 1975-76 2.08
2. Robin Lehner 2018-19 2.19
3. Thomas Greiss 2018-19 2.22
4. Chico Resch 1975-76 2.28
5. Jaroslav Halak 2015-16 2.30
Best Save Percentage by an Islander in a Season
1. Thomas Greiss 2018-19 .928 (.9282)
2. Chico Resch 1975-76 .928 (.9276)
3. Robin Lehner 2018-19 .927 (.9269)
4. Thomas Greiss 2015-16 .925
The Best (Fourth) Line in Hockey
The Isles improve to 29-12-6 when Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck all play. They are 12-10-1 when one or more miss a game.
For the + Column
Casey Cizikas was EVEN today and is now +26 on the season. In the last 30 seasons, only two Islander forwards have finished +25 or higher.
1. Marty McInnis 1993-94 +31
2. Benoit Hogue 1991-92 +30
3. Casey Cizikas 2018-19 +26
4. Ray Ferraro 1991-92 +25
5. Ryan Strome 2014-15 +23
Trent Hunter 2003-04 +23
Most Goals by an Isle With 0 PP goals
• 22- Bob Nystrom (81-82), Butch Goring (83-84), Randy Wood (87-88)
• 21- Garry Howatt (75-76), Brent Sutter (82-83)
• 20- John Tonelli (85-86), Jason Chimera (16-17)
• 19- Steve Tambellini (80-81), Casey Cizikas (18-19)
It's Good to be Home
The Isles are 10-5-2 on Coliseum ice; they are averaging 96.4% of capacity on Long Island (including ten sellouts).
Most Points Thru 70 Games (Post-Cup Era)
• 90: 2014-15
• 89: 2018-19
• 85: 2015-16
Most Points Thru 33 Road Games
• 43: 1976-77
• 41: 2018-19
• 41: 1980-81
• 40: 1981-82
• 39: 1975-76
• 39: 1978-79
• 39: 2014-15
Most Points Thru 37 Home Games (Post-Cup Era)
• 52: 1984-85
• 52: 2015-16
• 50: 2003-04
• 48: 2018-19
• 48: 1985-86
• 48: 1987-88
• 47: 2014-15
• 47: 2016-17
Fewest Goals Allowed Thru 70 Games (Includes SO)
• 165 1975-76
• 168 1976-77
• 169 2018-19
The Isles are 10-3-2 in their last 15 road games and 13-4-2 in their last 19 road games. The 28 points match the most that the Isles have earned in any single-season stretch of 19 road games in their history (done several times).
Worst to First
The Isles allowed the most goals in the NHL last season. Only once in NHL history has a team allowed the most goals in one season and the fewest in the next; the Ottawa Senators did so in 1917-18 and 1918-19. Here's where the Isles are this season:
Fewest Goals Allowed This Season (Including SO goals)
The Jennings Trophy is awarded based on goals allowed including shootout goals.
1. ISLES 169
2. Dallas 173
3. Boston 184
Fewest Goals Allowed This Season (excluding SO goals)
1. ISLES 164
2. Dallas 173
3. Boston 181
Among active coaches, Barry Trotz has coached the most games and is 2nd to Ken Hitchcock in wins. Trotz' NHL record is 803-590-60-141 in 1,594 games.
Most Coaching Wins
1. Scotty Bowman 1,244
2. Joel Quenneville 890
3. Ken Hitchcock 844
4. Barry Trotz 803
5. Al Arbour 782
Most Games Coached
1. Scotty Bowman 2,141
2. Joel Quenneville 1,636
3. Al Arbour 1,607
4. Barry Trotz 1,594
5. Ken Hitchcock 1,585
Trotz, who will coach his 1,600th game on March 24th, 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: 41-22-7 (89 points), with 202 goals scored and 169 goals allowed (includes SO winners)
Last Season: 30-30-10 (70 points), with 225 goals scored and 252 goals allowed (includes SO winners)
The Isles have allowed 83 fewer goals, a decrease of 32.9% as compared to last season.
Last Season (final): 35-37-10 (80 points), with 264 goals scored and 296 goals allowed (includes SO winners)
First Things First
The Isles are 26-9-5 when scoring first and are 15-13-2 when allowing the opening goal (which includes a 1-0 shootout loss).
Highest Percentage of Games Won (Post-Cup Era) Allowing First Goal
• .545 (18-13-2) 2014-15
• .500 (15-13-2) 2018-19
• .410 (14-21-4) 1985-86
The Isles are 13-13-1 when they outshoot their opponents, 0-2-0 when the shots are even and 28-7-6 when they are outshot. [The 28 wins when outshot are a franchise record; they won 25 in both 1983-84 and 2017-18.]
Home and Road
The Islanders are 41-22-7 overall; 22-11-4 at home (9-5-2 on Long Island and 12-6-2 in Brooklyn) and 19-11-3 on the road. All their remaining regular season home games are at the Nassau Coliseum.
Montreal is 37-27-7 overall; 20-11-4 at home and 17-16-3 on the road.
By Division & Conference
The Isles are 16-8-1 in Division games and 25-14-6 in games versus other divisions. The Isles are 26-12-5 against the East and 15-10-2 against the West.
In the Nets
Thomas Greiss made 33 saves; he improves to 21-11-2 on the season and 4-3-2 in his career against Montreal.
Carey Price made 36 saves but falls to 29-21-5 on the season and 11-6-4 against the Islanders.
The Isles were 0-2 on the power play in 3:58 of PP time; Montreal was 0-2 on the power play in 3:58 of PP time.
The Isles are 22-2-2 when they score at least one power play goal and 19-20-5 when they do not. The Isles are 13-13-5 when they allow at least one power play goal and 28-9-2 when they do not.
Usually Need Three
The Isles are 33-2-2 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 8-20-5 when they do not.
One Goal Games
The Isles are 16-4-7 in games decided by a single goal including 7-4 in regulation. They are 5-2 in games decided in overtime and are 4-5 in shootouts. The Isles are 6-6 in games in which an empty-net goal turns a 1-goal game into a 2-goal game.
Tired vs. Rested
• The Isles are 4-0-0 when both teams played the night before.
• The Isles are 6-0-1 when they are rested, and their opponents are not.
• The Isles are 5-1-1 when their opponents are rested, and the Isles are not.
• The Isles are 26-21-5 when both teams are rested.
Isles: Scott Mayfield (21:46); Montreal: Jeff Petry (24:59)
Valtteri Filppula led Isles forwards with 17:00 of ice-time.
Isles record by ice-time leader: Ryan Pulock (19-11-5), Nick Leddy (14-9-2), Scott Mayfield (7-1-0), Johnny Boychuk (0-1-0), Adam Pelech (1-0-0).
Isles 31, Montreal 31 (50%).
Casey Cizikas won 10 of 17 for the Isles (including 7 of 8 in the third period); Philip Danault won 11 of 20 for Montreal.
Face-offs by period: 1st period 9/19; 2nd period 10/24; 3rd period 12/19.
Face-offs by strength: Even strength: 26/55, Power play 2/3, Penalty kill 3/4.
Isles 31 (Leo Komarov -5)
Montreal 24 (Andrew Shaw -5)
There were no fights. Season total –14 (Scott Mayfield -4, Ross Johnston-3, Matt Martin -2, Anders Lee- 2, Josh Bailey, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Eberle).
The Isles blocked 10 shots (Nick Leddy and Josh Bailey -2)
For the Corsi Crowd
All situations: Isles 69, Montreal 58
5-on-5 Isles 30, Montreal 53
Isles: Ryan Pulock +18
Montreal: Two with +3
The Isles are 7-3-1 in the front half and 9-1-1 in the back half. The next back-to-back is March 16-17 in Detroit and Minnesota and the final back-to-back of the season is the following week (March 23-24) in Montreal and vs. Arizona.
The Isles won the first nine back-ends of back-to-backs this season, establishing a new club record for consecutive wins in back ends, but are 0-1-1 in the last two back-ends.
Night and Day
The Isles are 35-19-7 in night games and 6-3-0 in matinees. The next matinee is on March 16th in Detroit. The final two matinees are the following weekend (March 23rd in Philly and March 24th vs. Arizona (at the Coliseum).
Anders Lee 188, Brock Nelson 165, Mathew Barzal 152. Four other Isles: Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Josh Bailey and Leo Komarov have appeared in every game this season.
(Johnny Boychuk -INJ), Tom Kuhnhackl, Michael Dal Colle, Luca Sbisa, Dennis Seidenberg, Ross Johnston
Total games lost: 134
The Isles are 6-5-1 when trailing in a game by a 2-0 score, defeating NYR (11/15), CBJ (12/1), DET (12/8), OTT (12/28), STL (1/5) and COL (2/9 - OT), while earning a point vs. EDM (2/21 – OTL).
The Isles are 15-1-1 when scoring the game's first two goals.
The Isles have scored once in the final two minutes of regulation to either tie or take the lead:
1/10- NY Rangers-Josh Bailey scored the winning goal (18:34)
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.
1/8 vs CAR Hurricanes – Isles goal overturned after successful Hurricane challenge
2/5 vs BOS Bruins – Isles goal overturned after successful Bruin challenge.
2/28 vs TOR Maple Leafs – Maple Leaf goal overturned after successful Isles challenge.
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 785
1. Mike Bossy 573 *** 2. Bryan Trottier 500 *** 3. Denis Potvin 310 …
14. Patrick Flatley 160 *** 15. Anders Lee 149 …
17. Mariusz Czerkawski 145 *** 18. Kyle Okposo 139 ***19. Josh Bailey 138…
21. Duane Sutter 121 *** 22. Brock Nelson 120
1. Bryan Trottier 853 *** 2. Denis Potvin 742 *** 3. Mike Bossy 553…
9. Stefan Persson 317 *** 10. Bob Bourne 304 *** 11. Josh Bailey 289 …
25. David Volek 154 *** 26. Mariusz Czerkawski and Nick Leddy 150
1. Bryan Trottier 1353 *** 2. Mike Bossy 1126 *** 3. Denis Potvin 1052…
12. Patrick Flatley 488 *** 13. Billy Harris 443 *** 14. Josh Bailey 427…
23. Ed Westfall 286 *** 24. Jason Blake 258 *** 25. Anders Lee 252
Games Played (Goalies)
1. Billy Smith 674 *** 2. Rick DiPietro 318 *** 3. Glenn Resch 282 …
7. Glenn Healy 176 *** 8. Thomas Greiss 157
1. Billy Smith 304 *** 2. Glenn Resch 157 *** 3. Rick DiPietro 130*** 4. Kelly Hrudey 108***
5. Jaroslav Halak 88 *** 6. Thomas Greiss 83
1. Glenn Resch 25 ***2. Billy Smith 22 *** 3. Rick DiPietro 16 *** 4. Tommy Salo 14***
5. Jaroslav Halak 12 *** 6. Thomas Greiss 10
Season Series Stats
The season series is tied one game to one (Montreal has earned 3 points to the Isles' 2). The teams will complete the season series with their only meeting in Montreal on March 21st.
This was only the Isles' second win in their last ten home games against the Habs (2-6-2); they are 5-11-2 in the last 18 overall against Montreal.
On the Farm
Bridgeport has won eight of their last nine games, is 12-2-1-0 in their last 15 games (including three OT wins and three shootout wins) and 36-19-5-2 on the season.
The Sound Tigers conclude their 5-game road trip in Hershey on Friday. Bridgeport will begin an eight-game homestand on Sunday against Springfield.
Leaders: Goals: Steve Bernier 20; Assists: Chris Bourque 33; Points: Chris Bourque 46; +/-: Otto Koivula +15. Goalies: Jeremy Smith 18-10-3 (2.91 GAA); Christopher Gibson 18-9-4 (2.89 GAA)
SATURDAY, MARCH 16th – ISLANDERS AT DETROIT 1:00PM
[MSG+ (Pre-game at 12:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM,WRCN 103.9FM, Radio.com]
The Isles head to Detroit to begin a two-game road trip on Saturday afternoon against the Red Wings. Detroit was mathematically eliminated from playoff competition on Thursday, when they surrendered a 3-0 lead in a home-ice loss to Tampa Bay. The Wings are 1-9-3 in their last 13 games.
The Isles rallied from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 win on December 8th in Detroit and then earned the shootout win against the Red Wings on December 15th. That win snapped a 2-4-2 stretch and became the first game of their current 27-10-3 run.
The Isles have won four straight from Detroit since last February, but all four were decided by a single goal. The Wings went 0-1-3 in those four games. The Isles have won both of their games in the Red Wings' new home, Little Caesars Arena.
Since the Capitals don't play again until Saturday night, the Isles would skate off the ice on Saturday in first place if they can win the game in regulation or overtime. No Islander team has been in first place this late in the season since the Isles won the Patrick Division in 1987-88.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since January 21, 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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