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PRE-GAME REPORT: Islanders at Rangers

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

After holding on for a 4-3 win over the Thrashers last night, now it's on to solving the magician that is Jaromir Jagr. The Islanders won both games of a home-and-home last week with the Rangers one in a shootout but they could not stop Jagr, who was a threat every time he stepped on the ice and had a hat trick on Thursday. If the Islanders want to go 3-for-3 against their rivals, they'll need to do a better job on Jagr.

"He's one of the best players in the world, if not the best, and he's completely committed himself to what his team is trying to accomplish on the ice," said Steve Stirling after today's practice at Islanders Iceworks in Syosset. "While completing our assignments on the rest of the team, we need to be on Jagr because he's so explosive."

A leading candidate for even more responsibility is defenseman Alexei Zhitnik, the Islanders' second-leading scorer who is 1-9-10 in nine games and is averaging 25 minutes of icetime each game. "Z has been a gem for us," said Stirling. "Just give him his 25 minutes and watch him do his thing. When he is on the ice, I have no worries."

Brent Sopel is doubtful for Thursday's game at the Garden, while Mark Parrish's return is a possibility. Parrish practiced today. If Petteri Nokelainen, who sat out practice with an injury that kept him off the ice Tuesday night for a few minutes, and Parrish are unable to play, the Islanders will have a forward from Bridgeport ready to go.

Forward Mark Parrish (hip strain) is day-to-day.
Defenseman Brent Sopel (left wrist sprain) is day-to-day.

Total Man-Games Lost (After 9 games): 10 
2003-04 Total Man-Games Lost (After 9 games): 2

October 14 - The Islanders recalled goaltender Wade Dubielewicz from Bridgeport.
October 17 - The Islanders reassigned goaltender Wade Dubielewicz to Bridgeport.

October 25, 2005
New York Islanders 4, Atlanta Thrashers 3

Alexei Yashin had a season-high two goals to lead the New York Islanders to a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday at the Nassau Coliseum. Yashin also had an assist to extend his point streak to a season-high seven games. Miroslav Satan and Jason Blake also scored to help the Islanders win for the third time in their last four games. Rick DiPietro made 34 saves for his fourth victory of the season. Ilya Kovalchuk had two power-play goals and Bobby Holik also scored with the man-advantage for Atlanta, which has lost five of its last six. Adam Berkhoel stopped 22 shots for the Thrashers. The Islanders scored on their second shot of the game, with Satan flipping a wrist shot over Berkhoel's glove. Satan has seven goals this season, five in his last four games. Kovalchuk tied it at 3:49 of the second period, beating DiPietro off a rebound on a power play. Atlanta's Patrik Stefan was awarded a penalty shot at 4:16 when he was hauled down on a breakaway. On the attempt, Stefan's wrist shot from about 20 feet missed the net completely. Atlanta scored on its next power-play opportunity to take a 2-1 lead at 7:39. DeVries took a shot from the point that was inadvertently tipped in by Islanders defenseman Brad Lukowich. Yashin tied it at 11:00 on the power play on a tough angle shot. He has five goals and six assists during his seven-game point streak. Yashin scored his second power play goal of the game to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead.  He flipped a rebound of Satan's shot over Berkhoel. Blake made it 4-2 with 36 seconds left in the period with a wrist shot. Kovalchuk scored on a power play with 4:20 left. Atlanta had five power plays in the final period.

The Islanders lead the season series, 2-0.  The Islanders will be making their second visit of the season to Madison Square Garden to play the Rangers.  Last week, the Islanders swept the home-and-home series with the Rangers, winning 3-2 in a shootout at the Garden last Wednesday and posting a 5-4 win last Thursday at the Nassau Coliseum.  

The Islanders have a lifetime record of 86-88-19-1 against the New York Rangers. At home, the Islanders have a record of 55-33-8-1, while in 97 regular season visits to Madison Square Garden, they have a record of 34-52-11-0.  In 2003-04, the Islanders lost all six regular season meetings to the Rangers.  Following tonight's game, the Islanders will not visit Madison Square Garden until April, when they will play two games in six days (April 6 and 11) against the Rangers to wrap-up the season series.             

Center Alexei Yashin extended his point streak to seven games with three points (2+1) in Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. Yashin, who leads the team in scoring with 12 points (6+6), has recorded 11 points (5+6) in the last seven games and has a point in eight of nine games this season. He has recorded five points (3+2) in the last two games and has recorded multiple-points in three of the last four games. In addition to his seven-game point streak, Yashin has recorded an assist in each of the last five games. This is his longest point streak since last season (2003-04), when he had a nine-game point streak with 13 points (3+10) from November 14-December 3. 

Veteran defenseman Alexei Zhitnik has two assists in each of the last three games and has recorded at least one assist in each of the last five games for the Islanders. Zhitnik has a five-game point streak and assist streak in progress with 0-8-8 totals.  Zhitnik, who is second on the team in scoring with 10 points (1+9), has recorded a point in seven of nine games this season. He recorded his 400th career point with an assist on Alexei Yashin's first period power play goal last Wednesday against the Rangers. Signed by the Islanders as a free agent on August 2, Zhitnik has 82 goals and 324 assists in 891 career NHL games. Zhitnik has collected nine assists in the last seven games. Zhitnik was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round (81st overall) of the 1991 Entry Draft.

Miroslav Satan played a key role in the Islanders' sweep of the Rangers last week. The veteran sniper scored a goal in regulation and then lifted the Islanders' to victory with the game-winning goal in the shootout over the Rangers at the Garden on October 19. Then the following night at the Coliseum, he scored 89 seconds into the game as the Islanders scored three unanswered goals in the first period to take an early 3-0 lead.  Before the two games against the Rangers last week, Satan had two goals in the previous five games.  Since the October 19 game against the Rangers, he has six points (5+1) in the last four games, including two goals on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens. Overall, Satan has nine points (7+2) in nine games this season. He has recorded a point in seven of nine games, including two-multiple-point games, both in the last two games. 

After recording two points (1+1) in the first six games of the season, Trent Hunter has recorded four points (0+4) in the last three games, including two assists in Tuesday's win over the Thrashers.  Hunter's last multiple-assist game was at Dallas on February 11, 2004. He led the team in scoring with 51 points (25+26) as a rookie in 2003-04.  

Goaltender Rick DiPietro stopped Atlanta's Patrik Stefan on a penalty shot early in the second period on Tuesday. The penalty shot was the first attempted against the Islanders this season and the 19th in team history.  Stefan was awarded a penalty shot at 4:16 of the second period when he was hauled down on a breakaway. The penalty shot was the third attempted against DiPietro and the previous two attempts by Michel Nylander (12/21/02) and Erik Cole (4/2/04) were unsuccessful.  

The Islanders play 11 games during October this season, five at home and six on the road.  So far this month, the Islanders are 5-4-0-0, with two games remaining this month, one at home and one on the road.  Last season, the Islanders were 4-3-2-0 during October.

The Islanders are 3-1-0 at home this season, scoring 13 goals and allowing 11. The Islanders opened up the home portion of their schedule with a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on October 8, but dropped a 3-1 decision to the Florida Panthers on Oct. 10. The islanders have won their last two home games, winning 5-4 over the N.Y. Rangers last Thursday and edged the Atlanta Thrashers, 4-3, at the Coliseum on Tuesday.  The Islanders will play three of their next four games at home. 

The Islanders had a record of 25-11-4-1 at home during the 2003-04 season.  The Islanders ranked first in the East and third in the NHL in home wins. The 25 wins and 55 points at home were the most in 19 years (1985-86 season).  During the 2003-04 campaign, the Islanders had a nine-game unbeaten streak (6-0-3-0) in February marked the longest streak since the 1989-90 season. 

The Islanders are 2-3-0 on the road this season, scoring 16 goals and allowing 20. Including tonight's game, the Islanders will play nine of their next 12 games on the road.  In 2003-04, the Islanders had a 13-18-7-3 record on the road. 

The Islanders are unbeaten in 56 games (48-0-8) when taking a lead into the third period. The streak is the longest active streak in the NHL. 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 4-1 this season when scoring first and 1-3 when the opposition scores the first goal of the game. Buffalo, Carolina, Philadelphia and Montreal have scored first in games against the Islanders this season, while New York has scored first against Carolina, Washington, the Rangers (twice) and Atlanta. 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 were 2-6 on the power play on Tuesday vs. Atlanta. The Islanders have scored a power play goal in eight of nine games this season, including two in each of the last four games. Overall, the Islanders are 12-65 (18.5%) on the power play. In 2003-04, 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 16-4-1at home in games that they scored at least one power play goal.

The Islanders killed off eight of Atlanta's 11 power play chances on Tuesday. Overall, the Islanders have killed off 64 of 77 (83.1%) power play attempts in nine games this season. The Islanders are ranked 11th in the league in penalty kill. 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 short handed tally in the Islanders' 5-3 win over Washington on October 13.    

The Islanders have been outshot, 314-255, through the first nine games of the 2005-06 season.   The Islanders have been outshot in seven of the nine games this season.  The Islanders are allowing an average of 34.9 shots per game.  They have a record of 3-2 when they have been outshot and have a record of 2-2 in games when they have outshot the opponent. The Islanders have also allowed 40 or more shots in a game twice during the season, and have a record of 1-1. 

The Islanders complete their first set of back-to-back games with a sweep of the New York Rangers last week (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 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.

Friday, October 28: Iceworks, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 29: Game-day skate at Nassau Coliseum (10-11:15 a.m.). Game vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sunday, October 30: Off
Monday, October 31: Iceworks, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, November 1: Game-day skate at Nassau Coliseum (10-11:15 a.m.). Game vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, November 2: Nassau Coliseum, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 3: Game-day skate at Nassau Coliseum (10-11:15 a.m.). Game vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Friday, November 4: Iceworks, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 5: Game-day skate at Corel Centre (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.), Game at Ottawa, 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 6:  Iceworks, 10 -11:30 a.m.

Saturday, October 29 vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, November 1 vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
Thursday, November 3 vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 5 at Ottawa, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, November 8 at New Jersey, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 10 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 12 vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
Monday, November 14 at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 16 at Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Thursday, November 17 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.

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