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The Skinny: Islanders 2, Blue Jackets 0

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
“The Skinny” 

Game 71
Isles 2, Columbus 0

Evgeni Nabokov made 41 saves for his third shutout of the season and 58th of his career as the Islanders blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 before a crowd of 15,008 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  Cal Clutterbuck and Travis Hamonic scored for the Islanders, who improve to 3-9-1 in their last 13 home games (including 3-8-1 in their last 12 games at the Coliseum).
The Scoring:

1st Period
13:26 NYI Cal Clutterbuck (10) Snap shot - ASST: Frans Nielsen (28), Johan Sundstrom (1) 1 - 0 NYI
2nd Period
19:08 NYI PPG - Travis Hamonic (2) Snap shot - ASST: Calvin de Haan (11) 2 - 0 NYI   

3rd Period

The Skinny: 
It was The Isles’ third shutout of the season but first on Coliseum ice.  Their last home shutout came exactly 52 weeks ago (3/24/13 vs Florida)…It was Nabokov’s eighth shutout as an Islander… The Isles are 6-14-5 in their last 25 home games… Travis Hamonic now has 12 career goals, including four power play tallies.  Each of the four PP goals have come in a different season….Hamonic was the Isles’ most experienced defensemen in today’s game (Hamonic 240, Carkner 225, Hickey 109, deHaan 45, Donovan 43, Czuczman 1); The six Isles had 643 games of combined experience, which was 187 games fewer than Lubomir Visnovsky, who missed the games with an injury…Johan Sundstrom recorded his first NHL point, when he assisted on Cal Clutterbuck’s goal…Clutterbuck has reached double-digits in goals in each of his five full NHL seasons…The Isles wore their black alternate jerseys for the 7th and final time this season (2-3-2).  The Isles went 8-11-5 all-time in their black jersey, which will not be worn again…The Isles improve to 8-4-6 in games that they score the first two goals…Cal Clutterbuck has scored 3 goals in the last five games (all of which were won by the Isles); the Isles are 7-2-1 when Clutterbuck scores a goal.

THE Goal
Travis Hamonic had not scored a goal since the last week of October, but his end-to-end goal evoked memories of Bob Bourne’s legendary goal in the 1983 Playoffs against the Rangers.  Watch Bourne’s goal here:

The Shots:
Isles                 8-15-9=32
Blue Jackets    6-16-17=41

It’s only the third time in the last 15 games that the Isles have been outshot.

Home and Road
The Islanders are 27-35-9 overall, 17-18-8 at home (including 0-1-0 at Yankee Stadium) and 16-17-1 on the road. The Isles are 6-11-2 in their last 19 games.

Columbus is 36-29-6 overall; they are 19-13-3 at home and 17-16-3 on the road. The Blue Jackets have lost three of 4, but are 19-10-2 since the start of 2014.

By Division
The Isles are 7-15-3 in Division games and are 20-20-6 in games against other divisions. They are 9-6-3 vs. the Atlantic Division, 7-6-1 vs. Central Division, and 4-8-2 vs. the Pacific Division.

The Isles have losing records against every division opponent except Washington (1-1-1 with one to play) and Columbus (1-1-1 with one to play).  They are 0-3-0 against Carolina, 1-2-0 against New Jersey, 2-3-0 against New York, 1-3-0 against Philadelphia, and 1-2-1 against Pittsburgh.

This was the first of 12 consecutive games against Eastern Conference opponents to end the regular season.

In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov made 41 saves and improves to 13-14-6 on the season with his third shutout. Nabokov also gets his save percentage over .900 (.902) as he blanks the Islanders for the fourth time in his career.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves for Columbus but falls to 27-19-4 on the season.  Bobrovsky, who has played 18 straight games, falls to 9-2-0 against the Islanders in his career.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 1-4 on the power play while Columbus was 0-6. 

The Isles are 16-8-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 11-27-5 when they do not.  The Isles are 11-19-4 when they allow at least one power play goal and 16-16-5 when they do not. 

The Isles were 9-75 in the last 19 games on the power play and have allowed ten power play goals in 42 times short over the last ten games.  

Columbus is 0-35 in the last nine games on the power play.

Feast or Famine
The Isles PP went 10-33 in the first 10 games, before going 7-79 in the next 24 games. They rebounded to go 11-32 in the following 11 games but are only 13-100 in their last 26 games.

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 23-10-3 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 4-25-6 when they do not. 

Comeback Kids
The Isles are 12-9-7 when they score first and are 15-26-2 when they allow the opening goal.  The Isles have allowed the first goal in 24 of their last 33 games.

Second to The One
Jack Capuano became the 2nd coach in Islander history to win 100 games in Toronto on January 7th and became the 2nd coach in Islander history to coach 250 games on January 27th against Boston. He is 2nd on the all-time Islander list in both games coached (266) and wins (111).

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.    Al Arbour 1,500
2.    Jack Capuano 266
3.    Mike Milbury 191
4.    Terry Simpson 187
5.    Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.    Al Arbour 740
2.    Jack Capuano 111
3.    Terry Simpson 81
4.    Peter Laviolette 77
5.    Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
Travis Hamonic: "Things haven't necessarily gone in pretty easily for me this season, so it's nice to see the ice kind of open up. Honestly I was just trying to hit [Ryan Strome] on the left side of the ice. We've had some success early on in the period doing that. That was our route, and it seems like the defenseman kind of overplayed both sides of the ice and protected the walls a little bit too much. Fortunate to keep skating and it was a pretty big relief to get that one in.”

They Tweeted It

@morrellsports Great win by the #Isles. Awesome goal by Hamonic and congrats to Nabokov for the shutout!
@Jordan_Lyn Travis Hamonic goes coast to coast and snipes Bob. You're off the case!

The Coach
"Your goaltender is obviously your best penalty killer. He made some big saves for us. We mismanaged the puck in the neutral zone a few times … but he was there for us."

The Isles are now 6-8-1 in the front-end and 6-7-2 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.  The Isles have swept three back-to-backs:  November 1st/2nd vs. Ottawa and Boston; January 6th/7th vs. Dallas and Toronto and January 20th/21st vs. Philadelphia and the Rangers.

In the 15 sets of back-to-backs, they have earned 4 points three times, 3 points once, 2 points five times, 1 point twice and no points on four occasions. 

The Isles’ next back-to-back set is on April 1st against Florida and April 2nd at Ottawa. Six of the Isles’ final eight games will be played as part of three back-to-back sets.

Leading Ice Men
Travis Hamonic led the Isles with 24:05 of ice-time; James Wisniewski led Columbus with 26:36. 

The Isles are 15-17-6 when MacDonald leads in ice-time, are 12-13-3 when Hamonic leads, are 0-1-0 when Okposo leads, are 0-1-0 when Strait leads, are 0-2-0 when Tavares leads and are 0-1-0 when Vanek leads.

In the Circle
The Islanders won 25 of 57 draws (44%), including only 4 of 17 in the first period. Kyle Okposo won 8 of 12 for the Isles; Ryan Johansen won 13 of 21 for Columbus.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit Columbus 27-26; Matt Martin led the Isles with seven hits, giving him 307 hits on the season.  Martin leads the NHL in hits by a wide margin.  It is the second time in his career that he has recorded 300 hits.

Mike Halmo fought former Islander Blake Comeau in the third period. The Isles have received 30 fighting penalties this season: Martin (10), Boulton (8), Carkner (6), McDonald (2), Hamonic (2), Halmo (1) and Okposo (1).

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 12 blocked shots, including a team-high five blocks for Calvin deHaan.

The Race to 1,400?
The Islanders once again go one game over all-time NHL .500 (1398-1397-448 in 3,243 games). The Isles have been 1-under all-time .500 after six games this season and have gone 4-0-2 in the following game. 

The Isles have finished every season since 1977-78 above all-time NHL .500 and have not been more than 1 game under NHL-.500 since January 11, 1978.

Thomas Hickey is the Islanders’ reigning ironman.  He has played 72 consecutive regular season games, and is the only Islander to have played in every game this season. 

Missing Men
John Tavares is on injured reserve. Michael Grabner missed his fourth straight game with a concussion; Brian Strait missed his first game with a broken hand while Lubomir Visnovsky also missed the game with an upper body injury; Matt Donovan and Matt Carkner replaced them in the lineup.  Eric Boulton and Radek Martinek were also scratched.  The Isles announced after the game that Boulton had signed a 1-year contract and will return to the team next season.

The Isles have lost 174 games this season due to injury. 

Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 686
2. Roberto Luongo 370
3. Evgeni Nabokov 348
4. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Wins
17. Rogie Vachon 355
18. Evgeni Nabokov 348
19. Gump Worsley 335
20. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Shutouts, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 124
2. Roberto Luongo 66
3. Evgeni Nabokov 57
4. Tomas Vokoun 51
5. Henrik Lundqvist 50

Career Shutouts
16 Turk Broda 62
17 John Ross Roach 58
17 Evgeni Nabokov 58
19 Clint Benedict       57

Career Goals as an Islander
15    Mariusz Czerkawski    145
16    John Tavares     136
17    Jason Blake    127

27    Trent Hunter     99
28    Kyle Okposo    99
29    Mikko Makela     95
29    David Volek     95
31    Randy Wood     94
32    Greg Gilbert     93
32    Garry Howatt     93
34    Travis Green     92
35    Butch Goring    87
36    Tomas Jonsson    84
37    Michael Grabner 82
37    Frans Nielsen    82

39    Wayne Merrick    81
39    Dave Scatchard    81

Career Assists as an Islander
16    Ed Westfall    181
17    John Tavares    179
18    Kenny Jonsson    175
19    Alexei Yashin    171
20    Duane Sutter    171
21    Jean Potvin    167
22    Jeff Norton    166
23    Frans Nielsen    165
24    Zigmund Palffy    163
25    Kyle Okposo    155   
26    David Volek    154
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
24    Eddie Westfall    493
25    Radek Martinek 479
26    Gerry Hart    476
29    Scott Lachance 450
30    Frans Nielsen     436
31    Jason Blake      426

34    Wayne Merrick  411
35    Jean Potvin    402
36    David Volek     396
37    Josh Bailey     395
37    Bert Marshall    392
39    Kyle Okposo     389
40    Travis Green     388
41    Anders Kallur     383
42    Randy Wood     381
43    John Tavares     350
44    Dave Scatchard    347

Career Points as an Islander
16    Ziggy Palffy    331
17    John Tavares     315
18    Mariusz Czerkawski    295
22    Jason Blake    258
22    Steve Thomas    258
24    Kyle Okposo     254
25    David Volek    249
26    Frans Nielsen     246
27    Ray Ferraro    238

Season Series Stats
The Blue Jackets still lead the season series, 2 games to 1 (and 4 points to 3). The final meeting of the season will be on April 6th in Columbus.

The Isles improve to 5-8-4 all-time against the Jackets, but this was only their second regulation win (and their first in over 7 years.  Rick DiPietro blanked Columbus on December 23, 2006.

Happy Anniversary
19 years ago tonight (March 23, 1995):  The Rangers outshot the Islanders 37-15 but Steve Thomas scored the game’s only goal, midway through the third period, as Tommy Soderstrom blanked the Blueshirts 1-0 at a sold-out Coliseum. 

The Isles had won two Stanley Cups before they had ever won on this date. However, the Isles are 7-4-1 in their last 12 games on March 23rd and are 7-6-4 all-time on this date.

On The Farm
Bridgeport dropped a 2-1 decision in a shootout to St. John on Saturday and then fell 4-2 to Portland on Sunday. Bridgeport is 1-7-1-1 in their last ten games and 27-31-2-5 on the season.

The Sound Tigers are now off until Saturday when they visit Hartford.

Up Next
[MSG-Plus (Isles Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]

The Islanders begin a 2-game road trip on Tuesday as they face the Carolina Hurricanes.

The teams have met three times this season, and the Hurricanes have used a different goaltender in each game, each of which was won by Carolina by a single goal.

The Isles are 0-5-1 in their last six games against Carolina.

And Finally…
While the Sound Tigers will be away this coming weekend, there will be college hockey in Bridgeport as the NCAA Regional Finals are played.  Good luck to my alma mater, Union College, as they look to repeat their 2012 feat of winning the regional in Bridgeport to get them to the Frozen Four. Union faces Vermont and Quinnipiac plays Providence in Friday’s regional semi-finals.

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.

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