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The Skinny: Islanders 2, Senators 1

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 26

Isles 2, Ottawa 1

Casey Cizikas scored the tie-breaking goal with 6:27 to play as the Islanders spoiled Daniel Alfredsson’s retirement day with a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators before an overflow crowd of 20,511 at the Canadian Tire Centre.  Jaroslav Halak recorded his franchise-record 11th straight win as the Islanders moved into sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of Pittsburgh.

The Isles have won 13 of their last 15(13-2-0) for the first time in 24 years, and have won 19 times in the first 26 games for the first time in franchise history.  The Isles lead the entire NHL with 19 victories and are one point behind Tampa Bay for the NHL lead in points.

It’s the first time that the Isles are 12 games over NHL .500 since they ended the 2001-02 season with a 42-28-8-4 record.

The Scoring:
1st Period

NONE

2nd Period
11:45    NYI    PPG - Brock Nelson (12) ASST: Frans Nielsen (9), Nick Leddy (6) 1 - 0 NYI   
15:07    OTT    PPG - Mika Zibanejad (4) ASST: Erik Karlsson (12), David Legwand (6) 1 - 1 Tie   

3rd Period
13:33    NYI    Casey Cizikas (4) ASST: Thomas Hickey (8)     2 - 1 NYI

The Skinny:
Brock Nelson extended his club lead in goals (12), and tied John Tavares for the club lead in points (23)…Jaroslav Halak has won a career-best 11 straight starts, allowing just 14 goals.  The 11 straight wins breaks Billy Smith’s club record for consecutive victories, which was set in 1982 (without the benefit of overtime)… The Isles improve to 10-2-0 in games that are tied after two periods…Casey Cizikas is 2-3-5 in the last five games…The Isles’ defense combined for six points on their five goals in this home-and-home series….Ottawa’s only goal was scored on a 5-on-3…The Sens are 1-5-1 after opening the season 9-5-4…The crowd of 20,511 was the largest ever to see the Isles play in Ottawa.

Last Time First!
The Isles have sole possession of first place this late in the season for the first time since 2006 as Pittsburgh lost to Vancouver.
(After the games of Dec 5, 2006)
Atlantic Division    W-L-OT    Pts       
                   
NY Islanders    14-10-3    31                           
New Jersey    14-9-2    30                           
NY Rangers    13-10-4    30                           

(After tonight)
Metropolitan Division

ISLES       19-7-0 38 points
Pittsburgh 17-6-2 36 points

The Isles and Penguins had been tied at the end of play each of the last 12 days; both teams are idle until Saturday afternoon, when the Isles visit St. Louis and the Penguins host Ottawa.

Comparable Records
The Isles are 19-7-0 thru 25 games; it’s the first time in franchise history that the Isles have won 19 of their first 26 games.  The Isles were 8-15-3 through 26 games and 8-15-4 through 27 games last season, when they did not win their 19th game until January 16th (19-23-7).

Most wins in first 26 games:
•    19-7-0 in 2014-15
•    17-4-5 in 1978-79
•    17-8-1 in 1987-88

Most points in first 26 games:
•    39 in 1978-79
•    38 in 2014-15
•    37 in 1980-81
•    35 in 2001-02
•    35 in 1976-77
•    35 in 1987-88

Fort Never Lose
The Isles have won 7 straight games at home for the first time since December of 2003.  The Isles have not had a longer winning streak at home since they won 9 straight games at home during the 1989-90 season.

The Isles, who are 10-2-0 this season on Coliseum ice, won only 13 games at home last season (13-19-9).  When the Isles made the playoffs in the 2013 lockout season, they went 10-11-3 at home.

Most wins, first 12 home games:
•    11 in 1984-85
•    10 in 2014-15
•    9 in 1978-79
•    9 in 1982-83
•    9 in 1986-87

Most points, first 12 home games
•    22 in 1984-85 (11-1-0)
•    21 in 1978-79 (9-0-3)
•    20 in 2014-15 (10-2-0)

Home and Home
This was the fifth (and final) time this season that the Isles will play the same opponent in consecutive games.  The Isles swept Carolina in October before splitting with Tampa Bay, sweeping Pittsburgh and splitting with Washington in November.  It’s the first time the Isles have played a home-and-home with Ottawa since November 2008; the Isles swept that pair of games.

All Hail Halak
Jaroslav Halak, the reigning NHL First Star, has won 11 straight games, breaking Billy Smith’s club record. Halak is also the first goalie in Islander history to win 11 straight starts.

Halak’s Streak:
5-Nov-14    @    Anaheim    3    2    Wot
8-Nov-14    @    Arizona        1    0    W
11-Nov-14    Vs    Colorado    6    0    W
14-Nov-14    @    Florida        4    3    Wso
18-Nov-14    Vs    Tampa Bay    5    2    W
22-Nov-14    Vs    Pittsburgh    4    1    W
24-Nov-14    Vs    Philadelphia    1    0    Wso
26-Nov-14    Vs    Washington    3    2    Wot
29-Nov-14    Vs    New Jersey    3    1    W
2-Dec-14    Vs    Ottawa        3    2    Wot
4-Dec-14    @    Ottawa        2    1    W

Smith’s Streak:
23-Jan-82    Vs    New York    6    1    W
26-Jan-82    Vs    Pittsburgh    9    2    W
30-Jan-82    Vs    Minnesota    4    2    W
2-Feb-82    Vs    Washington    7    6    W  (in relief of Rollie Melanson)
4-Feb-82    @    Washington    5    2    W
7-Feb-82    @    Buffalo        7    3    W
13-Feb-82    Vs    Philadelphia    8    2    W
16-Feb-82    Vs    Pittsburgh    6    2    W
20-Feb-82    Vs    Colorado    3    2    W
23-Feb-82    Vs    Chicago        5    1    W

Streakers
The Isles won their first four games, lost their next two games, won the two games after that, lost the next three games and are 13-2-0 in last 15.

The Isles have had two winning streaks of at least five games this season.  It’s the first time since the 1987-88 season that the Isles have had two winning streaks of at least five games.

The Shots:
Isles       5-13-7=25
Ottawa   4-5-12=21

The Isles have out-shot 10 of their last 11 opponents.  The Isles allowed only 39 shots in the home and home series.

Home and Road
The Islanders are 19-7-0 overall, 10-2-0 at home and 9-5-0 on the road.

Ottawa is 10-10-5 overall; 5-3-3 at home and 5-7-2 on the road.

By Division
The Isles are 8-2-0 in Division games and are 11-5-0 in games against other divisions. They are 5-2-0 vs. the Atlantic Division, 2-2-0 vs. Central Division, and 4-1-0 vs. the Pacific Division.

The Isles did not win their eighth divisional game last season until March 25th (8-15-3); they finished last season 10-16-4 against the Met. 

Playing the East
This was the last of 11 consecutive games against the Eastern Conference.  The Isles went 9-2-0 in this stretch. The next four games are all against the Western Conference’s Central Division.

In the Nets
Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves and improves to 14-4-0 on the season with his 11th straight win. He is 5-5-2 in his career against the Sens.

Craig Anderson made 23 saves for Ottawa; he is 5-6-4 on the season and 6-6-3 in his career against the Islanders. 

Power Plays
The Islanders were 1-3 on the power play while Ottawa was also 1-3.  The Sens’ power play goal was scored on a 5-on-3; it was the second 5-on-3 goal allowed by the Isles this season.

The Isles have killed 33 of 39 over the last 13 games after they allowed 6 power play goals in 14 times short over the previous five games.  (The Isles killed only 1 of 4 in two games vs. Washington, but killed 32 of the other 35).

The power play is 5-26 (19%) over the last eight games.

The Isles are 11-3-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 8-4-0 when they do not.  The Isles are 7-6-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 12-1-0 when they do not. 

Three is (Usually) a Magic Number
The Isles are 14-1-0 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 5-6-0 when they do not. 

Two Column Team
The Isles are the only NHL team without an overtime or shootout loss this season.

It’s the second time in club history that the Isles have gone this late into the season without an overtime/shootout loss or tie:
•    30 games (1998-99; 12-18-0 before tying Anaheim in game 31)
•    26 games (2014-15; current)
•    24 games (1983-84; 16-8-0 before tying St. Louis in game 25)

One Goal Games
The Isles are 12-1-0 in games decided by a single goal including 4-1-0 in regulation. They are 3-0 in games decided in overtime and are 5-0 in shootouts.  Three games have been decided by two goals in which the second goal was an empty-netter.  The Isles are 2-1 in those games.

First Goal
The Isles are 11-5-0 when they score first and are 8-2-0 when they allow the opening 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 137-127-39 behind the Islander bench.

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.    Al Arbour 1,500
2.    Jack Capuano 303
3.    Mike Milbury 191
4.    Terry Simpson 187
5.    Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.    Al Arbour 740
2.    Jack Capuano 137
3.    Terry Simpson 81
4.    Peter Laviolette 77
5.    Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
Jaroslav Halak: “Big goal in the third by Zeeker… Everybody has a role on this team and everybody has accepted it. The guys have been playing pretty well…I wouldn’t be winning too many games without everybody leaving everything out there. It was a slow game again, like last time, but I’m happy we were able to hold onto it.”

Casey Cizikas: “[Hickey] found me back door with a nice pass. I was able to get it off quick enough. Great vision on his part.”

They Tweeted It
@LegendaryIsles A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  #isles #1stplace #hummin
@BignickyL Congrats to The boys and to Jaro Halak for setting a franchise record 11 straight wins as a goalie! #Isles
@xliveyourlife28  I don't think I've kept such a close eye on standing for the islanders as I do now because they are doing AMAZING !! #isles
@amgenzale Being able to say "First Place @NYIslanders" at this point in the season feels SO good. #isles #finally #keepitrolling
@Ryan_Wombat91 Cizikas is playing unreal this year

The Coach
One thing I like about our team right now is our depth… Griff came up and moved the puck; he thinks the game pretty well…Thomas (Hickey) has really stepped his game up; we can use him in all situations…He’s playing solid for us.

Back-to-Backs
The Isles are 4-1-0 in the front-end and 4-1-0 on the back end of back-to-backs this season. 

The Isles will play only one set of back-to-backs in December.  They will visit Detroit on December 19th and then host Tampa Bay on December 20th.

Leading Ice Men
Thomas Hickey led the Isles with 24:30 of ice-time; Erik Karlsson led Ottawa with 26:50.

Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (9-2-0), Travis Hamonic (4-1-0), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) John Tavares (1-2-0), Thomas Hickey (2-0-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0) and Calvin deHaan (0-1-0).

Kyle Okposo led the Isles forwards with 19:09 of ice-time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (9-7-0), Kyle Okposo (7-0-0), Brock Nelson (1-0-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0) and Casey Cizikas (1-0-0). 

In the Circle
The Islanders won 26 of 58 draws (45%).  John Tavares won 11 of 18 for the Isles but his teammates won only 15 of 40; David Legwand won 10 of 14 for Ottawa.

The Isles won 19 of 35 over the first two periods, but only 7 of 23 (30%) in the third period.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles were out-hit 26-19.  Matt Martin, Ryan Strome and Matt Donovan led the Isles with three hits each.  Chris Neil had five hits for Ottawa.

There were no fights.  The Isles have been involved in seven fights this season: Martin (4), Hamonic (2), Lee (1). All seven fights have come in games against Metropolitan Division opponents.

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 22 blocked shots, including 3 from Nick Leddy, Matt Donovan, and Casey Cizikas.

For the Corsi Crowd
The Isles finished with a total Corsi advantage of 58-47, which measures shots attempted for and against (including blocks). The Senators had only four attempts on goal in the final 18 minutes of the second period.

Casey Cizikas (+5) led the Isles in even-strength Corsi. Cizikas also had a team-leading 63% of Corsi For events. Chris Phillips (+9) led Ottawa.

Head of the Class
Islander Captain John Tavares has 338 career points; he is 57 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 18 games over all-time NHL .500 (1424-1406-450 in 3,280 games).  It’s the first time since January 26, 2010 that they have been 18 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 278 consecutive regular season NHL games, while Nelson has played 78 consecutive regular season Islander games.

Missing Men
Eric Boulton, Matt Carkner, Johnny Boychuk, and Lubomir Visnovsky are on injured reserve. Michael Grabner and Cory Conacher got back into the Islander lineup, replacing Josh Bailey (injured) and Cal Clutterbuck (injured).  Griffin Reinhart was recalled from Bridgeport and played his 4th NHL game, in place of the injured Travis Hamonic.
The Isles have lost 101 games this season due to injury/illness.

Good Company for Halak
Jaroslav Halak became the 110th goalie in NHL history to record 150 wins with his shutout of Colorado on November 11th.  His shutout of Philadelphia on November 24th was his 33rd career shutout, making him the 50th goalie in NHL history to reach that total.

Halak’s 33 shutouts also rank tied-sixth among active goalies:
•    Martin Brodeur 124
•    Roberto Luongo 67
•    Evgeni Nabokov 59
•    Henrik Lundqvist 54
•    Pekka Rinne     34
•    Jaroslav Halak     33
•    Jonathan Quick 33
•    Marc-Andre Fleury 33
•    Ryan Miller     32

All-time Islander Leader Board:
John Tavares has:
•    146 goals (15th all-time, 1 behind Pierre Turgeon and 14 behind Pat Flatley)
•    192 assists (16th all-time, 1 behind Pierre Turgeon and 57 behind Tomas Jonsson)
•    338 points (15th all-time, 2 behind Pierre Turgeon and 31 behind Stefan Persson)
•    376 games played (43rd among Islander skaters all-time, 5 behind Randy Wood, 7 behind Anders Kallur and 12 behind Travis Green)

Frans Nielsen has:
•    90 goals (35th all-time, 2 behind Travis Green and 3 behind Greg Gilbert & Garry Howatt)
•    178 assists (18th all-time, 3 behind Ed Westfall, 14 behind John Tavares and 15 behind Pierre Turgeon)
•    268 points (23rd all-time and 7 behind Kyle Okposo and 18 behind Ed Westfall)
•    473 games played (27th among Islander skaters all-time, 3 behind Gerry Hart, 6 behind Radek Martinek and 20 behind Ed Westfall)

Kyle Okposo has:
•    104 goals (26th all-time, 1 behind Ed Westfall & Benoit Hogue and 12 behind Ray Ferraro)
•    172 assists (20th all-time, 3 behind Kenny Jonsson, 6 behind Frans Nielsen and 9 behind Ed Westfall)
•    276 points (22nd all-time, 10 behind Ed Westfall and 14 behind Alexei Yashin)
•    416 games played (35th among Islander skaters all-time, 6 behind Dave Langevin, 7 behind Josh Bailey and 9 behind Greg Gilbert)

Michael Grabner has:
•    82 goals (38th all-time, 2 behind Tomas Jonsson and 5 behind Butch Goring)

Josh Bailey has:
•    423 games played (33rd among Islander skaters all-time, 2 behind Greg Gilbert, 3 behind Jason Blake and 27 behind Scott Lachance)

Season Series Stats
The Isles lead the season series 2 games to 0 (and 4 points to 1).  The teams will meet again on March 13th at the Coliseum.

The Isles have won 5 of the last 7 games between the teams (5-2-0), but this was only the second win in that span in regulation.

It Happened at the Coliseum … on DECEMBER 4th
38 years ago tonight (1976) – Chico Resch made 33 saves and Bryan Trottier scored twice as the Isles blanked the Sabres 3-0.  Billy MacMillian assisted on both of Trottier’s goals (Mike Bossy’s NHL debut was still 10 months away); Ed Westfall also added two helpers.

The win broke a three-game Islander losing streak and was their first-ever regular season win over Buffalo at the Coliseum.

Trottier told Newday’s Pat Calabria: “We needed a big lift and Chico gave it to us”.  It was the third shutout of the season for Resch, who regained the NHL lead in Goals Against Average from former Islander Gerry Desjardins, who took the loss in nets for Buffalo.

Also on this date: (1975) – Billy Harris scored two goals and added an assist while rookie Bryan Trottier added three helpers as the Isles beat Pittsburgh 6-1.

All-time, the Isles have played eight December 4th games at the Coliseum and finish with a 2-6-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.

On The Farm
Bridgeport is 11-7-2-1 on the season, as they begin a 3-game-in-3-day weekend with a game in Hershey on Friday. Bridgeport will then visit Lehigh Valley on Saturday before the Phantoms return the favor on Sunday at 3pm.

Up Next
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6th—ST. LOUIS AT ISLANDERS 1:00PM
[MSG+ (Isles Pre-game at 12:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 LI News]


The Isles and Blues will play their entire season series in a span of six days, beginning on Saturday when the Metropolitan Division leaders (boy, that sounds nice!) host St. Louis.

The Blues won both games last season, winning 5-1 in St. Louis on December 5th and a controversial 4-3 shootout win at the Coliseum on January 25th.  Jaroslav Halak was in goal for both Blues’ wins, which included a disallowed Thomas Vanek goal for the Isles in overtime.

The Isles have earned at least a point in their last five home games with St. Louis (2-0-3).  The last regulation win for the Blues on Long Island came on March 6, 2004, by a 4-2 score behind former Islander Chris Osgood.

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.

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