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GAME PREVIEW: Islanders at Toronto

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
7:30 pm; FSN, Bloomberg 1130

In a phone discussion with Islanders coach Steve Stirling last night, several things were made clear:
1. Jason Blake will sit out tonight's game against Toronto, but could return when the Islanders play New Jersey at the Coliseum on Wednesday. "You know Jason," said Stirling. "This is killing him. But we have to be cautious. He skated with Bates and Kvasha on Sunday. If he has a good practice on Tuesday, there's a fair chance we'll play him against the Devils."
2. The lineup tonight against the Maple Leafs will almost certainly be the same as the squad that beat Colorado, 5-4 at the Coliseum on Saturday night. "I liked the lines. I liked the chemistry there," said the coach. "Everyone we brought up from Bridegport earned a further look."
3. The coach is still looking for more consistent efforts. "We'll take the two points against Colorado," he said. "It was something to be proud of, especially with all the lineup changes, beating a good team like the Avalanche. But that said, we're still looking for more 60-minute games. Saturday, we got the start we needed, but then faded down the stretch. No one here is too pleased with themselves. We have to keep pushing."
Here are your game notes:
December 17, 2005
New York Islanders 5, Colorado Avalanche 4

The Islanders jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and held off the Colorado Avalanche for a 5-4 victory at the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday night. Jeff Hamilton, one of four morning call-ups, scored his first NHL goal, while Eric Godard recorded his first assist of the season. Arron Asham, Chris Campoli, Mark Parrish and Miroslav Satan also scored for the Islanders and goaltender Rick DiPietro earned his twelfth win of the season.

- Forward Jason Blake suffered a concussion on Dec. 13 and is 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 18 games. He is 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 31 games): 52   






Arron Asham


Rib Muscle

Shawn Bates

Jason   Blake                               



Hip Strain (4), Hamstring Strain (10)


Kevin Colley


Knee Sprain

Rick DiPietro


Concussion (1), Bruised Knee (1)

Oleg Kvasha



Petteri Nokelainen


Sprained Ankle (1), Knee Injury (18)

Mark Parrish


Hip Strain

Brent Sopel


Sprained Wrist


Total Games Missed:




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.

Goals... Miroslav Satan 15
Assists... Alexei Zhitnik 20
Points... Alexei Yashin 31
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 22.9%
Time On Ice... Alexei Zhitnik 24:41 per game

Tonight's game is the 108th regular season meeting and 125th meeting all-time between the Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Islanders currently lead the all-time series 53-27-7-1. In Toronto, the Islanders have a 23-25-4-1 record versus the Maple Leafs. This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season.

In the 2003-04 season, the Islanders and Maple Leafs split the season series 2-2 with the home team taking each game. Mark Parrish led the Islanders with three goal and four points, while Gary Roberts led the Leafs with three goals and five points.
Did You Know? In the playoffs, the Islanders have a 9-8 record over the Maple Leafs.

2005-06 Season Series:
December 19, 2005: at Air Canada Centre 7:30 pm
March 10, 2006: at Nassau Coliseum 7:00 pm
April 5, 2006: at Air Canada Centre 7:30 pm
April 13, 2006: at Nassau Coliseum 7:00 pm 

Islanders forward Jason Blake will be held out of tonight's contest while he continues to recover from a moderate concussion. Blake suffered the injury in the third period of Tuesday night's game against Minnesota. He has missed one game, the Islanders victory over Colorado on Saturday night (Dec. 17).

The Islanders place center Kevin Colley (knee sprain) on the Injured Reserve list (Dec. 17). He joins forward Oleg Kvasha (ankle) who was placed on the IR on Dec. 15 retroactive of Nov. 26. Forwards Shawn Bates (hamstring) and Petteri Nokelainen (patella tendonitis) are also on the IR. Kvasha has missed the last seven games and was injured on Nov. 26 at Philadelphia. Colley suffered his injury on Dec. 13 versus the Wild and will be out indefinitely. Kvasha has missed the last seven games, while Bates has missed the last 10 and Nokelainen has missed the last 18. Colley has been out for one game, so far.

With center Kevin Colley and Jason Blake expected to miss at least another game, the Islanders have recalled forwards Rob Collins, Jeremy Colliton, Jeff Hamilton and Wyatt Smith from their minor league affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Arron Asham and Trent Hunter have a hit or be hit type of mentality. Following Saturday's game, Asham is fifth in the league in hits with 84, while Hunter is in eighth place with 81. Brad Lukowich is third on the team and leads Islanders defenseman with 62 and is 22nd in the NHL. As a team, the Islanders have unloaded 545 hits on their opponents this season. In Saturday's game, Hunter and Lukowich led the team with four hits each and as a team, the Islanders recorded 16 hits.

Team captain Alexei Yashin leads the team in scoring with 31 points (12+19) in 31 games. This season, Yashin has recorded a point in 24 of 31 games. He has also scored in 13 of the last 16 games (4+12). He's also had five 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 30 games of that season he had 35 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.

The Islanders have started off December on a good note with a 4-1-1 record in their first six games of the month. Following a 2-1 win at Detroit (12/4), the Islanders rolled past the St. Louis Blues 6-3 (12/6) and rallied against the Columbus Blue Jackets (12/8) before falling in the shootout 4-3 (12/10). They returned to the Coliseum to the defeat the Edmonton Oilers in the shootout this past Saturday night (12/10), lost to the Minnesota Wild (12/13) and beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 (12/17). 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 have an overtime victory, three shootout victories and two shootout losses. They have not yet lost in overtime. See below for details.

- The Islanders killed five of seven Colorado Avalanche power plays on Saturday night.
- They have now allowed 15 power play goals in the last 16 games (97 chances).
- Overall, the Islanders have killed off 175 of 214 (81.7%) power play attempts in 31 games this season.
- The Islanders penalty kill is ranked fifth best in the NHL on the road with an 85.2 penalty kill percentage, while they are ranked 27th 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 zero for seven on the power play versus Colorado on Saturday night.
- They have 22 power play goals in the last 17 games.
- Overall, the Islanders have scored a power play goal in 22 of 31 games this season.
- They are 35-192 (18.2%) on the man-advantage and are 12th in the NHL. On the road, the team's power play is tenth in the NHL at 17.3%, while they are ranked 12th 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.

The Islanders are back on the road for one game tonight. A little over a week ago, the team finished up a three-game, six-day road trip with a 2-0-1 record last week. They defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 (12/4) and the St. Louis Blues (12/6) for their eighth and ninth road victories and fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in the shoot out (12/8).  In 2005-06, the Islanders are 9-7-0-1 on the road. After tonight's contest, the Islanders next road game is Dec. 26 at Buffalo for the second and final time this 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 12-5-1 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, 1,017-907, through the first 31 games of the 2005-06 season. The Islanders have been outshot in 22 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 13-8-1 when they have been outshot and have a record of 2-5-1 in games when they've outshot the opponent.

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 completed their third set of back-to-back games this past weekend, splitting the contests. 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. 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.

- Arron Asham is three points away from his 100th NHL point.
- Jason Blake is two games away from his 300th as an Islander.
- Kevin Colley's next goal will be his first NHL goal
- Eric Godard's next goal will be his first NHL goal.
- Oleg Kvasha is eight points away from his 200th NHL point.
- 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 four points away from his 700th NHL point.
- Alexei Yashin is seven 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.

Tuesday, December 20: Practice at Nassau Coliseum, 11:00 am-12:30 pm
Wednesday, December 21: Game day skate at Nassau Coliseum, 10:00 am 11:15 am
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: OFF
Sunday, December 25: OFF
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

NEXT 10 GAMES (all times Eastern)
Monday, December 19 at Toronto, 7:30 pm
Wednesday, December 21 vs. New Jersey, 7:30 pm*
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
* Please note the later home start time

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers were defeated by the Norfolk Admirals 5-2 at home on Sunday as Mark Cullen's hat trick led the way for the visitors. Robert Nilsson scored both Sound Tigers goals while Sean Bergenheim assisted on both. Goaltender Wade Dubielewicz made 37 saves on 42 shots in the losing effort.

The Sound Tigers will play the middle contests of a four-game homestand when they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this Wednesday at 7:05 pm and the Hartford Wolf Pack this Friday at 7:35 pm. All Sound Tigers games are web-cast live at Fans can also watch all games live on the B2 Networks.

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