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The Skinny: Islanders 2, Canadiens 0

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
“The Skinny” 

Game 80
Isles 2, Montreal 0

Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson scored power play goals and Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for his 59th career shutout as the Islanders blanked the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 before the customary sellout crowd of 21,273 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.  It’s the first time the Isles have ever shutout the Canadiens in Montreal and is their first shutout over Les Habitants since Tommy Salo blanked the Habs on November 12, 1998 at the Coliseum.

The Scoring:
1st Period


2nd Period
15:05 NYI PPG - Ryan Strome (6) Slapshot - ASST: Matt Donovan (13), Josh Bailey (28)     1 - 0 NYI   
19:40 NYI PPG - Brock Nelson (13) Snap shot- ASST: Thomas Hickey (18), Evgeni Nabokov (1)2 - 0 NYI   

3rd Period

The Skinny: 
The Canadiens hosted their 400th consecutive sellout (369 regular season and 31 playoffs); their last non-sellout was in January 2004…Playing without John Tavares, the Isles are 10-7-3 since the Olympic break… The Isles are 19-11-5 with Ryan Strome in the lineup… Josh Bailey assisted on Strome’s first goal in seven games to give him 36 points on the season, which is a new career high …Brock Nelson’s goal was his first point in 11 games…Brett Gallant was in his second fight in as many NHL games, decisioning George Parros in the second period … With the win, the Isles reach 40 points on the road for the first time since 2006-07 and are assured of an above-NHL .500 record in games outside the Metropolitan Division (23-21-7 with 1 to play)…Evgeni Nabokov recorded the first assist by an Islander goaltender this season and his fifth assist as an Islander; Nabokov has 15 career points (1-14-15)…The Isles scored at least two power play goals for the 11th time this season (7-3-1); all four Islander goals vs. Montreal this season were scored on the power play…The Isles improve to 15-6-6 when leading after two periods; they are 6-0-1 in their last seven games when leading after 40 minutes…There have been 189 goals (88 for, 101 against) scored in the second period of Isles this season (only 116 in first period and 153 in third period).

The Shots:
Isles       10-14-6=30
Montreal    8-6-5=19

The Injury:
Johan Sundstrom left the game in the second period when he was boarded from behind by Douglas Murray and did not return.  Murray was given a game misconduct.

Youth Movement
The Isles dressed 11 rookies: Kevin Czuczman, Matt Donovan, Brett Gallant, Mike Halmo, Anders Lee, Scott Mayfield, Brock Nelson, Anders Nilsson, Ryan Strome, John Persson and Johan Sundstrom.  It is the most rookies that they have dressed for a game since April 1, 1973 (the final game of their first season). 

From the Geniuses at Elias Sports Bureau
This is only the second time in Islanders history that the Isles have won by shutout, with rookies getting all of the goals.  The only other game was on Dec. 15, 1998; the Isles shutout San Jose 1-0 with Mike Watt scoring the only goal.  It was one of only 15 NHL goals (13 for the Isles) that Watt scored in his career.

Young D
The six Islander defensemen who dressed in this game had only 665 games of NHL experience:
•    Travis Hamonic - 249
•    Matt Carkner - 234
•    Thomas Hickey - 118
•    Matt Donovan - 52
•    Kevin Czuczman - 10
•    Scott Mayfield -  2

By comparison, Lubomir Visnovsky has played in 830 NHL games.

Home and Road
The Islanders are 32-37-11 overall, 13-19-9 at home (including 0-1-0 at Yankee Stadium) and 19-18-2 on the road. The Isles are 8-4-2 in their last 14 games.  While their 13-19-9 home record is their worst on home-ice for a full season since 2000-01, the Isles have earned 40 points on the road for the first time since 2006-07.

Over the last two seasons, the Isles are 23-30-12 (58 points in 65 games) at home and 33-24-6 (72 points in 63 games) on the road.  The Isles have finished above NHL-.500 at home only once in the past seven seasons.

Montreal is 45-28-8 overall; they are 22-13-5 at home and 23-15-3 on the road.

By Division
The Isles are 9-16-4 in Division games and are 23-21-7 in games against other divisions. They are 11-7-4 vs. the Atlantic Division, 7-6-1 vs. Central Division, and 4-8-2 vs. the Pacific Division.

The Isles do not have a winning record against every division opponent. They are 1-3-0 against Carolina, 1-2-1 against Columbus, 2-2-0 (with one to play) against New Jersey, 2-3-0 against New York, 1-3-0 against Philadelphia, 1-2-1 against Pittsburgh, and 1-1-2 against Washington.

This was the 10th of 12 consecutive games against Eastern Conference opponents to end the regular season.  The Isles are 6-2-2 in this stretch.

In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for his 4th shutout of the season and his 59th career shutout.  Nabokov, who won his 350th career game, blanks Montreal for the first time in his career as he improves to 15-14-8 on the season.  Nabokov allowed only an overtime goal to Max Pacioretty in two appearances vs. Montreal this season.
Carey Price made 28 saves for Montreal but falls to 33-20-5 on the season.  Price is 7-3-3 in his career against the Isles.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 2-3 on the power play while Montreal was 0-3.  The Canadiens are now 0-last 20 on the power play.

The Isles are 19-8-5 when they score at least one power play goal and 13-29-6 when they do not.  The Isles are 14-21-4 when they allow at least one power play goal and 18-16-7 when they do not. 

The Isles are 15-102 in the last 28 games on the power play and have allowed 18 power play goals in 79 times short over the last 19 games.  

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 19-127 in their last 35 games.

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 25-10-4 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 7-27-7 when they do not. 

Comeback Kids
The Isles are 16-9-8 when they score first and are 16-28-3 when they allow the opening goal.  The Isles have allowed the first goal in 28 of their last 42 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 (275) and wins (116).

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.    Al Arbour 1,500
2.    Jack Capuano 275
3.    Mike Milbury 191
4.    Terry Simpson 187
5.    Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.    Al Arbour 740
2.    Jack Capuano 116
3.    Terry Simpson 81
4.    Peter Laviolette 77
5.    Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
"They played last night, so obviously we were a little bit fresher than they are and we've got some young legs in the lineup. I think we tracked [the puck] hard and didn't give them much time in the neutral zone to make plays. They're a transition team and have a lot of talent, but we limited our mistakes and when we did make them we came back hard."

They Tweeted It
@tankmuppet Good win, and continually a strong effort. I'm impressed! #Isles #NHL
@Richardlabbe Told NHL has already reviewed  D.Murray's hit on #Isles' Sundstrom. There will not be any further disciplinary action.
@Reiter35 Lots of familiar faces on MSG+ right now. Great to see a bunch of the #BST boys living the dream #Isles

The Coach
"When you've got kids who work as hard as our guys do, practice the way they do, you want them to have success.”

The Isles are 8-8-2 in the front-end and 7-8-2 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.  The Isles have swept four back-to-backs:  November 1st/2nd vs. Ottawa and Boston, January 6th/7th vs. Dallas and Toronto, January 20th/21st vs. Philadelphia and the Rangers and April 1st/2nd vs. Florida and Ottawa.
In the 17 previous sets of back-to-backs, they have earned 4 points four times, 3 points once, 2 points five times, 1 point three times and no points on four occasions. 

The final back-to-back set concludes Friday in New Jersey.

Leading Ice Men
Travis Hamonic led the Isles with 26:41 of ice-time while Andrei Markov led Montreal with 27:24.
The Isles are 15-17-6 when MacDonald leads in ice-time, are 16-15-5 when Hamonic leads, are 1-0-0 when deHaan 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 14 of 47 draws (30%). No regular Isles center won more than they lost: David Desharnais won 9 of 12 for Montreal.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit Montreal 24-8.  Mike Halmo led the Isles with six hits. Matt Martin added two hits, giving him 353 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.

Brett Gallant fought George Parros in the second period. The Isles have received 36 fighting penalties this season: Martin (10), Carkner (9), Boulton (8), McDonald (2), Halmo (2), Hamonic (2), Gallant (2) and Okposo (1).

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 18 blocked shots, including a team-high four blocks for Travis Hamonic, Thomas Hickey and Matt Donovan.

All-time Winners
The Islanders improve to four games over all-time NHL .500 (1403-1399-450 in 3,252 games), with two games remaining in the current regular season. 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 not been more than 1 game under NHL-.500 since January 11, 1978 and have finished every season since 1977-78 over all-time NHL .500.

Thomas Hickey is the Islanders’ reigning ironman.  He has played 81 consecutive regular season games, and is the only Islander to have played in every game this season. 

Missing Men
John Tavares, Eric Boulton, Brian Strait, Lubomir Visnovsky, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Calvin deHaan and Cal Clutterbuck are all out injured. Radek Martinek was scratched.

The Isles have lost 234 games this season due to injury. 

Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 687
2. Roberto Luongo 372
3. Evgeni Nabokov 350
4. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Wins
17. Rogie Vachon 355
18. Evgeni Nabokov 350
19. Gump Worsley 335
20. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Shutouts, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 124
2. Roberto Luongo 66
3. Evgeni Nabokov 59
4. Tomas Vokoun 51
5. Henrik Lundqvist 50

Career Shutouts
16 Turk Broda 62
17 Evgeni Nabokov 59
18 John Ross Roach 58

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    Frans Nielsen    85
37    Tomas Jonsson    84
38    Michael Grabner 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     445
31    Jason Blake      426

34    Wayne Merrick  411
35    Josh Bailey     404
36    Jean Potvin    402
37    David Volek     396
38    Bert Marshall    392
39    Kyle Okposo     390
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    Frans Nielsen     250
26    David Volek    249

Season Series Stats
The Canadiens win the season series 2 games to 1 (and 4 points to 3). There were only nine goals scored in the three games combined.

Happy Anniversary
30 years ago today (April 10, 1984):  In one of the most memorable games in their history, Ken Morrow’s goal at 8:56 of overtime is the deciding goal as the Islanders eliminated the Rangers by winning a deciding game 5 by a 3-2 score.  It is their 17th consecutive playoffs series, breaking the record that the Isles shared with the 1976-1979 Canadiens.

All-time, the Isles are 3-3 in regular season play on this date.  The Isles are also 4-4 on this date in playoffs games, including an overtime win over New Jersey in the 1988 playoffs on a goal by Brent Sutter and a 22-save shutout for Rick DiPietro over Tampa Bay in 2004.

On The Farm
The Sound Tigers are 1-12-1-2 in their last 16 games and 27-36-2-6 on the season.  Bridgeport visits Albany on Friday.

Up Next
[MSG-Plus2 (Isles Pre-game at 7:00), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]

The Isles head to Newark to face the Devils for the fifth and final time this season. The Isles are 2-2-0 and will be looking for their only win in a season series against a Metropolitan Division rival.  It will be their first game in the Garden State since a shootout win on Opening Night, some 27 weeks ago.

The shootout loss would come to define the Devils’ season; New Jersey lost to Ottawa in a shootout on Friday, dropping them to 0-12 in the shootout this season. 

If the Isles can close the regular season with wins in New Jersey and Buffalo they would finish the season with exactly 79 points for the fourth time in the last six full seasons.

And Finally…
At the Frozen Four in Philadelphia, the Union College Dutchmen edged Boston College 5-4 and Minnesota scored a shorthanded goal with 0.6 seconds to play to get by North Dakota 2-1.  Good luck to the Dutchmen (my alma mater) in Saturday’s National Championship Game!

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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