John Tavares scored two goals and Jaroslav Halak did the rest, making 22 saves as the Isles defeated the Calgary Flames 2-1 at Scotiabank Saddledome. The Isles are 7-1-1 in their last nine games and now have an NHL-leading 26 wins. They remained tied with Pittsburgh for the Metropolitan Division lead with 53 points. The Isles have also tied the franchise record for most wins through 38 games.
Jaroslav Halak recorded his seventh straight win to improve to 18-2-0 in his last 20 games (including (18-0-0 vs. everyone but St. Louis). Halak is the only goalie with two win streaks of at least seven games this season. He lowered his goals against average is 2.21. Only Chico Resch (2.07 in 1975-76) has ever had a lower GAA in an Isles uniform over a full season.
The Isles are a season-high 15 games over NHL-.500. It’s the first time that the Isles are 15 games over NHL .500 since February 19, 1984 when the defending Stanley Cup Champions were 37-22-2).
Pittsburgh defeated Tampa Bay 6-3 tonight for their second straight win.
The Scoring: 1st Period 08:00 NYI PPG - John Tavares (16) ASST: Ryan Strome (21), Kyle Okposo (25) 1 - 0 NYI
2nd Period NONE
3rd Period 12:16 NYI John Tavares (17) ASST: Kyle Okposo (26), Calvin de Haan (8) 2 - 0 NYI 16:35 CGY Johnny Gaudreau (13) ASST: Jiri Hudler (25), Kris Russell (16) 2 - 1 NYI (6th attacker)
The Skinny: John Tavares had his third multi-goal game of the season. Tavares extends his club lead to 17 goals while Kyle Okposo extends his club lead in assists, with 26. Tavares and Okposo remain tied for the club lead in points with 34. Tavares now is tied-9th in the NHL in goals while Okposo is tied-6th in assists … Ryan Strome extended his point streak to three games (1-6-7)…The Isles have not allowed a first period goal in the last six games, and have led after 1 period in five straight games.
Jiri Hudler has an assist in 6 straight games…The loss broke Calgary’s four game winning streak…Johnny Gaudreau’s goal was the 27th recorded by a Flames rookie this season (tops in NHL)…Calgary has lost five straight games against the Eastern Conference.
The Penguins will host Montreal on Saturday while the Isles’ next game is in Edmonton on Sunday.
This is the first time that the Isles have had at least a share of the Division lead this late in the season since February 20, 1990: • Patrick Division W-L-T Pts • NY Islanders 28-27-6 62 • NY Rangers 26-25-10 62 • Pittsburgh 28-28-5 61 • New Jersey 25-28-7 57 • Washington 26-31-4 56 • Philadelphia 24-30-8 56
Year of the Fan: The Isles have sold-out their last three home games, five of the last six and nine of their eighteen home dates this season. 108,146 fans enjoyed Islander hockey in 7 home dates (15,449 average) at the Coliseum in December. The 9 sellouts are the most for the Isles since they had 12 full houses at the Old Barn in 2007-08.
Comparable Records The Isles are 26-11-1 thru 38 games. The Isles were 11-20-7 through 38 games and 11-21-7 through 39 games last season, when they did not record their 26th win until they defeated Buffalo on March 15th (26-34-9).
Most wins in first 38 games: • 26-11-1 in 2014-15 • 26-5-7 in 1978-79 • 25-11-2 in 1983-84 • 23-7-8 in 1980-81 • 23-9-6 in 1976-77
Most points in first 38 games: • 59 in 1978-79 • 54 in 1980-81 • 53 in 2014-15 • 52 in 1983-84 • 52 in 1976-77
Home Sweet Home The Isles are 14-4-0 on Coliseum ice, tying the club record for most wins through 18 home games (14-0-4 in 1978-79 and 14-4-0 in 1984-85). They have had more than 28 points through 18 home games only once: 14-0-4 for 32 points in 1978-79.
Road Warriors The Isles improved to a season-high 5 games over NHL-.500 on the road (12-7-1). It’s the first time since the end of the 2001-02 season that the Isles have been at least five games over .500 at home and on the road at the same time.
Streakers The Isles have had a season of streaks, going 4-0-0 to open the season and then (in succession) 0-2-0, 2-0-0, 0-3-0, 13-2-0, 0-3-0, and 7-1-1 in the last nine games.
Winning Streaks (Season) 2 streaks of at least 5 games -- First time since the 1987-88 season that the Isles have had two winning streaks of at least five games. 4 streaks of at least 4 games -- First time since the 1984-85 season that the Isles have had four winning streaks of at least four games. 6 streaks of at least 3 games -- First time since the 1984-85 season that the Isles have had at least six winning streaks of at least three games.
The Shots: Isles 9-6-9=24 Calgary 7-9-7=23
The Isles have held their last 9 opponents to under 30 shots; it’s the first time that they did that since a 10- game streak, March 16-April 2, 2004.
Hot Shots: The Isles have outshot their last seven opponents 250-158 and have outshot their last nine opponents 324-211.
It’s the first time in the last seven games that the Isles did not have at least 10 more shots than their opponents. Prior to this streak they had not done that more than three straight times since at least 1987.
On the season, the Isles have outshot their opponents 1,244-1,044 for a +200 shot differential. The club record for differential for a season is +307 in 1976-77. The Isles have had only two other seasons over +150: (+254 in 1986-87 and +152 in 1975-76).
Isles had 2,537 shots on goal last season, most since a franchise-record 2,616 in 1992-93. Isles are currently on pace for a record-breaking 2684 shots this year.
Home and Road The Islanders are 26-11-1 overall, 14-4-0 at home and 12-7-1 on the road.
Calgary is 21-16-3 overall; 11-7-2 at home and 10-9-1 on the road.
By Division The Isles are 10-2-0 in Division games and are 16-9-1 in games against other divisions. They are 7-3-1 vs. the Atlantic Division, 4-5-0 vs. Central Division, and 5-1-0 vs. the Pacific Division.
The Isles finished last season 10-16-4 against the Met.
In the Nets Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves and improves to 20-6-0 on the season. He is 5-5-1 in his career against Calgary.
Jonas Hiller made 22 saves but falls to 13-11-2 on the season. He is 2-1-0 in his career against the Isles.
Good Company for Halak San Jose’s Antti Niemi recently played in his 300th NHL game, and recorded his 172nd win, representing the most wins by an active goalie in his first 300 games. Jaroslav Halak played in his 299th game tonight, and recorded his 165th win (with 1 game still to play): • Antti Niemi 172, • Ryan Miller 170, • Jaroslav Halak 165 (299 games), • Martin Brodeur 161, • Jimmy Howard 160 (Courtesy CSN-California via Elias Sports Bureau)
20-Win Club Halak is the 12th goalie in Islander history to win at least 20 games in a season:
Player 20-win seasons Billy Smith* 8 Rick DiPietro 4 Roland Melanson 3 Kelly Hrudey 2 Tommy Salo 2 Jaroslav Halak 1 Ron Hextall 1 Chris Osgood 1 Dwayne Roloson 1
The club record for wins in a season is 32, shared by Billy Smith, Chris Osgood and Rick DiPietro.
Power Plays The Islanders were 1-2 on the power play, while Calgary was 0-3.
The power play is 5-16 (31.3%) in the last three games after going 1-19 (5.3%) in the previous seven games.
The penalty kill is 21-23 (91.3%) over the last nine games after allowing 7 goals in 15 times short (53.3%) in the previous three games.
The Isles are 15-4-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 11-7-1 when they do not. The Isles are 10-9-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 16-2-1 when they do not.
Three is a Magic Number The Isles are 20-4-1 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 6-7-0 when they do not.
One Goal Games The Isles are 17-2-1 in games decided by a single goal including 7-2-0 in regulation. They are 4-0 in games decided in overtime and are 6-1 in shootouts. Four games have been decided by two goals in which the second goal was an empty-netter. The Isles are 3-1 in those games.
First Goal (and Second Goal) The Isles are 14-8-1 when they score first and are 12-3-0 when they allow the opening goal. However, the Isles are 11-0-0 when they allow the opening goal but score the second goal.
Second to The One Jack Capuano is the 2nd winningest coach in Islander history and was behind the bench for his 300th game on November 28th in Washington. Capuano is 144-131-40 behind the Islander bench. Among the 9 New York teams, only the Giants’ Tom Coughlin and the Yankees’ Joe Girardi have led their respective teams longer than Capuano.
Most games coached (Islanders): 1. Al Arbour 1,500 2. Jack Capuano 315 3. Mike Milbury 191 4. Terry Simpson 187 5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches: 1. Al Arbour 740 2. Jack Capuano 144 3. Terry Simpson 81 4. Peter Laviolette 77 5. Ted Nolan 74
They Said It John Tavares: “We feel comfortable in any situation...Strome-y has great vision, great hockey IQ.”
Calvin deHaan: “I got in the way of a few (shots), and so did some other guys... Stay with the game plan…try to get the other team to dump the puck, and then it becomes a free-for-all.”
They Tweeted It @palffynyi16 Here is one for @ehornick #isles have not allowed a 1st period goal in the last 6 games outscoring their opponents 6-0. @APhoenixRizin How bout those #Isles finishing a yr off well then starting the New Year strong #beLIeve Halak and JT are in #BEASTMODE @_jaymeariellexo This team has maturity, patience, and confidence. It is all showing and paying off. #Isles @AJ_Santaniello Are the #Isles the most impressive team in the NHL this year? Tavares in great shape and first team in the league to 26 wins @DaveMorelli Oh, don't look now, but Tavares is heating up. Johnny hockey is back #JT91 #Isles
The Coach “Both teams played well…fortunately we came out on the right end…. (Johnny) has been working real hard…the harder you work, the luckier you get.”
Back-to-Backs The Isles are 5-1-0 in the front-end and 5-1-0 on the back end of back-to-backs this season. The Isles have swept 4 sets of back-to-back this season and are 1-1-0 in two sets.
The next set of back-to-backs will be on January 9th in New Jersey and January 10th in Columbus.
Leading Ice Men Travis Hamonic led all Isles with 21:54 of ice-time; Mark Giordano led Calgary with 26:12.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (10-2-0), Travis Hamonic (7-1-1), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) John Tavares (2-3-0), Thomas Hickey (3-0-0), Nick Leddy (0-2-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0) and Calvin deHaan (1-2-0).
Kyle Okposo led Isles forwards with 18:04 of ice-time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (13-10-1), Kyle Okposo (9-0-0), Ryan Strome (1-0-0), Brock Nelson (1-1-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0) and Casey Cizikas (1-0-0).
In the Circle The Islanders won 37 of 66 draws (56%). Brock Nelson won 10 of 13 for the Isles; Matt Stajan won 7 of 9 for Calgary. The Isles won at least 55% of the draws in each period. The Isles won 3 of 4 draws on the power play and 5 of 9 draws on the penalty kill.
Heavy Hitters The Isles were out-hit 20-13. Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with three hits.
There were no fights. The Isles have been involved in eight fights this season: Martin (5), Hamonic (2), Lee (1), and all but one of the fights (Martin vs. Minnesota) have been against Metropolitan Division opponents.
Giving Up the Body The Isles were credited with 17 blocked shots, including four from Travis Hamonic.
For the Corsi Crowd The Isles finished with a total Corsi advantage of 61-45, which measures shots attempted for and against (including blocks).
Lubomir Visnovsky led the Isles with +12 even-strength Corsi ratings while John Tavares was on-ice for a team-leading 75% of Corsi For events. Brandon Bollig (+6) led Calgary.
Head of the Class Islander Captain John Tavares has 349 career points; he is 64 points ahead of Matt Duchene for most among 2009 draft picks. No other player in that draft is anywhere close. Tavares also has more goals and more assists than any other player in that draft.
All-time Winners The Islanders improve to 21 games over all-time NHL .500 (1431-1410-451 in 3,292 games). It’s the first time since April 4, 2009 that the Isles are 21 games over all-time NHL .500.
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.
Ironmen Nick Leddy and Brock Nelson are the Islanders’ reigning ironmen. Leddy has played 290 consecutive regular season NHL games, while Nelson has played 90 consecutive regular season Islander games.
Missing Men Matt Carkner and Michael Grabner are on injured reserve. Matt Donovan, Eric Boulton and Brian Strait were scratched.
The Isles have lost 139 games this season due to injury/illness.
All-time Islander Leader Board: John Tavares has: • 153 goals (14th all-time and 8 behind Pat Flatley) • 196 assists (14th all-time and 53 behind Tomas Jonsson) • 349 points (14th all-time and 20 behind Stefan Persson) • 388 games played (tied-40th among Islander skaters all-time with Travis Green)
Frans Nielsen has: • 93 goals (Tied-32nd all-time with Greg Gilbert & Garry Howatt) • 182 assists (17th all-time, 11 behind Pierre Turgeon and 14 behind John Tavares) • 275 points (23rd all-time, 11 behind Ed Westfall and 13 behind Kyle Okposo) • 484 games played (25th among Islander skaters all-time and 9 behind Ed Westfall)
Kyle Okposo has: • 107 goals (23rd all-time and 9 behind Ray Ferraro) • 181 assists (tied-18 all-time with Ed Westfall and 1 behind Frans Nielsen) • 288 points (22nd all-time and 2 behind Alexei Yashin) • 428 games played (32nd among Islander skaters all-time and 5 behind Josh Bailey)
Michael Grabner has: • 84 goals (tied-37th all-time with Tomas Jonsson and 3 behind Butch Goring)
Josh Bailey has: • 433 games played (31st among Islander skaters all-time and 17 behind Scott Lachance)
Season Series Stats The Isles lead the season series 1 game to 0 (and 2 points to 0).
The Isles are 6-3-0 in their last nine games against Calgary, and are 4-2-0 in Calgary in the 21st century.
The Flames will visit Long Island on February 27th.
It Happened at the Coliseum … on JANUARY 2nd 1 year ago tonight (2014) – One day after being left off the United States Olympic Team, Kyle Okposo did his best to prove the Team USA coaching staff wrong, as he scored the game winning goal in overtime as the Islanders won their third straight game, defeating the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Thomas Vanek and Casey Cizikas also scored for the Islanders, who built a 2-0 lead late in the second period only to have the Hawks score twice to even the game.
It was Okposo’s 4th career overtime goal, tying the club record then already shared by Mike Bossy, Pat LaFontaine, Pierre Turgeon and John Tavares (Tavares broke the tie to become the all-time leader earlier this season). He became the first Islander since to record a goal and an assist in three consecutive games since Michael Grabner did it from March 18-22, 2011.
Okposo and Tavares savored the chemistry that led to the winning goal. "Johnny had some time, and I saw both guys [go] to him. I was hoping the puck would come to me and it popped right on my stick, and I got it over his glove this time…I'm going to keep playing well and keep trying to get this team to where we need to be," Okposo said.
Tavares added, "It was fitting to see Kyle put that one in. I think he sent a message with that one…"It's two points for us, and it shows we can compete with top-level teams."
Also on this date: (1982) - Bob Bourne scored the winning goal with 4:08 to play as the Isles opened 1982 with a 5-3 win over Chicago. The win started a 14-game home winning streak and a season-ending 23-game home unbeaten streak (21-0-2).
Also on this date: (1986) – Mike Bossy hits the empty-net to cement a 7-5 win over Boston. It was Bossy’s 500th NHL goal. Bossy reached the mark in 647 games, breaking Phil Esposito’s record of 803 games. Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux would later beat Bossy’s 500 goal record, but Bossy stands alone as the player who scored more goals per game than any player in NHL history.
All-time, the Isles have played fifteen January 2nd games at the Coliseum and finish with a 9-6-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
On The Farm Bridgeport, playing most of the game without an injured Ryan Pulock (upper body injury), dropped a 4-2 decision in Providence. The Sound Tigers are 15-13-3-1 on the season. Bridgeport hosts Albany on Saturday night and again on Sunday at 3pm. Up Next SUNDAY, JANUARY 4th—ISLANDERS AT EDMONTON 9:30PM [MSG+ (Isles Pre-game at 9:00), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 LI News]
The Islanders will look to sweep a pair of games in Alberta for the first time since 1982 when they visit Edmonton on Sunday. The Isles have swept Alberta only once in their history, winning 5-4 in Calgary on October 7, 1982 and 6-4 in Edmonton the following night.
This has been a “homer” series for over a decade; the Isles have beaten Edmonton 7 straight times on Long Island, but are 0-3-1 in their last 4 games in Edmonton since a 5-2 win on March 13, 2003 with Garth Snow in nets.
Last season, the teams split a pair of 3-2 games, with the home team winning both games. Edmonton’s win came in overtime on a Taylor Hall goal; Hall also scored two goals in eight seconds in the Coliseum matchup.
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 & on his blog www.nyiskinny.com.