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GAME PREVIEW: Islanders at Tampa Bay

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
7:30 pm, FSN with Howie & Joe; Bloomberg 1130 with JW & Kinger

Tonight's game in Tampa Bay has nothing to do with the Islanders avenging their first round playoff loss to the Lightning in 2004. No, too much time has transpired, a lot has happened since and let's face it -- this is one regular season game, one that will not feature the amazing Martin St. Louis for the Lightning.

Tonight is about the Islanders -- winners of three straight, 4-of-5 and playing much better of late as a team -- staying on a roll.

"It's an excellent test for us," Islanders coach Steve Stirling said this morning. "The defending Cup champs, well-rested at home while we're on the back end of back-to-back games. It's another measuring stick for us."

Even without St. Louis (broken finger), the Lightning are still dangerous. Carrying the load are Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards (points in 10 of the last 11 games) and Vinny Prospal, who has an 11-game point streak and always plays well against the Islanders.

Petteri Nokelainen (patella tendonitis) has missed the last six games and is out indefinitely.

Total Man-Games Lost (After 19 games): 21

November 16, 2005
New York Islanders 7, Atlanta Thrashers 3

Last night the Islanders defeated the Atlanta Thrashers 7-3 to improve to 2-0 on their current four-game road trip. Shawn Bates and Miroslav Satan each netted two goals and Jason Blake capped off the night with three points (1+2). Garth Snow made 39 saves on 42 shots for his third win of the season. For his strong efforts, Snow was named the game's No. 1 star of the night. The Islanders' penalty kill was outstanding once again by killing off all eight Atlanta Thrashers power plays, while the power play was equally effective with converting on three of twelve attempts. Rookie defenseman Chris Campoli had his first multi-point game of his carrier with two assists, including the primary assist on Miroslav Satan's second period goal, which proved to be the game winner.

The Islanders will face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first time this season. It's the first meeting between the two clubs since Tampa Bay eliminated the Islanders in Game Five of the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on April 16, 2004 at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Islanders lead the all-time series 25-22-3-1 and have a record of 24-22-4-2 versus the Lightning. In 2003-04, the teams split the two games played in Tampa with the Islanders winning the March 16 match up.

The Islanders are in the midst of their second longest road trip of the season, a span of four games. Following tonight's game in Tampa Bay, the Islanders travel to Sunrise, FL. to take on the Panthers to close out the trip on Saturday night. They have already defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in a shootout on Monday night and the Atlanta Thrashers 7-3 on Wednesday night. The team has a five game road trip in March, which will also take them to Atlanta and both Florida stops as well as Boston and New Jersey. The Islanders are 5-6 on the road so far this season.

* The Islanders successfully killed off all eight Atlanta power plays on Wednesday night.
* They haven't allowed a power play goal in the last four games (22 chances).
* They haven't given up a power play goal in 25 straight chances.
* Overall, the Islanders have killed off 117 of 136 (86.0%) power play attempts in 19 games this season.
* 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 October 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 October 8 and Jason Blake scored a shorthanded tally in the Islanders' 5-3 win over Washington on October 13.

* The Islanders were 3-12 on the power play against Atlanta on Wednesday night.
* They have seven power play goals in the last five games.
* Overall, the Islanders have scored a power play goal in 13 of 19 games this season.
* They are 20-126 (15.9%) on the man-advantage. 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 shootout victory over the Penguins on Monday night was the longest so far in the NHL this season. Eighteen shooters were used by both teams, setting 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.

It was the team's second shootout win of the season, with the other coming against the New York Rangers in a 3-2 decision at Madison Square Garden on October 19. In that contest, Miroslav Satan scored the only shootout goal against Henrik Lundqvist. The Islanders carry a perfect 2-0 record in shootouts this season.

Team captain Alexei Yashin leads the team in scoring with 21 points (10+11) in 19 games. This season, Yashin has recorded a point in 15 of 19 games, seven of the past nine (3+6) and in the last four games (1-4-4). He's also had four multiple-point games. This is Yashin's best start since the 2001-02 season, his first as an Islander. That season he finished with 32 goals, 43 assists and 75 points.

This season, he had a season-high seven-game point streak from October 10-25, collecting 11 points (5+6). In addition to his seven-game point streak, Yashin recorded an assist in five consecutive games (October 15-25). The point streak was Yashin's longest since the 2003-04, when he had a nine-game point streak with 13 points (3+10) from November 14-December 3.

With two goals at Atlanta on Wednesday night, Shawn Bates has six goals in the past five games (6+1) including five goals in the past three. Also, he has six goals and two assists for eight points and a +6 rating in the past five games. In addition to those streaks, Bates has scored points in three consecutive games.

Bates has eight goals on the season, which is just one shy of his 2003-04 total of nine. He leads the team with three game winners, which includes an overtime tally versus Boston on November 1 at the Coliseum. He also has a shootout goal, which he recorded against the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 14. Overall, Bates has nine points this season (8+1).

Following his shootout winning goal earlier in the week versus Pittsburgh, Jason Blake's hot hand continued to find net with a breakaway goal in the third period in Atlanta on Wednesday night. He also had two assists versus the Thrashers and now has points in three of the last five games (2-3-5, +7).

The Islanders have a record of 5-3-0 in the month of November. The Islanders will play a total of 14 games this month, six at home and eight on the road. Last season, the Islanders were 5-8-0-0 in November.

             Win  Loss  OTL 
     Oct.     5      6      0  
     Nov.    5       3      0 

* The Islanders have an overtime victory and two shootout victories. See below for details.

The Islanders are unbeaten in 60 games (52-0-8) when taking a lead into the third period. The streak is the longest active streak in the NHL. The Islanders are 8-0-0 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. During the 2003-04 season, the Islanders were 26-0-5 when leading after two periods. The Islanders outscored their opponent, 87-61 in the third period in 2003-04.The streak began on December 28, 2002 with a 3-0 win vs. Carolina.

The Islanders are 9-3 this season when scoring first and 1-6 when the opposition scores the first goal of the game. Buffalo, Carolina, Philadelphia, Montreal, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh and Ottawa have scored first in games against the Islanders this season, while New York has scored first against Carolina, Washington, the Rangers (twice), Atlanta (twice), Buffalo, Boston (twice), New Jersey, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. 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, 632-528, through the first 19 games of the 2005-06 season. The Islanders have been outshot in 13 of 19 games this season, including six straight from October 15-27. The Islanders are allowing an average of 33.3 shots per game. They have a record of 7-6 when they have been outshot and have a record of 2-3 in games when they've outshot the opponent. The Islanders recorded a season-high 40 shots, including 20 in the first period last Thursday against the Flyers. The Islanders have also allowed 40 or more shots in a game three times this season and have a record of 2-1. The most recent game was Wednesday night's victory in Atlanta.

The Islanders completed their first set of back-to-back games of the season with a sweep of the New York Rangers on October 19-20. 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 are in the midst of a back-to-back set as they played the Atlanta Thrashers last night. The Islanders have a record of 2-0 in the first game of back-to-back games and a 1-0-0 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.

Islanders' captain Alexei Yashin scored his 300th NHL career goal in Monday night's 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brad Lukowich and Janne Niinimaa were credited with the assists on the second period goal. The tally was Yashin's 82nd as an Islander. He scored 218 as a member of the Ottawa Senators.

Shawn Bates scored the game-winning goal with 28.2 seconds left in overtime to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins on November 1 at the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders are 3-0 in overtime (two shootout victories) this season and have a lifetime record of 65-60-194 in overtime. Last season, the Islanders had a record of 2-4-11 in overtime.

The Islanders are 5-3-0 at home this season, scoring 27 goals and allowing 28. The last two Islander home wins have come against the Boston Bruins by a combined score of 9-5. The Islanders have one loss at home in November, a 5-1 decision by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Islanders have a total attendance of 103,589 after eight games at the Nassau Coliseum, for an average of 12,949 (77.8% capacity) with one sellout.  Last season after seven games at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders had a total attendance of 84,866, an average of 12,266 (79.8% capacity) with one sellout. The seating capacity for the Nassau Coliseum is 16,234.

November 15 - Signed forward Jeff Hamilton and assigned him to Bridgeport (AHL).
November 2 - Reassigned goaltender Wade Dubielewicz to Bridgeport.
October 31 - Recalled goaltender Wade Dubielewicz from Bridgeport.
October 28 - Reassigned center Kevin Colley to Bridgeport.
October 27 - Recalled center Kevin Colley from Bridgeport.
October 15 - Reassigned goaltender Wade Dubielewicz to Bridgeport.
October 14 - Recalled goaltender Wade Dubielewicz from Bridgeport.

Thursday, November 17: Game day skate at St. Pete Times-Forum, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Friday, November 18: Bank Airlines Arena, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 19: Game day skate at Bank Airlines Arena, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 20: No practice.
Monday, November 21: Islanders Iceworks, 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, November 22: Nassau Coliseum, 10:30a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 23: Game day skate at Nassau Coliseum, 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Thursday, November 17 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 19 at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 23 vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Friday, November 25 vs. Ottawa, 2 p.m.
Saturday, November 26 at Philadelphia, 2 p.m.
Tuesday, November 29 vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 4 at Detroit, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, December 6 at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Thursday, December 8 at Columbus, 7 p.m.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers shut out the Philadelphia Phantoms 1-0 at home Wednesday for their sixth straight win, their third in a row at Bridgeport's Arena at Harbor Yard.  Goaltender Chris Madden also improved his personal winning streak to five games by making 29 saves for his first shutout as a Sound Tiger and the team's first of the season. The Sound Tigers took the lead when Paul Flache hit Kevin Colley in-stride with a two-zone pass and Colley slipped the puck past Philadelphia netminder Jamie Storr for his fifth goal of the season to make it 1-0 with 2:39 left in the first period.  The helper was the third in as many games for Flache.  Bruno Gervais also assisted on the play. Recently re-signed forward Jeff Hamilton made his season debut with the team and finished +1 with three shots on goal.


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