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Monday, July 27, 2020

The Skinny on the Isles' Regular Season...and a Look Ahead to the Playoffs

"The Skinny" on the 2019-20 Regular Season…and a look ahead to the playoffs!        

By Eric Hornick

The Tradition Continues
In the final regular season edition of The Skinny, I always take a look back at the numbers from that year. The Isles skated off the ice at Rogers Arena in Vancouver at 12:48 AM Eastern Time on the morning of March 11th.  They have not played since.  

That streak will come to an end at 8:00PM on Wednesday as the Isles meet the Rangers in an exhibition game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.  The Isles will then begin their best-of-5 playoff series at 4:00PM on Saturday, August 1st as they face the Florida Panthers.

In the final game the Isles played before the NHL's Pause, JT Miller's shootout goal (the only one scored in the shootout) gave the Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 win over the Islanders, extending the Isles' winless streak to seven games (0-3-4).  It is the first time since February/March 2018 (8 games) that the Isles have gone at least five games without a win. When the season did not restart, it also became the longest winless streak to end a regular season in club history.

The Isles finished the abbreviated campaign 35-23-10. Their 80 points in 68 games is the 4th-highest through 68 games in the Post-Cup era (90 points in 2014-15, 85 points last season and 85 points in 2015-16).

The Skinny        
The Isles went 6-8-5 since the All-Star Break (and only 1-6-2 on the road); they scored 41 goals in the eleven games that they earned points but only eight goals in their eight regulation losses… Mathew Barzal's assist in Vancouver was his 60th point; he is the 2nd-youngest Islander to have three seasons with 60+ points, joining Bryan Trottier…Brock Nelson finished the abbreviated campaign with 26-28-54 totals; it ties his career high in goals and sets a new career high in points. He recorded his 150th career goal in the finale;  he is only the 17th Isle to record 150 goals… The Isles allowed 27 goals in the last seven games and did not have a .900 save percentage in any of them; the team save percentage in that span is .870…

The Shootout
The Isles went 3-3 in the shootout this season; Semyon Varlamov was 2-2 while Thomas Greiss was 1-1. The Isles are 82-67 all-time in shootouts; the 82 wins are an NHL record (Pittsburgh has won 80).

The Injuries
The 4 ½ month gap between regular season and playoffs allowed all of the injured Islanders to return to the ice for Training Camp II.  This included Adam Pelech, who was thought to be lost for the season. 

It's Good to be Home(s)
The Isles played 24 of their 35 home games this season at the Coliseum.  The Isles were 13-8-3 on Coliseum ice where they have sold out seven of the last eight games (and ten games this season).  The Isles went 7-1-3 at Barclays Center this season, losing only their finale in Brooklyn on March 3rd. 

On the Road
The Isles were 15-14-4 on the road this season but were only 3-8-3 in the last 14 games.

Career Years (excluding rookies, and others with limited prior NHL experience)
Despite the shortened season, several Isles had career years in 2019-20:
Mathew Barzal was a career-best +5
Anthony Beauvillier established career highs in assists (21) and points (39), while scoring the first two overtime goals of his career
Casey Cizikas established career highs in shorthanded goals (3) and  shorthanded points (5)
Scott Mayfield established career highs in goals (5) and scored his first career game-winning goal 
Brock Nelson established career highs in points (54), game-winning goals (5) and overtime goals (3)
Devon Toews established career highs in goals (6), assists (22) and points (28)

Leaders:
Games: 7 with 68 
Goals: Brock Nelson -26  (JG Pageau also scored 26)
Assists: Mathew Barzal - 41
Points: Mathew Barzal- 60 
Plus/Minus: Casey Cizikas +12
Pen Mins: Ross Johnston -78
PP Goals: Three with four  (JG Pageau scored 5)
PP Points: Mathew Barzal- 12
SH Goals: Casey Cizikas – 3
SH Points: Casey Cizikas - 5
GW Goals: Anders Lee - 6
OT Goals: Brock Nelson -3
Shots: Anders Lee - 195
Shooting Percentage: Casey Cizikas, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey – 14.9% (JG Pageau: 17.2%)
Average ice-time: Ryan Pulock - 22:24
Face-off Percentages (minimum 300): Derick Brassard – 55.2%

The Finales
The shootout loss in Vancouver technically snaps a six-game win streak in road finales; they are now 25-16-6 all-time in road finales.  The Isles are 4-1-3 in their last eight season finales and are 25-14-8 all-time in their final game of the year. 

Coach Trotz
Barry Trotz is second among active coaches, trailing only Joel Quenneville, in both wins and games. Trotz' NHL record is 845-618-60-151 in 1,674 games and will begin next season just five wins shy of supplanting Ken Hitchcock as the 3rd-winningest coach in NHL history.

Most Coaching Wins
1. Scotty Bowman  1,244
2. Joel Quenneville  925
3. Ken Hitchcock    849
4. Barry Trotz    845
5. Al Arbour    782

Most Games Coached
1. Scotty Bowman   2,141
2. Joel Quenneville 1,705
3. Barry Trotz        1,674
4. Al Arbour 1,607 

The upcoming matchup between the Isles and Panthers will be led by two coaches who have combined for 1,770 wins and 3,379 games.  No other match-up in NHL history has featured two coaches with as much experience.

The previous mark was in the 1993 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals when Al Arbour bested Scotty Bowman's Penguins.  At the time, Arbour had coached 1,522 regular season games, winning 745, while Bowman had won 834 of his 1,440 games coached.  Trotz and Quenneville combine for 191 more wins and 417 more games.

First Things First
The Isles were  23-8-5 when scoring first and were 12-15-5 when allowing the opening goal. The Isles were 6-1-2 in the last nine games they scored first but were 1-9-4 in the last 14 games that they allowed the opening goal.

The Goals (Season)
Isles            57-60-64-8=189 (2.8/game)
Opponents  60-59-64-7=190 (2.8/game)

The Shots (season)
Isles          677-684-620-35=2016 (29.6/game)
Opponents 668-739-686-30=2123 (31.2/game)
The Isles were 13-8-6 when they outshoot their opponents, 0-1-0 when the shots are even and 22-14-4 when they were outshot.  Under Barry Trotz, the Isles are 53-25-9 when outshot; the 53 wins are the most in the NHL.

By Division & Conference
The Isles were 11-7-4 in Division games and 24-16-6 in games versus other divisions.  The Isles were 25-13-5 against the East and 10-10-5 against the West.  

In the Nets
Semyon Varlamov was 19-14-6 on the season with a 2.62 GAA and a 91.4 save percentage.
Thomas Greiss was 16-9-4 on the season with a 2.74 GAA and a 91.3 save percentage.
.   
Power Plays
The Isles were 29-168 on the power play (17.3% - tied/24th) and 34-176 (80.7% -15th) on the PK.  The Isles scored 6 shorthanded goals and allowed five shorties.

The Isles had the fewest power plays in the NHL (16 fewer than Anaheim) but were shorthanded the 3rd fewest times. Only the Ducks scored fewer PP goals but only three other teams allowed fewer.

The Isles were 13-7-3 when they scored at least one power play goal and 22-16-7 when they did not.  The Isles were 14-9-4 when they allowed at least one power play goal and 21-14-6 when they did not.

The Isles were 7-9-6 when they had more power plays than the opposition, 4-6-0 when the power plays were even, and 24-9-3 when the opposition had more power plays.

First 2 / Last 2   
The Isles scored 16 goals and allowed 15 goals in the first two minutes of regulation periods.
The Isles scored 15 goals and allowed 20 goals (excluding ENGs) in the last two minutes of regulation periods. 

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles were 31-3-5 when they scored at least three goals (including shootout winners) and were 4-20-5 when they do not.  Under Barry Trotz, the Isles are 67-5-7 when scoring three or more.

One-Goal Games
The Isles were 16-7-10 in games decided by a single goal including 5-7 in regulation. They were 8-7 in games decided in overtime and are 3-3 in shootouts.  The Isles were 5-3 in games in which an empty-net goal turns a 1-goal game into a 2-goal game.

Tired vs. Rested 
The Isles were 3-0-0 when both teams played the night before. 
The Isles were 7-1-0 when they were rested, and their opponents are not. 
The Isles were 3-1-1 when their opponents were rested, and the Isles are not.
The Isles were 22-21-9 when both teams were rested. 

Ice-time Leaders
Ryan Pulock (22:24), Adam Pelech (21:07), Nick Leddy (21:06)
Mathew Barzal led Isles forwards with 20:02 of average ice-time. 

Isles record by ice-time leader: Ryan Pulock (13-8-5), Devon Toews (3-6-2), Nick Leddy (5-3-3), Adam Pelech (9-2-0), Mathew Barzal (2-3-0), Scott Mayfield (2-1-0), Brock Nelson (1-0-0).

Highest Ice-Time by Isles Forwards Under Trotz
24:59 -  Mathew Barzal – 2/19/20 vs. COL(Career High)
24:35 -  Mathew Barzal – 2/17/20 vs. ARI
24:35 - Brock Nelson – 11/9/19 vs. FLA (Career High)
24:02 – Mathew Barzal – 2/25/20 vs. NYR 
24:01 - Jordan Eberle – 2/17/20 vs. ARI (Most with Isles)

Face-off Percentage Leaders
Derick Brassard 55.2%
JG Pageau 53.5% (includes Ottawa)
Casey Cizikas 53.5%
Brock Nelson 51.8%

The Isles were 18th in the NHL at 49.9%.

Hit Count
Matt Martin – 242
Johnny Boychuk -135
Casey Cizikas -133

The Isles were 2nd in the NHL with 1,915 hits.
 
Fights 
There were no fights.  Season total:17 – Johnston-6 (vs. FLA, vs PHL, vs TB, vs NYR, vs WAS, vs VGK), Cizikas-3 (vs. OTT, vs SJ, vs. LA), Lee-3 (vs FLA, vs VGK, vs MON), Martin-2 (vs NYR, vs NAS), Mayfield (vs ANA), Pageau (vs NYR), Dzingel (vs. CAR).
 
Blocked Shots
Andy Greene -155 (includes New Jersey)
Ryan Pulock -139
Johnny Boychuk -128

The Isles led the NHL with 1,153 blocked shots.

Back-to-Backs
The Isles were 5-3-0 in the front-half and 6-1-1 in the back-half. The Under Barry Trotz, the Isles are 17-2-2 in back-ends.

Night and Day
The Isles are 31-20-7 in night games and 4-3-3 in matinees. 

200 Game Club
The Isles have three players who have active consecutive game streaks of at least 200 games, and they are three of just 25 players in the NHL who have played every game since the start of the 2017-18 season.  It is the first time since November 25, 1978 that the Isles have had three players with streaks of at least 200 games.

Ironman Streaks: Anders Lee 268, Brock Nelson 245, Mathew Barzal 232, Ryan Pulock 195, Josh Bailey 153, Anthony Beauvillier 143, and Devon Toews 116.  No other Islander played every game this season.

Iron Man
Anders Lee has the fourth-longest consecutive game streak while Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal have also moved into the top 10:
1. Billy Harris 10/7/1972 -11/30/1979 576 (*)
2. Bobby Nystrom 1/7/1975 - 11/25/1978 301
3. Matt Moulson 10/3/2009 - 4/4/2013 284
4. Anders Lee 1/26/2017 – CURRENT 268
5. Denis Potvin 11/29/1975 - 1/17/1979 262
6. John Tavares 10/16/2010 - 12/23/2013 246
7. Brock Nelson 3/16/2017 – CURRENT 245
8. J.P. Parise 1/7/1975 – 1/7/1978 240 (**)
9. Mathew Barzal 10/6/2017- CURRENT 232
10. Richard Park 10/5/2006 - 2/18/2009 221

 (*) Start of NHL career.
(**) Entire career with Islanders

Iron D
Ryan Pulock has the fourth-longest consecutive game streak of any defenseman in Islander history: 
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. Ryan Pulock 12/29/2017 – CURRENT 195
 (*) Start of NHL career.
(**) Entire career with Islanders

Scratches
Total games lost: 164.

Late Heroes 
The Isles scored five times in the final two minutes of regulation to either tie or take the lead:
10/14 vs. STL – Mathew Barzal scored at 19:33 and the Isles won in OT.
11/19 @ PIT – Ryan Pulock scored at 18:38 and the Isles won in OT.
2/1 vs VAN – Brock Nelson scored at 19:34, but the Isles lost in OT.
2/11 vs PHI – Ryan Pulock scored the winning goal at 19:19.
2/26 vs NYR – Brock Nelson scored at 19:42, but the Isles lost in OT

Late Goals Allowed
The Isles allowed five goals in the final two minutes of regulation to either tie or win a game:
11/21 vs. PIT – Patric Hornqvist scored at 19:30, but the Isles won in OT.
12/14 vs. BUF -Jack Eichel scored at 18:14, but the Isles won in OT. 
1/16 vs. NYR- Chris Kreider scored the winning goal at 19:35.
2/11 vs. PHI – Sean Couturier scored at 18:28, but the Isles won in regulation.
2/27 vs. STL – Vince Dunn scored at 18:16, and the Blues won in OT.

Challenges
Isles: 4 successful, 2 failures (offside-11/19 vs. PIT), (offside-12/9 vs. TBL), (no goalie Interference 12/21 vs, ANA), (offside-1/6 vs. COL), (offside 1/21 vs NYR), (no goalie interference 2/25 vs NYR)
The Isles went 4-0-0 in games that they were successful and 0-0-2 in games that they were unsuccessful.

Opponents: 4 successful, 3 failures (Nelson-kick 10/8 vs. EDM), (Lee- no high stick 11/1 vs. TB), (Cizikas- no goalie interference 11/23 vs. SJ), (Komarov-goalie interference 1/2 vs. NJ),(no offside 1/18 vs WSH), (Lee-goalie interference 2/4 vs. DAL), (offside- 2/9 vs TBL)
The Isles were 1-1-1 in games where opponents' challenges went their way and 1-3-0 in games that went the opponent's way.

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.  Josh Bailey 865…
17. John Tonelli 594 *** 18. Matt Martin 560 *** 19. Ken Morrow 550 *** 20. Brock Nelson 548 *** 21. Duane Sutter 547 *** 22. Lorne Henning 543 ***  23. Claude Lapointe 535 *** 24. Casey Cizikas 534

Goals
1. Mike Bossy 573 *** 2. Bryan Trottier 500 *** 3. Denis Potvin 310 …
12. Billy Harris 184 *** 13. Anders Lee 172 *** 14. Ziggy Palffy 168 *** 15. Patrick Flatley 160 *** 16. Josh Bailey 154 *** 17. Brock Nelson 150

Assists
1. Bryan Trottier 853 *** 2. Denis Potvin 742 *** 3. Mike Bossy 553…
6.  John Tonelli 338 *** 7. Pat Flatley 328 *** 8. Brent Sutter 323 *** 9. Josh Bailey 322 …
20. Ed Westfall 181 *** 21. Kenny Jonsson 175 *** 22. Duane Sutter and Alexei Yashin 171*** 24. Nick Leddy 169

Points
1. Bryan Trottier 1353 *** 2. Mike Bossy 1126 *** 3. Denis Potvin 1052…
11. Derek King 499 *** 12. Patrick Flatley 488 *** 13. Josh Bailey 476…
20. Ziggy Palffy 331 ***  21. Anders Lee 301  ***22. Mariusz Czerkawski and Brock Nelson 295

Games Played (Goalies)
1. Billy Smith 674 *** 2. Rick DiPietro 318 *** 3. Glenn Resch 282 *** 4. Kelly Hrudey 241 ***
5.   Thomas Greiss 193

Wins (Goalie)
1. Billy Smith 304 *** 2. Glenn Resch 157 *** 3. Rick DiPietro 130*** 4. Kelly Hrudey 108***
5.   Thomas Greiss 101

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

Games Coached 
1. Al Arbour 1,500 *** 2. Jack Capuano 483 *** 3. Mike Milbury 192 …
6. Peter Laviolette 164 *** 7. Ted Nolan 163 *** 8. Butch Goring 154 *** 9. Barry Trotz 150
 
Coaching Wins
1. Al Arbour 740 *** 2. Jack Capuano 227 *** 3. Barry Trotz 82

Up Next
WEDNESDAY, JULY 29th  -  ISLANDERS AT RANGERS (AT TORONTO) –8:00 PM (Exhibition)
[MSG+ (pre-game at 7:30PM), 88.7 WRHU-FM, WRCN 103.9FM, ESPN-1050]

NHL QUALIFYING ROUND
Game 1: Saturday, August 1st – FLORIDA AT ISLES (AT TORONTO) 4:00 PM
Game 2: Tuesday, August 4th – FLORIDA AT ISLES (AT TORONTO) 12:00 PM
Game 3: Wednesday, August 5th – ISLES AT FLORIDA (AT TORONTO) 12:00 PM
Game 4: Friday, August 7th – IF NECESSARY
Game 5: Sunday, August 9th- IF NECESSARY

The Isles head to Toronto to face the Rangers in an exhibition game on Wednesday. It will be the first meeting of the rivals since February 25th, when the Rangers overcame a Brock Nelson goal at 19:42 to win in overtime.  It will be the first time in club history that the Isles have played a game of any type in June, July, or August.

One hundred forty-four days after the Isles played their last regular season game, the playoffs will begin on Saturday when the Isles meet the Florida Panthers.  It will be the second playoff meeting between the teams; the Isles defeated the Panthers in six games in first round in 2016.  There were three overtime goals in the series, and the Isles won all three – including the series winner in double overtime of game six by John Tavares.  The Isles are the only team in the last 29 years (1991 Edmonton Oilers) to win consecutive games in multiple overtimes.

The Isles swept the 2019-2020 regular season from Florida:
October 12, 2019  (at Coliseum) 3-2 in a shootout
November 9, 2019 (at Brooklyn) 2-1
December 12, 2019 (at Florida) 3-1

The first game was the first game of the Isles' 10-game winning streak and 17-game point streak while the second game was the 12th game of the point streak.  The 3-1 win in Sunrise raised the Isles' record to 21-7-2.

This will be the second straight playoff year that the Isles will begin the playoffs by facing an opposing coach with multiple Stanley Cups: Mike Sullivan has won twice for the Penguins, while Joel Quenneville, the current Florida coach, won three times for Chicago.  Only seven coaches, including Al Arbour, have won at least four Stanley Cups.

Brendan Burke and Butch Goring will have the call of the exhibition game and the Florida series on MSG+; the games will be available on NBCSN (or other NBC outlets) for fans outside the New York metropolitan area.

ISLES PLAYOFF HISTORY:
The Isles were the first team to win 15 games to win the Stanley Cup (1980); the Isles went 6-1 in the best-of-5 first rounds between 1980 and 1986 (winning the first six).  Their .857 winning percentage in best-of-5 series is the best in NHL history.

Playoffs All-Time
The Isles are 148-124 in 272 all-time playoff games.  They are 84-46 at home (82-41 at the Coliseum and 2-5 at Barclays) and 64-78 on the road.  
  
Overtime is Our Time
The Isles are 34-17 (.667) all-time in overtime, including 18-10 (.643) at home. Both percentages are the best in NHL history. The Isles were 1-1 in overtime in 2019; nine of the 25 playoff games the Isles have played since 2015 have gone to overtime with the Isles holding a 5-4 record.  

The Isles are 3-3 in overtime during best-of-5 series:
1980: Beat Los Angeles (Ken Morrow -Game 3)
1982: Lost to Pittsburgh (Rick Kehoe – Game 4)
1982: Beat Pittsburgh (John Tonelli – Game 5)
1984: Beat Rangers (Ken Morrow- Game 5)
1985: Lost to Washington (Alan Haworth – Game 1)
1985: Lost to Washington (Mike Gartner – Game 2)

The three Islander wins are arguably three of the most important or dramatic in franchise history.  They would win both series that they allowed the overtime goals, including in 1985 when they became the first team in league history to win a best-of-5 series after dropping the first two games.

Coach Trotz (Playoffs)
Barry Trotz has coached 121 playoff games (59-62), good for 14th all-time in games coached.  His 59 wins are 19th all time, two behind Jacques Lemaire and four behind Fred Shero and Claude Julien.  Trotz won the Stanley Cup in 2018 for Washington; Joel Quenneville (3) and Mike Sullivan (2) are the only active coaches with multiple Stanley Cups.

Most playoff wins by Islander coaches:
• Al Arbour 123
• Jack Capuano 10
• Terry Simpson 9
• Barry Trotz 4
• Peter Laviolette 4
• Ted Nolan 1
• Steve Stirling 1

Most playoff games coached (Islanders):
• Al Arbour 209
• Jack Capuano 24
• Terry Simpson 20
• Peter Laviolette 12
• Barry Trotz 8
• Steve Stirling 5
• Ted Nolan 5

Most overtime wins/overtime record:
• Al Arbour 26 (26-9)
• Jack Capuano 4 (4-5)
• Terry Simpson 3 (3-0)
• Barry Trotz 1 (1-1)
• Peter Laviolette 0 (0-1)
• Steve Stirling 0 (0-1)

Most playoff series wins:
• Al Arbour 29
• Barry Trotz 1
• Jack Capuano 1
• Terry Simpson 1

Active Islander Playoff Leaders: (As NYI)
Games:
Casey Cizikas 32
Matt Martin 32 
Josh Bailey 30

Goals:
Josh Bailey 8 
Brock Nelson 7 
Jordan Eberle 4 
Cal Clutterbuck 4

Assists:
Josh Bailey 9
Nick Leddy 8 
Mathew Barzal 5
Casey Cizikas 5
Jordan Eberle 5
Thomas Hickey 5

Points:
Josh Bailey 17
Brock Nelson 11 
Nick Leddy 10

Penalty Minutes:
Cal Clutterbuck 42
Matt Martin 38 
Casey Cizikas 34

PP Goals
Mathew Barzal 2
Josh Bailey 2 
Brock Nelson 1 
Ryan Pulock 1
Devon Toews 1

SH Goals
No current Islander has a playoff SH goal with Isles. (Last to do so was Kyle Okposo on May 5, 2013 vs. Pittsburgh)

GW Goals
Brock Nelson 2
Josh Bailey 1 
Thomas Hickey 1
Jordan Eberle 1

Goaltending
Thomas Greiss  5-6  2.49 GAA, .920 save percentage

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