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The Skinny: Islanders 3, Blackhawks 2

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
“The Skinny”

Game 42
Isles 3, Chicago 2 (OT)

Just one day after he was denied a berth on the United States Olympic Team, Kyle Okposo scored the game winning goal in overtime as the Islanders won their third straight game for the first time this season, defeating the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 before a crowd of 13,618 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  Thomas Vanek and Casey Cizikas also scored for the Islanders.

The Scoring:
1st Period

15:24 NYI Casey Cizikas (5) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE     1 - 0 NYI   

2nd Period
08:09 NYI Thomas Vanek (14) Backhand - ASST: Kyle Okposo (26), Andrew MacDonald (15) 2 - 0 NYI   
18:36 CHI PPG - Brent Seabrook (5) Slapshot - ASST: Kris Versteeg (15), Nick Leddy (14) 2 - 1 NYI   

3rd Period
01:50 CHI Ben Smith (5) Tip-in - ASST: Jonathan Toews (26), Patrick Sharp (20)     2 - 2 Tie   

OT Period

00:58 NYI Kyle Okposo (16) Wrist shot - ASST: John Tavares (29), Andrew MacDonald (16)  3 - 2 NYI

The Skinny: 
Kyle Okposo extended his point streak to eight games (longest current streak in the NHL, and matching his career high) while Thomas Vanek extended his point streak to seven games (one shy of his career high—done in the first 8 games of last season); Okposo also has a goal in three straight (first time since a five-game streak in March 2012) and a helper in four straight … Okposo re-ties John Tavares for the team lead in goals (16)… Andrew MacDonald had two assists for the second consecutive game; he has five assists in the last three games…Vanek’s goal gives the Isles four players with at least 14 goals; Chicago is the only (other) team with at least four – they have 5…Ryan Strome had six shots on goal as he searches for his first NHL goal; Strome remains +1 on the season.  Fellow rookie Brock Nelson had three shots on net… The Blackhawks have outscored their opponents 156-110 in regulation, but have been outscored 3-0 in overtime….Casey Cizikas played in his 100th game; he is the 155th skater to appear in 100 games for the Isles.

The Overtime
Kyle Okposo scored his fourth career OT goal, tying the club record already shared by Mike Bossy, Pat LaFontaine, Pierre Turgeon and John Tavares.  15 of his 88 career goals have been game-winners.
It’s the first time that the Isles have scored an overtime goal since Thomas Hickey beat Montreal on February 21, 2013 and the first time that they have done so at home since February 11, 2012 (Mark Streit).
It’s the first Isles overtime goal in their last 15 home overtimes (plus two in the playoffs) and their first overtime goal in their last 21 overtime games (plus two in the playoffs).

Okie’s OT goals
12-Mar-09    @    Montreal    3    2    Wot
13-Nov-09    @    Carolina    4    3    Wot
26-Dec-09    @    New York    3    2    Wot
2-Jan-14    Vs    Chicago    3    2    Wot

First Time in a Long Time
Okposo is the first Islander to record a goal and an assist in three consecutive games since Michael Grabner did it from March 18-22, 2011.  It’s the 7th time this season that Okposo has had a goal and an assist in the same game, tying Tavares for the team lead.

Islander Assistant Captain Kyle Okposo has eight points over the last three games and 13 points over the last eight games; he is now 2nd in scoring among all American-born players:
Player                 Team     GP     G     A     P
1 Patrick Kane    CHI    42    23    30    53
2 Kyle Okposo    NYI    42    16    26    42
3 Joe Pavelski    SJS    41    17    22    39
4 Phil Kessel    TOR    41    20    17    37
5 Bobby Ryan    OTT    43    18    18    36

Okposo has also moved into the Top-10 in scoring for all players, tying Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Sharp for 9th.  (John Tavares is now tied-5th with Nicklas Backstrom.)

The Shots:
Isles                5-14-14-1=34
Blackhawks  12-13-13-1=39

Home and Road
The Islanders are 14-21-7 overall, 6-8-7 at home and 8-13-0 on the road.   The Isles are 6-3-2 in their last eleven games overall; the win breaks an 8-game home winless streak (0-4-4) and a franchise-record 10-game streak without a regulation/overtime home win (1-5-4).
The Blackhawks are 28-7-8 overall; they are 15-2-5 at home and 13-5-3 on the road. The Blackhawks extend their point streak to eight games (5-0-3); they are now 8-1-3 in their last twelve games.

By Division
The Isles are 3-9-3 in Division games and are 5-3-3 vs. the Atlantic Division.  The Isles are 3-4-0 vs. Central Division teams and 3-5-1 vs. the Pacific Division.

In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov made 37 saves as he improves to 9-7-5 on the season.  Nabokov is 4-2-2 with a 2.10 GAA since returning from injury and is 15-6-5 in his career against the Blackhawks.
Corey Crawford made 31 saves for Chicago in his first game since being injured December 8th. Crawford is 17-6-4 on the season.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 0-2 while the Blackhawks were 1-1.
The Isles are 8-5-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 6-16-3 when they do not.  The Isles are 6-14-3 when they allow at least one power play goal and 8-7-4 when they do not. 
The Islander special teams have improved as of late.  The power play is 6-24 (25.0%) over the last eight games while the Isles have killed 18 of 22 (81.8%) over the last nine games while scoring two shorthanded goals. 

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 14-4-2 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 0-17-5 when they do not. 

Helps to Score First
The Isles are 9-5-5 when they score first and are 5-16-2 when they allow the opening goal. 

Second to The One
Jack Capuano is now 2nd on the all-time Islander list in both games coached (237) and wins (98).

Most games coached (Islanders):

1.    Al Arbour 1,500
2.    Jack Capuano 237
3.    Mike Milbury 191
4.    Terry Simpson 187
5.    Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:

1.    Al Arbour 740
2.    Jack Capuano 98
3.    Terry Simpson 81
4.    Peter Laviolette 77
5.    Ted Nolan 74

They Said It

Kyle Okposo: "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," he said.
John Tavares: "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.

They Tweeted It
@Goon1214 on a train back to NY from Florida, watched OT on internet stream on iPhone....makes this 26 hr ride not so bad anymore #isles
@beLIeveIsles Thank you @bookerT2116 for being you. Your every #Isles fan's American hero!
@4Isles4Life Was well worth the slow trek home in a blizzard after watching @bookerT2116 and the #isles beat the champs

The Coach
“I thought (Kyle) was playing well all game…it was a great shot… We fought hard against a good team, and we were fortunate to get the bounced we needed in overtime.”

The Isles are 4-6-0 in the front-end and 3-5-2 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.
In the ten sets of back-to-backs, they have earned 4 points once, 3 points once, 2 points four times, 1 point once and no points on three occasions.
The next back-to-back set will be January 6th vs Dallas and January 7th in Toronto.

Head of the Class
John Tavares has 294 career points; he is 64 points ahead of Matt Duchene for most among 2009 draft picks.  No other player from that draft is anywhere close.  Tavares also has more goals and more assists than any other player from that draft.

Leading Ice Men
Andrew MacDonald played 24:31 to lead the Isles for the 27th time this season.  Duncan Keith led the Hawks with 25:41 of ice-time, but was -2.
The Isles are 10-12-5 when MacDonald leads them in ice-time and 4-9-2 when Hamonic leads them.

In the Circle
The Islanders won 26 of 54 draws.  Frans Nielsen won 8 of 14 for the Isles; Michael Handzus won 7 of 11 for Chicago.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit the Hawks 13-3.  Matt Martin out-hit Chicago by himself.  Martin had five hits to lead the Isles; his 201 hits lead the NHL by a wide margin.  He had now recorded at least 200 hits in four straight seasons.
There were no fights.  The Isles have been involved in 15 fights this season: Martin (6), Boulton (4), Carkner (4), McDonald (1).

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 16 blocked shots. Andrew MacDonald led the Isles with five blocks, extending his NHL-leading total to 143.

2 Over All-Time .500
The Islanders improve to two games over all-time NHL .500 (1385-1383-446 in 3,214 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.  It’s the first time that they have been 2 games over NHL-.500 since December 3rd.
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.

Frans Nielsen is the Islanders’ reigning ironman.  He has played 172 consecutive games, and is one of six Islanders to have played in every game this season.  Other current ironman streaks: Kyle Okposo (155), Travis Hamonic (112), Matt Martin (103), Andrew Mac Donald (90) and Thomas Hickey (43). 

Century Club
Travis Hamonic is the only defenseman in Islander history with two streaks in which he played at least 100 consecutive games.  Those are two of only 10 streaks of at least 100 consecutive games by a defenseman in Islander history:
1.    Denis Potvin 11/29/1975-1/17/1979  262
2.    Bryan McCabe 10/7/1995-2/4/1998 220 (*)(**)
3.    Gerry Hart 3/1/1975-11/22/1977 198
4.    Janne Niinimaa 3/13/2004-1/7/2006 136 (**)
5.    Ken Morrow 3/1/1980-12/29/1981 134 (*)
6.    Mark Streit  10/8/2011-4/26/2013 130
7.    Travis Hamonic 11/24/2010 – 2/4/2012 113 (*)
8.    Travis Hamonic 2/24/2012- CURRENT 112

9.    Jean Potvin 10/23/1975-1/2/1977 110
10.    Kenny Jonsson 12/26/1996-2/4/1998 104

(*) Start of NHL career.
(**) Entire career with Islanders

Missing Men
Lubomir Visnovsky and Radek Martinek remain on injured reserve.  Josh Bailey missed his third game with an upper body injury; Eric Boulton was scratched. Matt Donovan has been recalled from Bridgeport; Aaron Ness was loaned to the Sound Tigers. The Isles have lost 108 games this season due to injury.

Nobody Beats the Viz
The Isles were 19-12-4 last season and are 3-3-2 this season with Lubomir Visnovsky in the lineup.  They were 5-5-3 last season and are 11-18-5 this season without him in the lineup.

Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 681
2. Roberto Luongo 364
3. Evgeni Nabokov 344
4. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Wins
17. Rogie Vachon 355
18. Evgeni Nabokov 344
19. Gump Worsley 335
20. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Shutouts, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 124

2. Roberto Luongo 65
3. Evgeni Nabokov 56
4. Tomas Vokoun 51

Career Shutouts

18 Clint Benedict       57
19 Evgeni Nabokov 56
20 Bernie Parent       54
20 Ed Giacomin        54

Career Goals as an Islander

15    Mariusz Czerkawski    145
16    John Tavares     128
17    Jason Blake    127

34    Kyle Okposo    88
35    Butch Goring    87
36    Tomas Jonsson    84
37    Wayne Merrick    81
37    Dave Scatchard    81
39    Marty McInnis    79
40    Miroslav Satan    78
41    Claude Lapointe 76
42    Michael Grabner 75
42    Frans Nielsen    75

44    Lorne Henning    73
44    J.P. Parise    73

Career Assists as an Islander
20    Jean Potvin    167
21    John Tavares    166
21    Jeff Norton    166
23    Zigmund Palffy    163
24    David Volek    154
25    Frans Nielsen    153
26    Mariusz Czerkawski    150
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)

24    Eddie Westfall    493
25    Radek Martinek    476
25    Gerry Hart    476
27    Mariusz Czerkawski    470
33    Wayne Merrick  411
34    Frans Nielsen     409
35    Jean Potvin    402
36    David Volek     396
37    Bert Marshall    392
38    Travis Green     388
39    Anders Kallur     383
40    Randy Wood     381
41    Josh Bailey     367
42    Kyle Okposo     361

43    Dave Scatchard    347
46     Marty McInnis    337    
47     Butch Goring    332    
47     Oleg Kvasha     332    
47    John Tavares     332
50     Bruno Gervais     331    
50     Ziggy Palffy     331    

Career Points as an Islander

17    Mariusz Czerkawski    295
18    John Tavares     294
19    Duane Sutter    292
27    Kenny Jonsson    232
28    Greg Gilbert    231
29    Benoit Hogue    229
29    Trent Hunter    229
31    Frans Nielsen     228
32    Kyle Okposo     227

33    Matt Moulson    223

Season Series Stats
The teams split the season series 1 game to 1 (Chicago earned three points to the Islanders’ two).
Each of the last three games between the teams have ended in a 3-2 score; each of the last two Coliseum contests were won in overtime (Patrick Sharp, 12/8/2011).
The Isles are 7-2-2 in the last 11 games against Chicago.

Happy Anniversary
28 years ago tonight (1-2-86):  Mike Bossy became the fastest player to reach 500 goals in NHL history when he hit the empty net to cement a 7-5 win over Boston.  Bossy’s milestone came in his 647th NHL game, smashing Phil Esposito’s record (803 games).  Bossy’s record was later beat by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux but Bossy still holds the NHL record for goals per game.  
Overall, the Isles are 11-12-1 on this date, including a wild 6-5 shootout win over Atlanta on this date in 2010.

On The Farm

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are 13-17-1-3 on the season and will play their first game of 2014 when they visit Norfolk on Friday.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard now has points in each of the last six games that he has played. Anders Lee now leads Bridgeport with 13 goals; Lee also leads current Sound Tigers in both assists (13) and points (26).  Ryan Strome still leads the team in assists (24) and points (33). 

Up Next
[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 6:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]

The middle game of the three-game homestand will be on Saturday as the Islanders and Hurricanes meet for the final time this season. 

Carolina has won the first two games of the series, both by a single goal.  The Isles have lost five straight to Carolina (0-4-1) and are 4-9-2 in their last fifteen games against the Hurricanes.

Eric Staal has given the Isles problems throughout his career, going 21-16-37 in 36 games.

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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