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GAME PREVIEW: Devils and Islanders

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
7:30 pm , FSN (for Joe and Howie); WLIE 540 AM (for JW and Kinger)

Anyone who saw the third period of the Devils' 3-1 win over the Rangers last night knows the Islanders will have to be at their best tonight. With Lou Lamoriello behind the bench, the Devils looked like...well, the Devils, allowing few scoring chances and creating chances of their own off forced turnovers.

The good news for the Islanders is that Jason Blake will be back. There's even a chance Shawn Bates could return. What we also know is that Jeff Hamilton took part in this morning's skate and should play tonight. If the Islanders decide they want to go with 12 forwards and Bates is not ready, they have someone on standby in Bridgeport, most likely Rob Collins.

Here are your game notes:

- Jason Blake (concussion) was injured on Dec. 13 and has missed two games. He is listed day-to-day.
- Center Kevin Colley (knee sprain) was injured on Dec. 13 and was placed on the Injured Reserve on Dec. 17. He is out indefinitely.
- Center Oleg Kvasha (ankle) was injured on Nov. 26 and is currently on the Injured Reserve retroactive on Nov. 26
- Center Petteri Nokelainen (patella tendonitis) has missed the last 19 games. He's currently on the Injured Reserve retroactive of Nov. 3, 2005.
- Forward Shawn Bates (hamstring strain) was injured Nov. 19, 2005 and is out 4-5 weeks. He is currently on the Injured Reserve.
Total Man-Games Lost (After 32 games): 57  

December 17 Recalled forwards Rob Collins, Jeremy Colliton and Wyatt Smith from Bridgeport (AHL). Placed center Kevin Colley on the Injured Reserve.
December 15 Placed Oleg Kvasha on the Injured Reserve list retroactive of Nov. 26.
December 14 Returned center Wyatt Smith to Bridgeport.
December 12- Returned defenseman Bruno Gervais to Bridgeport and recalled Tomi Pettinen from his conditioning assignment at Bridgeport.
December 3 Recalled forwards Kevin Colley and Wyatt Smith and defenseman Bruno Gervais from Bridgeport. Assigned forward Robert Nilsson to Bridgeport. 
Goals- Miroslav Satan 15
Assists- Alexei Yashin, Alexei Zhitnik 20
Points- Alexei Yashin 33
Penalty Minutes- Arron Asham 68
Plus/Minus- Arron Asham +5
Game-Winning Goals- Shawn Bates 4
Power Play Goals- Miroslav Satan 8
Power Play Assists- Alexei Zhitnik 15
Power Play Points- Alexei Zhitnik 17
Shots- Jason Blake 122
Shooting Percentage- Mark Parrish 24.5%
Time On Ice- Alexei Zhitnik 24:40 per game

Tonight's game is the 170th regular season meeting and 176th meeting all-time between the Islanders and the New Jersey Devils. The Islanders currently lead the all-time series 92-53-22-2. At Coliseum, the Islanders have a 53-18-11-0 record versus the Devils. This is the second of eight meetings between the teams this season.
In the 2003-04 season, the Islanders and Devils tied the season series with each teaming earning a record of 3-2-0-1. Mark Parrish scored a season-series leading four goals.
Did You Know? The Islanders have scored 12 all-time hat tricks against the Devils, while New Jersey has only scored three against the Islanders. Mike Bossy netted three tricks in his Islanders career, the most for any player in the all-time series between the Islanders and Devils. The last hat trick scored was by Mark Parrish on Oct. 11, 2001.  

2005-06 Season Series:
November, 8, 2005: 4-1 at Continental Airlines Arena
December 21, 2005: at Nassau Coliseum 7:30 pm
January 21, 2006: at Continental Airlines Arena Noon
January 24, 2006: at Nassau coliseum 7:00 pm
February 11, 2006: Continental Airlines Arena 1:00 pm
March 2, 2006: at Nassau Coliseum 7:00 pm
March 7, 2006: at Nassau Coliseum 7:00 pm
March 14, 2006: Continental Airlines Arena 7:30 pm 
Jason Blake, Rick DiPietro and Mark Parrish were named to Team USA for the upcoming 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy. This is the first time each of the three players will be representing their home country in Olympic play. In September 2004, Blake and DiPietro played for Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey. Parrish has represented the United States in three World Champions (1998, 2001 & 2005), while DiPietro has played in two World Championships (2001 & 2005). Blake has made one appearance at the World Championships (2000) 

It took 76 games and a video review, but Eric Godard finally scored his first NHL goal. At 2:11 of the first period, Godard buried the puck past Maple Leafs goaltender Ed Belfour for his first of his career on Dec. 19 at Toronto. Godard's first NHL point was recorded on Nov. 20, 2003 at Tampa Bay.

Rob Collins won't forget Dec. 19 either. The first-year forward netted his first NHL assist/point and his first NHL goal at the 17:28 mark of the first period at Toronto in his second NHL game. To make it even more special, his family was in attendance. Ed Belfour was the Maple Leafs netminder. Collins made his NHL debut on Dec. 17 vs. Colorado after being recalled from Bridgeport (AHL) earlier that morning.  

In his second NHL game, but first of the season, Jeff Hamilton recorded his first NHL goal/point at the 2:24 mark of the first period on Dec. 17 vs. Colorado. He put the puck past Avalanche goaltender David Aebischer. Hamilton made his NHL debut on Dec. 2, 2003 vs. Washington. After re-signing with the team on Nov. 15, 2005, Hamilton was recalled from Bridgeport (AHL) in the morning of Dec. 17. On Dec. 19 at Toronto, Hamilton recorded his first two NHL assists.

Mike York just keeps scoring. In the last seven games, Mike York has been the Islanders hottest skater with 12 points (5+7). He started off his hot streak by scoring the game-wining goal in Detroit on Dec. 4th and then tied a single-game high in points with five at Columbus two days later on Dec. 6th. He's also scored a power play goal at Columbus on Dec. 8th. He added assists in each of the last four games with a goal in Toronto on Dec. 19.
Earlier this year, York scored his 100th NHL goal in the Islanders 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2005 at the Nassau Coliseum. On the season, York has recorded seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points and is fifth on the team in scoring.

Arron Asham and Trent Hunter have a hit or be hit type of mentality. Following Monday's game, Asham is sixth in the league in hits with 85, while Hunter is in seventh place with 84. Brad Lukowich is third on the team and leads Islanders defenseman with 68 and is 18th in the NHL. As a team, the Islanders have unloaded 572 hits on their opponents this season. In Monday's game, Lukowich led the team with six hits and as a team while the Islanders recorded 27 hits.

Jason Blake is off to the best start of his career. Through his first 30 games of the season, Blake has recorded 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points, good enough for second on the team. His goal total places him second on the team. Entering this season, his best mark through 30 games came in 2002-03 when he had 16 points and finished the year with career-highs with 25 goals, 30 assists and 55 points.
Currently, Blake has points in six of his last ten games (6+4). That includes a game against Philadelphia on Nov. 26 when he netted his third career hat trick. Most recently, Blake chipped in a goal and an assist in St. Louis on Dec. 6. Blake also leads the team in shots with 122.

Team captain Alexei Yashin leads the team in scoring with 33 points (13+20) in 32 games. This season, Yashin has recorded a point in 25 of 32 games. He has also scored in 14 of the last 17 games (5+13). He's also had six multiple-point games. This is Yashin's second best start since the 2001-02 season, his first as an Islander. That season he finished with 32 goals, 43 assists and 75 points. Through the first 32 games of that season he had 36 points.
This season, he had a season-high seven-game point streak from Oct. 10-25, collecting 11 points (5+6). In addition to his seven-game point streak, Yashin recorded an assist in five consecutive games (Oct. 15-25) and had a five-game scoring streak (2+3) (11/15-12/6). The seven-game point streak was Yashin's longest since the 2003-04, when he had a nine-game point streak with 13 points (3+10) from Nov. 14-Dec. 3.

After starting off the 2005-06 season with points in four of the first seven games (3+2), Mark Parrish slowed down after suffering a hip strain. But Parrish turned his luck around as he's making up for his mini-slump with 15 points in the last 13 games (8+7). He most recently scored a goal and added an assist on Dec. 19 at Toronto.

The Islanders have started off December on a good note with a 4-2-1 record in seven games. Following a win at Detroit (12/4), the Islanders rolled past the St. Louis Blues (12/6) and rallied against the Columbus Blue Jackets (12/8) before falling in the shootout. They returned to the Coliseum to the defeat the Edmonton Oilers in the shootout (12/10), lost to the Minnesota Wild (12/13) and beat the Colorado Avalanche (12/17). They recently lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a one-game road trip (12/19). The Islanders will play a total of 12 games this month, six at home and six on the road. In 2003-04, the Islanders were 10-4-0-1 in December. 

- The Islanders killed off three of four Toronto Maple Leafs power plays on Monday night.
- They have now allowed 16 power play goals in the last 17 games (101 chances).
- Overall, the Islanders have killed off 178 of 216 (82.4%) power play attempts in 32 games this season.
- The Islanders penalty kill is ranked sixth in the NHL on the road with an 84.8 penalty kill percentage, while they are ranked 28th at home with a penalty kill percentage of 77.7.
- This season, the Islanders had a streak of 37 consecutive penalty kills, which spanned six complete games and parts of two others. The streak started during the team's game at New Jersey on Nov. 8th and last until the second penalty kill of the team's game vs. Buffalo on Nov. 23rd. Chris Drury scored on the power play for the Sabres at 17:29 of the first period to snap the Islanders consecutive penalty kill streak.
- The Islanders have recorded three shorthanded goals this season. Arron Asham scored a shorthanded goal in the Islanders' 5-4 win over the Rangers on Oct. 20. Earlier in the season, Shawn Bates scored the first shorthanded goal of the season in the Isles' 3-1 win over the Hurricanes on Oct. 8 and Jason Blake scored a shorthanded tally in the Islanders' 5-3 win over Washington on Oct. 13.    

- The Islanders were three for ten on the power play versus the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.
- They have 25 power play goals in the last 18 games.
- Overall, the Islanders have scored a power play goal in 23 of 32 games this season.
- They are 38-202 (18.8%) on the man-advantage and are eighth in the NHL. On the road, the team's power play is ninth in the NHL at 18.4%, while they are ranked 10th at home at 19.4%.
- Last season, the Islanders recorded at least one power play goal in 38 of 82 games. They had a record of 27-9-3, including a mark of 16-4-1 at home in games that they scored at least one power play goal.  

The Islanders are 7-6-1 at home this season, scoring 46 goals and allowing 52. The team recently wrapped up a three-game, eight-day home stand, which they were 2-1-0. They Islanders next home game is on Wednesday, December 21st when they host the New Jersey Devils for the first time this season. That game is scheduled to start at 7:30 pm due to the TSN broadcast in Canada.

The Islanders snapped their five-game road-winning streak with their lost in Toronto on Dec. 19. In their last nine road games, the Islanders have a record of 6-2-1. The Islanders next road game is on Dec. 26 at Buffalo. It is the second and final visit to Buffalo in the regular season.
The Islanders has a five-game road trip in March, which will also take them to Atlanta, Boston, Florida, New Jersey and Tampa Bay.

The Islanders have participated in five shootouts this season and have an overall record of 3-2 and are 1-1 at the Coliseum. Rick DiPietro has been the Islanders goaltender in each shootout.
The most recent shootout occurred on Dec. 10th when Alexei Yashin and Trent Hunter (determining goal) scored for the Islanders as Rick DiPietro stopped two of three Edmonton Oilers shooters for the win.
On Dec. 8th, the Islanders lost in the shootout for the second time this season. Alexei Yashin, Miroslav Satan and Mike York all missed fired on their attempts. Rick DiPietro stopped two of three shooters with Columbus' Davide Vyborny scoring the determining goal
On Nov. 23, the Islanders lost their first shootout since its inception dropping the decision to the Buffalo Sabres at the Coliseum. Ales Kotalik (determining goal) and Tim Connolly scored against Rick DiPietro, while Alexei Yashin and Jason Blake failed on their attempts for the Islanders.
The Islanders shootout victory over the Penguins on Nov. 14 was the second longest so far in the NHL this season. Eighteen shooters were used by both teams, which at the time set a new standard in the inaugural season for the shootout. Jason Blake netted the determining goal against goaltender Jocelyn Thibault and Islanders' goaltender Rick DiPietro stopped seven of nine Penguin shooters, including rookie Ryan Whitney to seal the win.
The team's first shoot out victory came against the New York Rangers in a 3-2 decision at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 19. In that contest, Miroslav Satan scored the only shootout goal against Henrik Lundqvist.

The Islanders are 12-6-1 this season when scoring first and 4-7-1 when the opposition scores the first goal of the game. In 2003-04, the Islanders had a record 11-23-6-3 when their opponents scored first. They were 27-6-5-1 when they scored the first goal of the game.    

The Islanders have been outshot, 1,051-940, through the first 32 games of the 2005-06 season. The Islanders have been outshot in 23 of 30 games this season, including a stretch of seven games that started on Nov. 19 at Florida and ended at St. Louis on Dec. 6. The Islanders are allowing an average of 32.8 shots per game. Thirteen of the team's 16 victories have come when the team has been outshot. They have a record of 13-9-1 when they have been outshot and have a record of 2-5-1 in games when they've outshot the opponent. The Islanders are 1-0 in games where they tie their opponents shot total.
The Islanders recorded a season-high 40 shots, including 20 in the first period at Philadelphia on Nov. 10 and tied that mark at Columbus on Dec. 8. The Islanders have also allowed 40 or more shots in a game four times this season and have a record of 2-2. The most recent game was the team's loss versus the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 25.

The Islanders have only lost once in 63 games (55 wins, eight ties and one overtime loss in the shootout) when taking a lead into the third period. The Islanders are 11-0-1 this season when leading after two periods. This streak includes wining in overtime (vs. Bruins, Nov. 1) and winning in the shootout twice (at Rangers, Oct. 19 and at Pittsburgh Nov. 14) this season. The only loss occurred in the shootout when the Islanders dropped a 4-3 decision to the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 23rd. During the 2003-04 season, the Islanders were 26-0-5-0 when leading after two periods.

In the Islanders last overtime game, Shawn Bates scored the game-winning goal with 28.2 seconds left to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Nov. 1 at the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders are 4-2 in overtime/shootout (one overtime win, three shootout victories, two shootout losses) this season and have a lifetime record of 66-61-194 in overtime. Last season, the Islanders had a record of 2-4-11 in overtime.

The Islanders split their last back-to-back set in late November. The club fell to the Ottawa Senators at the Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 25 6-2, but rallied to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers on the road 4-2 on Nov. 26. The Islanders are scheduled to play 10 sets of back-to-back games during the 2005-06 regular season, four fewer than they had in 2003-04. The Islanders do not have back-to-back games in December and the next set is in January when the team plays a home-and-home series versus Carolina on Jan. 6-7.
The Islanders have a record of 2-1-0 in the first game of back-to-back games and a 2-1-0 record in the second game. The Islanders played 14 back-to-back sets in 2003-04, posting a 13-13-1-1 record in those 28 contests; 8-6-0-0 in the first games of back-to-back sets and 5-7-1-1 in the second games.

In the Islanders 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 23, two impressive streaks were snapped. In the first period, Buffalo scored a power play goal, which was the first tally the Islanders allowed with the opposition on the man advantage in six complete games and 37 total chances. The other streak was victories with the lead after two periods. Before that game, the Islanders were unbeaten in 61 games (53-0-8) when taking a lead into the third period. The streak was the longest in the NHL. The streak began on Dec. 28, 2002 with a 3-0 win vs. Carolina.  

Jason Blake was named the H.L. Gross & Brothers Jewelers player of the month for November. Blake led the Islanders with 13 points in November on seven goals and six assists. In a win on Nov. 26 in Philadelphia, he recorded the third hat trick of his career. Alexei Yashin was the player of the month for October.

- Arron Asham is two points away from his 100th NHL point.
- Arron Asham is twelve games away from his 200th as an Islander.
- Jason Blake is two games away from his 300th as an Islander.
- Jason Blake is two points away from his 200th as an Islander.
- Kevin Colley's next goal will be his first NHL goal.
- Oleg Kvasha is seven points away from his 200th NHL point.
- Mark Parrish is six points away from his 200th as an Islander.
- Tomi Pettinen's next goal will be his first NHL goal.
- Miroslav Satan is seven power play goals away from his 100th NHL power play goal.
- Wyatt Smith's next goal will be his first as an Islander.
- Alexei Yashin is two points away from his 700th NHL point.
- Alexei Yashin is six assists away from his 400th NHL assist.

- Chris Campoli, Robert Nilsson and Petteri Nokelainen each played in their first NHL game on Oct. 5th, 2005 at Buffalo.
- Chris Campoli scored his first NHL goal/point on his first NHL shot on Oct. 5th, 2005 at Buffalo.
- Petteri Nokelainen scored his first NHL goal on Oct. 13th at Washington.
- Robert Nilsson scored his first NHL goal vs. Buffalo on Oct. 29.
- Alexei Yashin scored his 300th career NHL goal on Nov. 14th at Pittsburgh.
- Alexei Zhitnik played in his 900th NHL career game on Nov. 14th at Pittsburgh.
- Jeremy Colliton played in his first NHL game on Nov. 23rd vs. Buffalo.
- Arron Asham played in his 300th NHL game on Nov. 25th vs. Ottawa.
- Rick DiPietro played in his 100th NHL game on Nov. 25th vs. Ottawa.
- Alexei Yashin scored his 200th point as an Islander on Nov. 26th at Philadelphia.
- Bruno Gervais made his NHL debut on Dec. 4th at Detroit.
- Mike York played in his 400th NHL game on Dec. 4th at Detroit
- Brad Lukowich played in his 400th NHL game on Dec. 6th at St. Louis.
- Mark Parrish recorded his 150th NHL goal on Nov. 29th vs. Philadelphia.
- Mark Parrish recorded his 100th goal as an Islander on Nov. 29th vs. Philadelphia.
- Jeff Hamilton scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 17 vs. Colorado.
- Rob Collins made his NHL debut on Dec. 17 vs. Colorado.
- Rob Collins recorded his first NHL assists on Dec. 19 at Toronto.
- Rob Collins scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 19 at Toronto.
- Eric Godard scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 19 at Toronto.
- Jeff Hamilton recorded his first two NHL assists on Dec. 19 at Toronto.
Brad Lukowich joined the 400 NHL game club on at St. Louis on Dec. 6th. Currently in his first season with the Islanders, Lukowich was originally drafted by the Islanders in the fourth round (90th overall) in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He started his career with the Dallas Stars and played in 224 games with them before being traded to Tampa Bay on June 22, 2002. With The Lightning, he played in 149 games en route to winning the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004.
Teammate Mike York also played in his 400th NHL game in the Islanders 2-1 win in Detroit on Dec. 4th. Also in his first season with the Islanders, York was originally drafted by the New York Rangers in the sixth round (136 overall) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He went onto play in 230 games for the Rangers before being traded to Edmonton in March of 2002. He played in 144 games with the Oilers. 
Thursday, December 22: Practice at Nassau Coliseum, 10:00 am-12:30 pm
Friday, December 23: Game day skate at Nassau Coliseum, 10:00 am 11:15 am
Saturday, December 24: No Ice
Sunday, December 25: No Ice
Monday, December 26: Travel to Buffalo 9:00 am charter, game day skate at HSBC Arena, 11:30 am 12:30 pm
Tuesday, December 27: Practice at Islanders Iceworks, 10:00 am-12:30 pm
Wednesday, December 28: Game day skate at Nassau Coliseum, 10:00 am 11:15 am
Thursday, December 29: Practice at Nassau Coliseum, 10:00 am-12:30 pm

NEXT 10 GAMES (all times Eastern)
Friday, December 23 vs. Ottawa, 7:00 pm
Monday, December 26 at Buffalo, 7:00 pm
Wednesday, December 28 vs. New York Rangers, 7:00 pm
Friday, December 30 at Ottawa Senators, 7:30 pm
Monday, January 2 vs. Tampa Bay, 7:00 pm
Wednesday, January 4 vs. Florida, 7:00 pm
Friday, January 6 at Carolina, 7:00 pm
Saturday, January 7 vs. Carolina, 7:00 pm
Tuesday, January 10 at Nashville, 8:00 pm

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