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The Skinny: Isles 3, Pittsburgh 1. Isles SWEEP series, 4-0.

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Eastern Conference First Round Game 4 Isles 3, Pittsburgh 1  It's on to Round 2.  For the second...

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Skinny: Isles 5, Buffalo 1. Isles clinch playoff berth!

"The Skinny"

By Eric Hornick

Game 79
Isles 5, Buffalo 1    

Clinched.

The Islanders are headed back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Anthony Beauvillier scored twice (despite being stopped on a penalty shot) and Robin Lehner made 31 saves as the Isles defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-1 before a sellout crowd of 13,917 at Nassau Coliseum. 

The Isles now have 99 points, which is the most through 79 games in the post-Cup era; and they remain three points behind Washington (who beat Tampa Bay). Idle Pittsburgh has 95 points. The Isles and Capitals have three games and Pittsburgh has four games to play.

The Isles' magic number to clinch home-ice is down to five (against Pittsburgh).  It can fall to three on Sunday with a Carolina win over the Penguins.

The Scoring: 
1st Period
Jordan Eberle (18) Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee 07:41 BUF 0,NYI 1

2nd Period
Anthony Beauvillier (17) Devon Toews 08:20 BUF 0,NYI 2
Michael Dal Colle (3) Adam Pelech, Brock Nelson 19:26 BUF 0,NYI 3

3rd Period
Ryan Pulock (9) Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas 00:30 BUF 0,NYI 4
Anthony Beauvillier (18) Josh Bailey, Leo Komarov 06:07 BUF 0,NYI 5
Victor Olofsson (1) Jack Eichel 13:28 BUF 1,NYI 5 PPG

The Skinny   
The Isles are 32-14-3 in their last 49 games…  The Isles have surpassed last season's win and point total; including shootout winners they have scored 31 fewer goals and allowed 96 fewer goals than last year's first 78 games… The Isles have 52 points at home and 47 points on the road; if they can go 1-0-1 in the final two road games they will have their first 50-50 (points at home and on the road since 1981-82) … The Isles have 24 wins at home and 22 wins on the road; it's only the 5th time in franchise history that the Isles have won at least 22 games both at home and on the road (1976-77, 1980-81, 1983-84, 2014-15)… . The Isles finish 9-7-0 in March; they have been above NHL-.500 every month this season… The Isles move 20 games over NHL-.500 for the first time since March 13, 2015...Victor Olofsson, who earned an assist in his NHL debut Wednesday, extended his point streak to two games when he broke Lehner's shutout with 6:32 to play…Jordan Eberle now has four goals in the last four games…Robin Lehner set a new career high with his 24th win...All eighteen Isles were either +1 or +2; the Isles currently have five players who are +20 or better.  The Isles haven't had five players finish a season +20/better since the 1985-86 season, when they had six…Buffalo was 17-7-3 at the end of November but is only 14-30-7 since…The Isles have scored at least five goals in consecutive games for the 2nd time this season [November 13 (Vs. Vancouver) – November 15 (Vs. Rangers)]…The Isles have won 18 of 30 games decided by 3+ goals; they have also won 18 of 30 games decided by 1 goal (18-5-7)…Anders Lee earned his 50th point on the first goal; it was his 22nd assist (tying career high)…Leo Komarov recorded a career-high 19th assist on the final Isle goal…Anthony Beauvillier recorded his 2nd two-goal game of the season; his penalty shot was the first in an Islander game (for either team) this season.

First Times in a Ridiculously Long Time
It had been 17 years since the Isles clinched a playoff spot with a win on home ice (5-4 vs Washington on April 6, 2002) and 29 years since the Isles clinched a playoff spot in March (March 31, 1990 – Isles beat Philly and Uwe Krupp's OT goal for Buffalo over Pittsburgh knocked Isles into playoffs). 

Metro/Wild Card Playoff Watch 
1.x- Caps 102 points/79 games/43 ROW (Monday @ Florida) 
2..x- Isles 99 points/79 games/42 ROW (Monday vs. Toronto)
3. Penguins 95 points/78 games/40 ROW (Sunday vs. Carolina)

Wild Card Race
WC1. Hurricanes 93 points/78 games/41 ROW (Sunday at Pittsburgh)
WC2. Blue Jackets 92 points/78 games/43 ROW (Sunday at Buffalo)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WC3. Canadiens 92 points/79 games/40 ROW (Tuesday vs. Tampa Bay)

Magic Numbers:
The Isles Magic Number to clinch the Division is 10.  The Isles will need to earn one more point than Washington does in game 80 and 81 to have a chance to win the division in game 82.

Isles magic numbers to assure home ice :
5 vs. Pittsburgh
3 vs. Carolina
2 vs. Columbus

Since Pittsburgh and Carolina play on Sunday, one of those numbers will decrease after that game.

Tie Breakers:
Head-to-Head
Isles will need a regulation win in Washington on April 6th to tie this tie-breaker.  Isles have tied the season series with Pittsburgh and won the season series from Carolina. 

Goal Differential
Pittsburgh +33
Washington +31
Isles +29

Top and Bottom 
The Isles can still finish anywhere from 1st to 5th place in the Metro Division and 2nd to 8th place in the Eastern Conference.

22-Game Winner
Thomas Greiss has 22 wins. He is only the fourth goalie in club history to have at least three 22-win seasons, joining Glenn Resch (5), Billy Smith (5), and Rick DiPietro (4).

Streaking Lehner
Robin Lehner has played 271 minutes in his last five appearances, allowing only seven goals, including a shutout.  He has stopped 129 of 136 shots in that span, for a 1.55 GAA and a 94.9 save percentage.

Two Isles Goalies with at least 22 Wins in a Season
1978-79: Chico Resch (26) & Billy Smith (25)
1981-82: Billy Smith (32) & Roland Melanson (22)
2018-19: Robin Lehner (24) & Thomas Greiss (22)

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. Chico Resch 1975-76 2.28
4. Jaroslav Halak 2015-16 2.30
5. Thomas Greiss 2018-19 2.31

Best Save Percentage by an Islander in a Season 
1. Chico Resch 1975-76 .928 (.92757)
2. Robin Lehner 2018-19 .928 (.92755)
3. Thomas Greiss 2018-19 .926 (.92554)
4. Thomas Greiss 2015-16 .925

The Best (Fourth) Line in Hockey
The Isles are 33-15-6 when Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck all play and are 13-11-1 when one or more miss a game.  

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), Casey Cizikas (18-19)

It's Good to be Home
The Isles are 12-6-2 on Coliseum ice; they are averaging 97.0% of capacity on Long Island (including 13 sellouts).  
 
Most Points Thru 79 Games (Post-Cup Era)
99: 2018-19
98: 2014-15
97: 2015-16
The most points that the Isles have earned in a full season in the Post-Cup era is 101 in 2014-15.

Most Points Thru 39 Road Games (Post Cup Era)
47: 2014-15
47: 2018-19
43: 2001-02
41: 2015-16
The most road points that the Isles have earned in a full season in the Post-Cup era is 49 in 2014-15.

Most Points Thru 40 Home Games (Post-Cup Era)
55: 1984-85
55: 2015-16
54: 2003-04
54: 1987-88
52: 2018-19
51: 1985-86
51: 2014-15
The most home points that the Isles have earned in a full season in the Post-Cup era is 55 (three times).

Fewest Goals Allowed Thru 79 Games (Includes SO)
185 1975-76 (no overtime games)
191 1976-77 (no overtime games)
193 2018-19 (186 in regulation, two in overtime, and five in shootouts)
The Isles allowed 190 goals in the 80-game 1975-76 season (2.38/game). The Isles have allowed 2.33 goals in regulation and 2.42 goals including OT/SO this season.

Road Warriors
The Isles are 13-6-2 in their last 21 road games and 16-7-2 in their last 25 road games.    

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 193 in 79 games
2. Dallas 194 in 79 games 
3. Boston 201 in 79 games 

Fewest Goals Allowed This Season (excluding SO goals)
1. ISLES 188 in 79 games
2. Dallas 192 in 79 games
3. Boston 198 in 79 games 

Coach Trotz
Among active coaches, Barry Trotz has coached the most games and is 2nd to Ken Hitchcock in wins. Trotz' NHL record is 808-594-60-141 in 1,603 games. 

Most Coaching Wins
1. Scotty Bowman  1,244
2. Joel Quenneville  890
3. Ken Hitchcock    848
4. Barry Trotz    808
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   1,603
5. Ken Hitchcock   1,594

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: 46-26-7 (99 points), with 222 goals scored and 192 goals allowed (includes SO winners)
Last Season: 32-36-10 (74 points), with 253 goals scored and 288 goals allowed (includes SO winners)
The Isles have allowed 92 fewer goals, a decrease of 33.3% 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 28-9-5 when scoring first and are 17-17-2 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
.472 (17-17-2) 2018-19
.410 (14-21-4) 1985-86

The Shots
Isles    16-12-10=38
Buffalo 8-12-12=32
The Isles are 16-14-1 when they outshoot their opponents, 0-2-0 when the shots are even and 30-10-6 when they are outshot. [The 30 wins when outshot are a franchise record; they won 25 in both 1983-84 and 2017-18.]

The Isles lead the NHL in wins when outshot.  Three teams won 30 games last year when outshot, but nobody has won more since 2015-16 when Ottawa won 33.

Home and Road
The Islanders are 46-26-7 overall; 24-12-4 at home (12-6-2 on Long Island and 12-6-2 in Brooklyn) and 22-14-3 on the road.  
Buffalo is 31-37-10 overall; 20-13-5 at home and 11-24-5 on the road.  

By Division & Conference
The Isles are 17-9-1 in Division games and 29-17-6 in games versus other divisions.  The Isles are 28-16-5 against the East and 18-10-2 against the West.  

In the Nets
Robin Lehner made 31 saves and improves to 24-12-5 on the season and 3-2-0 in his career against Buffalo.   
Carter Hutton made 33 saves but falls to 17-24-5 on the season and 1-2-0 against the Islanders.   

Power Plays
The Isles were 0-1 in 2:00 of PP time; Buffalo was 1-2 on the power play in 2:22 of PP time.

The Isles are 24-2-2 when they score at least one power play goal and 22-24-5 when they do not.  The Isles are 17-15-5 when they allow at least one power play goal and 29-11-2 when they do not.

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 37-2-2 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 9-24-5 when they do not.  

One Goal Games
The Isles are 18-5-7 in games decided by a single goal including 8-5 in regulation. They are 6-2 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.

Greatest Percentage of 1-goal games won 
1981-82 -- .800
1982-83 &1976-77 -- .667
1991-92 -- .619
2014-15 -- .605
2018-19 -- .600

Tired vs. Rested 
The Isles are 6-0-0 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 29-25-5 when both teams are rested. 

Ice-time Leaders
Isles: Ryan Pulock (23:15); Buffalo: Brandon Montour (23:52)
Brock Nelson led Isles forwards with 17:41 of ice-time

Isles record by ice-time leader: Ryan Pulock (22-14-5), Nick Leddy (14-9-2), Scott Mayfield (8-1-0), Johnny Boychuk (0-1-0), Adam Pelech (1-0-0), Mathew Barzal (0-1-0).

Face-offs
Isles 23, Buffalo 29 (44%).  

Leo Komarov won 5 of 9 for the Isles; Johan Larsson won 10 of 15 for Buffalo.  
Face-offs by period: 1st period 10/18; 2nd period 9/18; 3rd period 4/16.
Face-offs by strength: Even strength: 21/46, Power play 2/4, Penalty kill 0/2.

Hit Count
Isles 25 (Casey Cizikas -6)  
Buffalo 26 (William Borgen -6)
   
Fights
There were no fights. Season total –16 (Scott Mayfield -4, Ross Johnston-3, Matt Martin -3, Anders Lee- 2, Josh Bailey, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Eberle, Thomas Hickey).  
 
Blocked Shots
The Isles blocked 16 shots (Three with 3) 

For the Corsi Crowd 
All situations: Isles 67, Buffalo 59
5-on-5 Isles 62, Buffalo 53

5-on-5 leaders:
Isles: Devon Toews +14 
Buffalo: Rasmus Dahlin & Lawrence Pilut +7

Back-to-Backs
The Isle played 13 sets of back-to-backs this season. The Isles went 8-4-1 in the front half and 11-1-1 in the back half. 

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. 

Night and Day
The Isles are 38-22-7 in night games and 8-4-0 in matinees. The remaining games are all at night.

Ironmen
Anders Lee 197, Brock Nelson 174, Mathew Barzal 161.  Four other Isles: Ryan Pulock (134), Josh Bailey (82), Leo Komarov (81 overall, 79 with Isles) and Nick Leddy (79) have appeared in every game this season.

Century Club
Ryan Pulock is only the 8th defenseman in Islander history to play at least 134 consecutive regular season games:
1. Denis Potvin 11/29/1975-1/17/1979 262
2. Bryan McCabe 10/7/1995-2/4/1998 220 (*) (**)
3. Gerry Hart 3/1/1975-11/22/1977 198
4. Andrew MacDonald 12/19/2011- 3/2/2014 164 (**)
5. Nick Leddy 10/23/2016 – 3/26/2018 153
6. Janne Niinimaa 3/13/2004-1/7/2006 136 (**)
7. Ryan Pulock 12/29/2017 – CURRENT (134)
    Ken Morrow 3/1/1980-12/29/1981 134 (*)
9. Mark Streit 10/8/2011-4/26/2013 130
10. Calvin deHaan 4/7/2016- 12/16/2017 118
11. Travis Hamonic 2/24/2012-1/12/2014 117
12. Travis Hamonic 11/24/2010– 2/4/2012 113 (*)
13. Jean Potvin 10/23/1975-1/2/1977 110
14. Kenny Jonsson 12/26/1996-2/4/1998 104
15. Thomas Hickey 4/26/2013- 11/22/2014 103
 (*) Start of NHL career.
(**) Entire career with Islanders

Scratches
(Valtteri Filppula -INJ), (Andrew Ladd -INJ), Thomas Hickey, (Tanner Fritz- INJ), Luca Sbisa, Dennis Seidenberg, Ross Johnston
Total games lost: 145

Late Heroes
The Isles have scored three times 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)
3/29- WPG Jets – Casey Cizikas scored the tying goal (18:14); Jordan Eberle scored the winner (18:47)

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.

Offside Challenges
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.

Comeback Kings
The Isles are 7-8-1 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), COL (2/9 - OT), and WPG (3/28) while earning a point vs. EDM (2/21 – OTL).

The Isles are 17-1-1 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 794

Goals
1. Mike Bossy 573 *** 2. Bryan Trottier 500 *** 3. Denis Potvin 310 …
14. Patrick Flatley 160 *** 15. Anders Lee 152 …
17. Mariusz Czerkawski 145 *** 18. Kyle Okposo 139 ***19. Josh Bailey 140…
20. Jason Blake 127 *** 21.  Brock Nelson 123

Assists
1. Bryan Trottier 853 *** 2. Denis Potvin 742 *** 3. Mike Bossy 553…
9. Stefan Persson 317 *** 10. Bob Bourne 304 *** 11.  Josh Bailey 292 …
26. Ziggy Palffy 163 *** 27. David Volek 154 *** 28. Nick Leddy 151

Points
1. Bryan Trottier 1353 *** 2. Mike Bossy 1126 *** 3. Denis Potvin 1052…
12. Patrick Flatley 488 *** 13. Billy Harris 443 *** 14. Josh Bailey 432…
24.. Ed Westfall 286 *** 25. Steve Thomas and  Jason Blake 258 *** 27. Anders Lee 257

Games Played (Goalies)
1. Billy Smith 674 *** 2. Rick DiPietro 318 *** 3. Glenn Resch 282 …
6. Jaroslav Halak 177 *** 7. Glenn Healy 176 *** 8. Thomas Greiss 161

Wins (Goalie)
1. Billy Smith 304 *** 2. Glenn Resch 157 *** 3. Rick DiPietro 130*** 4. Kelly Hrudey 108***
5. Jaroslav Halak 88 *** 6.  Thomas Greiss 84

Shutouts (Goalie)
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 teams win the season series 2 games to 1 (and 4 points to 2).   

The Isles are 7-2-2 in their last eleven games against Buffalo and have beaten in regulation only three times in the last 20 games between the clubs.

On the Farm  
Jeff Kubiak and Steve Bernier scored third period goals to break a scoreless tie as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers earned a split of a 2-game series with Charlotte with a 2-1 victory over the Checkers.  

The Sound Tigers are 10-0-1-0 in their last 11 games at home; their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now three. The Sound Tigers host Hershey on Sunday afternoon before concluding their eight-game homestand against Wilkes Barre-Scranton on Tuesday morning.

Bridgeport is 12-3-1-0 in their last 16 games, 16-4-2-0 in their last 22 games and 40-21-6-2 on the season.  

Leaders:  Goals: Steve Bernier 22; Assists: Chris Bourque 36; Points: Chris Bourque 51; +/-: Jeff Kubiak +16.  Goalies: Jeremy Smith 21-10-4 (2.66 GAA); Christopher Gibson 19-11-4 (2.97 GAA)

Up Next
MONDAY, APRIL 1st –TORONTO AT ISLANDERS AT NASSAU COLISEUM 7:00PM 
[MSG+2 (Pre-game at 6:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM,WRCN 103.9FM, Radio.com] 
The Isles look to complete a sweep of the season series with Toronto Maple Leafs in the regular season home finale.

The Isles have outscored the Leafs 10-1 this season but have not won three straight vs. Toronto, even in multiple seasons, since December 9, 2009 – October 18, 2010.

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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