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GAME PREVIEW: Florida at Islanders

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
7:00 pm, FSN; Bloomberg 1130

Garth Snow will once again be in net as the Islanders host the rapidly-improving Florida Panthers tonight at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

After practice yesterday, head coach Steve Stirling had lengthy video sessions with several Islanders, including Alexei Yashin and Oleg Kvasha. "We will continue to do everything we can to turn this around," said Stirling.

No word on any lineup changes for tonight.

- Center Kevin Colley (knee sprain) was injured on Dec. 13 and was placed on the Injured Reserve on Dec. 17. He is out indefinitely.
- Rick DiPietro (mild knee sprain) was injured on Dec. 30 and is listed day-to-day.
- Center Petteri Nokelainen (patella tendonitis) has missed the last 25 games. He's currently on the Injured Reserve retroactive of Nov. 3, 2005.

Total Man-Games Lost (After 38 games): 75

January 2 - Recalled forward Jeff Hamilton and goaltender Wade Dubielewicz from Bridgeport (AHL). Re-assigned center Wyatt Smith to Bridgeport.
December 30 - Activated Oleg Kvasha from the Injured Reserve.
December 28 - Canceled Jeff Hamilton's emergency recall conditions and returned him to Bridgeport (AHL).
December 23 - Activated forward Shawn Bates from the Injured Reserve. Recalled forward Jeff Hamilton on an emergency basis and returned him to Bridgeport following the game.
December 21 - Recalled forwards Rob Collins and Jeff Hamilton on an emergency basis. Returned Rob Collins to Bridgeport following the game.

Goals... Jason Blake - 17
Assists... Alexei Yashin - 22
Points... Alexei Yashin - 36
Penalty Minutes... Arron Asham - 74
Plus/Minus... Jason Blake - +4
Game-Winning Goals... Shawn Bates - 4
Power Play Goals... Mark Parrish, Miroslav Satan - 9
Power Play Assists... Alexei Zhitnik - 15
Power Play Points... Alexei Zhitnik - 17
Shots... Jason Blake - 142
Shooting Percentage... Mark Parrish - 23.3%
Time on Ice... Alexei Zhitnik - 24:00 per game

Tonight's game is the third meeting between the teams this season with the season series split at one game apiece so far. The Islanders trail the all-time series 21-23-8-0. On home ice, the Islanders have a 10-12-2-0 mark against the Panthers. The last win at home for the Islanders against Florida came on January 21, 2004 when they beat the Panthers 4-2.

Did You Know?
Since the start of the lifetime series, the Islanders have had three penalty shots against the Panthers, while Florida has not yet received an opportunity against the Islanders. All three attempts were thwarted by the Florida netminder. Michael Peca had the most recent attempt on Nov. 19, 2003. He was stopped by Roberto Luongo.

2005-06 Season Series:
October 20, 2005: Florida Panthers 3, Islanders 1 - Nassau Coliseum
November 19, 2005: Islanders 5, Florida Panthers 3 - Bank Atlantic Center
January 4, 2006: Nassau Coliseum - 7:00 PM
March 17, 2006: BankAtlantic Center - 7:30 PM

The "new NHL" must be a great fit for Jason Blake because he's having a career year. Through his first 36 games of the season, Blake has recorded 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 points and  is second on the team in scoring. Blake also leads the team in goals. Entering this season, his best mark through 36 games came in 2003-04 when he had 23 points.

Currently, Blake has points in 12 of his last 16 games (10+8). That includes a game against Philadelphia on Nov. 26 when he netted his third career hat trick. Most recently, Blake recorded an assist vs. Tampa Bay on Jan. 2.

Mike York has carried over his hot streak into 2006 and remains one of the Islanders hottest scorers. In the last 13 games, York has netted 18 points (6+12). 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 one assist in three straight games (Dec. 13-Dec. 19) and scored a goal with two assists on Dec. 21st vs. New Jersey. He added one assist at Buffalo on Dec. 26, at Ottawa on Dec. 3 and vs.  Tampa Bay on Jan 2. 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 nine goals and 19 assists for 28 points and is third on the team in scoring.

Arron Asham and Trent Hunter have a hit or be hit type of mentality. Following Monday's game, Trent Hunter is fourth in the league in hits with 106, while Asham is in sixth with 100. Brad Lukowich is third on the team and leads Islanders defenseman with 75 and is 25th in the NHL. As a team, the Islanders have unloaded 688 hits on their opponents this season. On Dec. 28th versus the Rangers, the Islanders recorded a team season-high 38 hits with Hunter leading the way with seven.

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 19 points in the last 19 games (9+10). He most recently recorded an assist on Dec. 30 at Ottawa. Parrish is also second in the league in shooting percentage with a mark of 23.3 percent.

The Islanders started off the 2006 portion of their schedule with a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. The team will play a total of 12 games this month with seven at home and five on the road. The Islanders will play the Carolina Hurricanes a total of three times in January, including a home-and-home series on consecutive nights later this week. The Islanders will also have a home-and-home series with the New Jersey Devils later in the month.

The Islanders are 8-9-1 at home this season, scoring 55 goals and allowing 66. With their recent lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Monday night, the Islanders are now on a three-game losing streak. The Islanders next game at home is Saturday versus Carolina.

The Islanders have lost their last two road games with the most recent defeat occurring at Buffalo on Dec. 26. They also lost at Toronto on Dec. 19. In their last 10 road games, the Islanders have a record of 6-3-1. The Islanders next road game is on Jan. 6 at Carolina.

The Islanders longest road trip of the season is a five-game set in March, which will take them to Atlanta, Boston, Florida, New Jersey and Tampa Bay.

- The Islanders killed off all eight Tampa Bay power plays on Monday night.
- They have allowed 14 power play goals in the last 10 games (64 chances).
- Overall, the Islanders have killed off 200 of 256 (81.2%) power play attempts in 38 games this season.
- The Islanders penalty kill is ranked sixth in the NHL on the road with an 83.6 penalty kill percentage, while they are ranked 26th at home with a penalty kill percentage of 78.7.
- The Islanders have recorded four shorthanded goals this season. Jason Blake has scored two (Oct. 13 at Washington, Dec. 30 at Ottawa), while Shawn Bates (Oct. 8 vs. Carolina) and Arron Asham (Oct. 20) have netted one a piece.
- This season, the Islanders had a streak of 37 consecutive penalty kills, which span lasted 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 were one for eight on the power play versus Tampa Bay on Monday night.
- They have 12 power play goals in the last 10 games (68 chances).
- Overall, the Islanders have scored a power play goal in 28 of 38 games this season.
- They are 44-240 (18.3%) on the man-advantage and are 13th in the NHL. On the road, the team's power play is seventh in the NHL at 18.7%, while they are ranked 15th at home at 17.9%.
- Last season, the Islanders recorded at least one power play goal in 38 of 82 games.

The Islanders next set is later this week when the team plays a home-and-home series versus Carolina on Jan. 6-7. The team split their last back-to-back set in late November when they 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 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.

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' David 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 13-8-1 this season when scoring first and 4-10-1 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, 1,247-1101, through the first 38 games of the season.
- The Islanders have been outshot in 27 of 38 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 while shooting off 29.0 shots on goal per game. Thirteen of the team's 17 victories have come when the team has been outshot.
- They have a record of 13-13-1 when they have been outshot and have a record of 3-6-1 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 five times this season and have a record of 2-3. The most recent game was the team's loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 2 when they allowed 43 shots on goal.

The Islanders have taken the lead into the second period 15 times this season and have a record of 12-2-1. This stretch includes winning in overtime (vs. Bruins, Nov. 1) and winning in the shootout twice (at Rangers, Oct. 19 and at Pittsburgh Nov. 14). The first loss occurred in the shootout when the Islanders dropped a 4-3 decision to the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 23rd. The second occurred on Dec. 26 at Buffalo while the third occurred at Ottawa on Dec. 30.

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 and 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.

Every month, Islanders fans along with H.L. Gross & Brothers Jewelers select the Islander of the Month. With 17 points and an eight-game scoring streak through the first eight games of the month, Mike York was December's Player of the Month.

Jason Blake, Rick DiPietro and Mark Parrish were named to Team USA for the upcoming 2006 Winter Games in Turino, 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 Championships (1998, 2001 & 2005), while DiPietro has played in two World Championships (2001 & 2005). Blake has made one appearance at the World Championships (2000).

Miroslav Satan is heading back to the Olympics for the third time and will suit up for Team Slovakia in Italy. Also returning to the Olympics is center Alexei Yashin and defenseman Alexei Zhitnik. For Yashin this will also be his third Olympics after playing for Team Russia in 1998 and 2002. The 2006 games will also be Zhitnik's third tour with Team Russia and first since 1998. He chose not to join the team at the 2002 games in Salt Lake City. Yashin has won Olympic Silver (1998) and Bronze (2002), while Zhitnik has won Silver (1998) and Gold (1992).

- Arron Asham is one point away from his 100th NHL point.
- Mark Parrish is two points away from his 200th as an Islander.
- Alexei Yashin is five 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.
- Jason Blake recorded his 200th point as an Islander on Dec. 21 vs. New Jersey.
- Jason Blake played in his 300th games as an Islander on Dec. 23 vs. Ottawa.
- Alexei Yashin recorded his 700th NHL point on Dec. 26 at Buffalo.

Thursday, January 5: Practice at Nassau Coliseum, 10:00 am-12:30 pm
Friday, January 6: Game day skate at RBC Center, 11:30 am-12:30 pm
Saturday, January 7: Game day skate at Nassau Coliseum, 10:30 am-11:15 am
Sunday, January 8: Practice at Islanders Iceworks, 10:00 am-11:30 am
Monday, January 9: Practice at Islanders Iceworks, 10:00 am-12:30 pm
Tuesday, January 10: Game day skate at Nassau Coliseum, 10:30 am-11:15 am
Wednesday, January 11: Practice at Nassau Coliseum, 10:00 am-12:30 pm

NEXT 10 GAMES (all times Eastern)
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
Thursday, January 12 vs. Calgary, 7:00 pm
Saturday, January 14 vs. Vancouver, 7:00 pm
Tuesday, January 17 at Chicago, 7:30 pm
Thursday, January 19 at Carolina, 7:00 pm
Saturday, January 21 at New Jersey, Noon
Tuesday, January 24 vs. New Jersey, 7:00 pm

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers have announced the return of center Wyatt Smith from the Islanders, as well as the recall of goaltender Frederic Cloutier from the ECHL's Pensacola Ice Pilots. The Sound Tigers recently defeated the Lowell Lock Monsters in a convincing 6-0 home victory last Saturday that extended the team's unbeaten streak in regulation to five games at 4-0-0-1.

The Sound Tigers will return to action when they host the Philadelphia Phantoms tonight at 7:05 p.m. All Sound Tigers games are web-cast live at Fans can also watch all games live on the B2 Networks.

The Islanders Student and Military Savings Program is back for the 2005-06 season. Students and Military can receive up to 50% off select seating to see their New York Islanders in action. Students and Military personnel can purchase $55 seats for $28, $30 seats for $19 and $25 seats for $16. This offer is valid day of game only at Coliseum Box Office with valid I.D. - There will be a limit to two (2) tickets per I.D. - per game.

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