Devils 2, Isles 1
David Clarkson scored the winning goal midway through the third period as the Devils spoiled the Islanders’ season opener, 2-1, before a sellout crowd of 16,170 at the Nassau Coliseum. It’s the 10th time in the last twelve seasons that the Isles have sold out the home opener.
14:01 EV N.J 19 T.ZAJAC(1) 17 I.KOVALCHUK(1) 7 H.TALLINDER(1)
7:12 PP NYI3 T.HAMONIC(1)40 M.GRABNER(1)21 K.OKPOSO(1)
8:17 EV N.J23 D.CLARKSON(1)26 P.ELIAS(1)21 M.TEDENBY(1)
The Skinny Marty Brodeur extended his own NHL record by starting the season opener for the 18th straight season. The Isles have used five starting goaltenders (Rick DiPietro-Joey MacDonald-Dwayne Roloson-Al Montoya-Evgeni Nabokov) in the last five openers. Travis Hamonic matches his career high in power play goals in a season; he now has three career PP goals (one in each season). It was his 50th career point.
The 19 shots are the fewest for the Islanders in a season opener since they had 18 in Washington on October 9, 2003.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 0-1-0 overall, 0-1-0 at home and 0-0-0 on the road. All-time, the Isles are 24-12-4 in home openers and 9-21-10 in their first game of the regular season. The Isles are 2-5-2 when they play the season opener at home.
New Jersey is 1-0-0 overall, and 1-0-0 on the road.
In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 26 shots but loses his first season opener as an Islander.
Martin Brodeur made 18 saves as he defeated the Islanders for the 50th time in his career (50-27-6) He has now won 657 NHL games.
The Isles went 1-4 on the power play while New Jersey was 0-2. Six of the eight goals that the Isles have scored in their last four openers have come on the power play. Ilya Kovalchuk played all four minutes of the two New Jersey power plays.
They Tweeted It
@StapeNewsday: “Just got a text from Jack Capuano: "Out of surgery, feeling much better."
With Jack Capuano out ill, Doug Weight handled the post-game press conference: “Nabby looked in control tonight. I’ve played a lot of hockey against Evgeni. He’s a confident individual. He brings it every night and I knew he’d have a good game tonight. He looked quick and agile. I think he was a little screened on that second one. That was a tough break.” (Video showed it was even a tougher break; the puck deflected off the skate of Islander defenseman Brian Strait.)
Leading Ice Men
Andrew MacDonald led the Isles with 27:13; Ilya Kovalchuk led New Jersey with 24:37.
Lots of Ice for Okposo
Kyle Okposo played 23:43; among Islander forwards only John Tavares (25:31) played more. It’s the most ice time for Okposo in a game since he played 28:20 in the 2009-10 season finale.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 30 draws; the Devils won 21. Newcomer Keith Aucoin won 8 of 10 for the Isles; Travis Zajac won 8 of 15 for the Devils.
The Islanders were out-hit 23-19. Newcomer Joe Finley led the Isles with three. There were no fights in the game
Lots of Blocks
The Isles, who led the NHL in blocked shots last year with 1,364, blocked 16 shots. Andrew MacDonald led the way with 5.
The Isles are winless since 2007 on Opening Night (0-3-2). With Anaheim and Chicago both winning today, the Isles now have the longest active Opening Night winless streak.
Who are the New Guys?
Seven players made their first appearance as Islanders: Matt Carkner, Keith Aucoin, Colin McDonald, Brad Boyes, Eric Boulton, Brian Strait and Joe Finley. One other: Thomas Hickey made the opening night roster but did not dress.
More O from D
In addition to getting a power play goal from Hamonic, eight of the Islanders’ 19 shots came from defensemen.
It’s Been a Loooong Time
This was the Islanders’ first game in exactly 41 weeks (287 days) and their first Coliseum tilt in 289 days.
With the loss, the Islanders are now one game over all-time NHL .500 (1347-1346-432 in 3,125 games). The Isles twice last season fell one game below .500. Prior to that, they had not been below NHL .500 since they were 177-178-83 prior to their victory on January 16, 1978.
Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 247 games since joining the team. Moulson’s streak is the longest for an Islander in the Post-Cup era and the 4th longest in club history. Billy Harris played in the first 576 games in Islander history; that figure still stands as the club record.
Three other Islanders, Frans Nielsen, John Tavares and Mark Streit, also played in every game last season. Tavares extended his streak to 161 consecutive games, while Nielsen and Streit have each played in 83.
Longest Consecutive Game Streaks, Islander History
1. Billy Harris 576
2. Bob Nystrom 301
3. Denis Potvin 262
4. Matt Moulson 247
Casey Cizikas, Radek Martinek and Thomas Hickey were scratched. Josh Bailey and Jesse Joensuu remain suspended after suffering injuries in Europe. Lubomir Visnovsky has not yet reported.
Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 657
2. Roberto Luongo 339
3. Nikolai Khabibulin 328
4. Evgeni Nabokov 312
5. Miikka Kiprusoff 311
21. Sean Burke 324
22. Evgeni Nabokov 312
23. Miikka Kiprusoff 311
Career Goals as an Islander
25Trent Hunter 99
26Matt Moulson 97
27Mikko Makela 95
27David Volek 95
32Travis Green 92
33Butch Goring 87
34Tomas Jonsson 84
34John Tavares 84
36Wayne Merrick 81
36Dave Scatchard 81
Career Assists as an Islander – active players
4Kyle Okposo 94
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
51Brad Dalgarno 321
52Frans Nielsen 320
53Steve Webb 316
53Ray Ferraro 316
53Richard Park 316
59Arron Asham 300
59Roman Hamrlik 300
61Josh Bailey 291
62Gord Dineen 287
63Jeff Norton 282
65Kyle Okposo 272
66Blake Comeau 261
66Andre St. Laurent 261
72Brad Isbister 247
72Brendan Witt 247
72Matt Moulson 247
75Sean Bergenheim 246
76John Tavares 244
77Miroslav Satan 243
78Bryan Berard 242
79JP Parise 240
80Mark Streit 239
81Adrian Aucoin 235
Career Points as an Islander
35John Tavares 202
44Matt Moulson 170
48Frans Nielsen 167
50Kyle Okposo 162
Season Series Stats
The Devils lead the season series 1-0-0 and two points to zero. New Jersey is the only team that will visit the Coliseum three times this season. Since moving to New Jersey, the Devils have faced the Islanders four times on opening night, and New Jersey has won all four games. The teams will next meet on January 31st at the Prudential Center.
35 years ago tonight (1-19-78): Billy Smith stopped 23 shots and recently-acquired Wayne Merrick had the winning goal as the Isles blanked the St. Louis Blues 3-0 in St. Louis.
Overall, the Isles are 8-9-3 on this date.
On The Farm
Kevin Poulin made 24 saves and rookie Scott Campbell had the winning goal as the Sound Tigers defeated Binghamton 4-2 Saturday night. Bridgeport has won two straight and improved to 19-16-2-2. The Sound Tigers host Springfield on Sunday afternoon.
MONDAY, JANUARY 21st TAMPA BAY AT ISLANDERS 1:00PM
[MSG+ (Islanders Game Night at 12:30pm), WRHU (88.7FM)]
The season-opening homestand concludes with an MLK Day matinee, as the Islanders host Tampa Bay. The Lightning defeated Washington 5-3 in their opener; former Islander Eric Brewer scored twice (after scoring only once all last season). Vinny Lecavalier is scheduled to play in his 1,000th NHL game. This is the first of three meetings this season between the teams; they split four games last season, with the home team winning all four. Both Islander wins last season were by a 5-1 score.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in “The Skinny” has been gathered from various sources. Follow Eric @ehornick on Twitter.