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.
All-American 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.”
Back-to-Backs 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.
Ironmen 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
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 SATURDAY, JANUARY 4th —CAROLINA AT ISLANDERS 7:00PM [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.