John Tavares scored the game-winning goal at 4:36 of overtime and Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves for his eighth straight win as the Isles defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 before a sellout crowd of 16,170 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
With the win, the Isles remain tied with the Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division (although Pittsburgh has a game in hand). The Isles have won ten of their last eleven(10-1-0), matching their best streak in 32 years, and have won 16 times in the first 22 games for the first time in franchise history.
It’s the first time that the Isles are 10 games over NHL .500 since they ended the 2006-07 season with a 40-30-12 record.
The Scoring: 1st Period 05:11 NYI Anders Lee (4) ASST: Ryan Strome (12), Brock Nelson (10) 1 - 0 NYI 13:46 WSH PPG - Alex Ovechkin (10) ASST: Matt Niskanen (6), Nicklas Backstrom (15) 1 - 1 Tie 17:38 NYI PPG - Travis Hamonic (3) ASST: Cal Clutterbuck (3), Casey Cizikas (2) 2 - 1 NYI
2nd Period 18:47 WSH PPG - Alex Ovechkin (11): Nicklas Backstrom (16), Marcus Johansson (6) 2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period NONE
OT Period 04:36 NYI PPG - John Tavares (9) ASST: Ryan Strome (13), Johnny Boychuk (12) 3 - 2 NYI
The Skinny: The Isles improve to 8-2-0 in games tied after 2 periods … The Isles tie Montreal for the NHL lead in wins (16); the Isles have played one fewer game than Montreal…Alex Ovechkin’s first goal ended an Islander shutout streak of 121:57…Ovechkin is 13-6-19 in 17 games on Long Island and 24-14-38 in 34 career games against the Isles. He has 433 goals in 700 NHL games… The Isles now have 12 goals by defensemen after having only 23 all last season… Brock Nelson’s assist (10-10-20) on Lee’s goal tied his for the team scoring lead before Tavares retook the lead (9-12-21) with the overtime winner… Ryan Strome’s two assists (13) leave him one behind Kyle Okposo for the club lead… Tavares’ game-winner was his 6th career overtime goal and second this season. No other player in Islander history has more than four regular season overtime goals. … Tavares is the fourth player in the NHL with two overtime goals this season…It was also Tavares’ 145th career goal, tying Mariusz Czerkawski for 15th place on all-time Isles list…Johnny Boychuk recorded his 8th power play point; he had only 5 PP points in 317 games for Boston…The Isles and Minnesota Wild are the only teams in the NHL who have not been beaten this season in either overtime or the shootout.
Last Time First! The Isles maintain at least a share of first place this late in the season for the first time since 2006. (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
Halak, the Isles and History Jaroslav Halak has won eight straight games, allowing just ten goals. He is the first Isles with eight straight wins since Mark Fitzpatrick (12/16/89 - 1/17/90).
The Isles are 10-1-0 in the last 11. This is the first time since 1989-90 that the Isles have won at least 10 of 11 (they had a 9-game win streak from December 31, 1989-January 19, 1990) and matches their best record in any 11-game stretch since the final 11 games of their fifteen game winning streak in 1982.
Home or Road…Does It Really Matter? The Isles are now 8-2-0 at home and 8-4-0 on the road. It’s the first time that the Isles are at least 4 games over .500 both at home and on the road at the same time since they ended the 2001-02 season with a 21-13-5-2 record at home and a 21-15-3-2 record on the road.
Comparable Records The Isles are 16-6-0 thru 22 games; it’s the first time in franchise history that the Isles have won 16 of their first 22 games. The Isles were 8-11-3 through 22 games and 8-12-3 through 23 games last season, when they did not win their 16th game until January 7th (16-22-7).
Most wins in first 22 games: • 16-6-0 in 2014-15 • 15-4-3 in 1976-77 • 15-3-4 in 1978-79 • 15-6-1 in 1987-88
November to Remember! The Isles are 10-2-0 this November, which has three games remaining: a home-and-home series with Washington and a home game with New Jersey. The 10 wins are their most in any November since the Stanley Cup Champions went 10-2-1 in 1983. The Isles have won at least 11 November games only once, in 1980, when the Stanley Cup Champions went 12-1-2.
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 10-1-0 in last 11.
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 12-11-7-5=35 Washington 9-10-8-0=27
Home and Road The Islanders are 16-6-0 overall, 8-2-0 at home and 8-4-0 on the road.
The 8-2-0 start matches the Isles’ best home start since they opened 9-1-0 at the Coliseum in 1984-85.
Washington is 9-8-4 overall; 4-4-3 at home and 5-4-1 on the road.
By Division The Isles are 7-1-0 in Division games and are 9-5-0 in games against other divisions. They are 3-2-0 vs. the Atlantic Division, 2-2-0 vs. Central Division, and 4-1-0 vs. the Pacific Division.
This was the fourth of six consecutive division games. The Isles are 4-0-0 in this stretch.
The Isles did not win their seventh divisional game last season until March 23rd (7-15-3).
Playing the East This was the seventh of 11 consecutive games against the Eastern Conference. The Isles are 6-1-0 in this stretch, which includes the rematch with Washington on Friday, a home game with New Jersey and a home /home series with Ottawa.
In the Nets Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves to improve to 11-4-0 on the season. He has won eight straight starts, allowing just ten goals, matching his career-best winning streak (eight games for St. Louis from February 23-March 11, 2012). Halak is 5-4-0 in his career against the Caps.
Braden Holtby made 32 saves for Washington. He is 7-5-3 on the season and 5-1-1 in his career against the Islanders.
Power Plays The Islanders were 2-3 on the power play while Washington was 2-2.
The Isles have killed 25 of 29 over the last ten games after they allowed 6 power play goals in 14 times short over the previous five games.
The power play is 4-15 (26.7%) over the last five games.
The Isles are 10-3-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 6-3-0 when they do not. The Isles are 6-5-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 10-1-0 when they do not.
Three is (Usually) a Magic Number The Isles are 13-1-0 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 3-5-0 when they do not.
One Goal Games The Isles improve to 10-1-0 in games decided by a single goal including 3-1-0 in regulation. They are 2-0 in games decided in overtime and are 5-0 in shootouts. Two games have been decided by two goals in which the second goal was an empty-netter. The Isles are 1-1 in those games.
First Goal The Isles are 9-5-0 when they score first and are 7-1-0 when they allow the opening goal.
Second to The One Jack Capuano is the 2nd winningest coach in Islander history. Capuano is 134-126-39 behind the Islander bench and will coach his 300th game on Friday in Washington.
Most games coached (Islanders): 1. Al Arbour 1,500 2. Jack Capuano 299 3. Mike Milbury 191 4. Terry Simpson 187 5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches: 1. Al Arbour 740 2. Jack Capuano 134 3. Terry Simpson 81 4. Peter Laviolette 77 5. Ted Nolan 74
They Said It John Tavares: "It’s been absolutely unbelievable playing at home right now- the atmosphere has been incredible and the guys are really feeding off it. We’re going to try to keep it going.”
Anders Lee: “We didn’t play our best game tonight, but because we’re kind of on a roll, we have that confidence, and pucks are going our way [so] we can come out with wins.”
They Tweeted It @ScottyKJr The @NYIslanders are dirty this year. 16-6 right now. Tied atop the division. Nice. @francistancis I am thankful for my family, my friends, and most importantly @91Tavares and the first place @NYIslanders @efilon87 WOW!!!! #NYIslanders win in sudden death OT!!!! @BesartPapraniku @91Tavares 5th career overtime goal. @NYIslanders have won 10 of 11 overall !! #Isles @britt_tuz THAT WAS THE CRAZIEST THE STADIUMS EVERRR BEEN @NYIslanders
The Coach “(Anders Lee is) a big man from the hash marks in that plays a physical, quality game. He goes to the interior, he’s always in front of the goalie and he’s going to score a lot of goals in this league if he continues to do that.”
Back-to-Backs The Isles are 4-0-0 in the front-end and 3-1-0 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.
The next set of back-to-backs will be next weekend, when the Isles will visit Washington on Friday at 5pm and host New Jersey on Saturday.
Leading Ice Men Johnny Boychuk led the Isles with 25:47 of ice-time while Matt Niskanen led Washington with 26:22.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (9-2-0), Travis Hamonic (4-1-0), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) and John Tavares (1-2-0).
Kyle Okposo led Islander forwards with 22:22 of ice-time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (9-6-0), Kyle Okposo (5-0-0), Brock Nelson (1-0-0), and Casey Cizikas (1-0-0).
In the Circle The Islanders won 29 of 63 draws (46%). Casey Cizikas won 8 of 15 for the Isles; Jay Beagle won 10 of 15 for Washington.
After winning only 8 of 21 draws in the first period, the Isles won 21 of 42 the rest of the way.
Heavy Hitters The Isles out-hit Washington 55-28. Matt Martin had 13 hits to lead the Isles. Matt Niskanen led the Caps with four.
Anders Lee fought Tom Wilson in the second period for Lee’s first NHL scrap. It was the fourth straight game that the Isles have been involved in a fight and the sixth fight of the season for the Isles: Martin (3), Hamonic (2), Lee (1). All six fights have come in games against Metropolitan Division opponents.
Giving Up the Body The Isles were credited with 7 blocked shots.
For the Corsi Crowd The Isles finished with a total Corsi advantage of 71-44, which measures shots attempted for and against (including blocks). The Capitals did not have a single attempt at the net in the final 6:20 of regulation or in overtime; the Isles had 18 attempts in that span.
Thomas Hickey (+13) led the Isles in even-strength Corsi. Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin each had a team-leading 75% of Corsi For events (Martin also finished with a team-leading five shots on goal). Every Islander had a positive or even even-strength Corsi; Tom Wilson (+4) was the only Capital with a positive rating.
Head of the Class Islander Captain John Tavares has 336 career points; he is 59 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 16 games over all-time NHL .500 (1421-1405-450 in 3,276 games). It’s the first time since October 23, 2010 that the Isles have been 16 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 274 consecutive regular season NHL games, while Nelson has played 74 consecutive regular season Islander games.
Missing Men Eric Boulton, Michael Grabner and Matt Carkner are on injured reserve. Thomas Hickey and Calvin deHaan both returned to the lineup, replacing Matt Donovan and Brian Strait; Cory Conacher were scratched.
The Isles have lost 80 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-fourth among active goalies: • Roberto Luongo 67 • Evgeni Nabokov 59 • Henrik Lundqvist 53 • Jaroslav Halak 33 • Pekka Rinne 33 • Jonathan Quick 33 • Marc-Andre Fleury 32 • Ryan Miller 31
All-time Islander Leader Board: John Tavares has: • 145 goals (tied-15th all-time with Mariusz Czerkawski, 2 behind Pierre Turgeon and 15 behind Pat Flatley) • 191 assists (16th all-time, 2 behind Pierre Turgeon and 58 behind Tomas Jonsson) • 336 points (15th all-time, 4 behind Pierre Turgeon and 33 behind Stefan Persson) • 372 games played (43rd among Islander skaters all-time, 9 behind Randy Wood and 11 behind Anders Kallur)
Frans Nielsen has: • 90 goals (35th all-time, 2 behind Travis Green and 3 behind Greg Gilbert & Garry Howatt) • 176 assists (18th all-time and 5 behind Ed Westfall) • 266 points (23rd all-time and 6 behind Kyle Okposo and 20 behind Ed Westfall) • 468 games played (28th among Islander skaters all-time, 1 behind Mariusz Czerkawski and 7 behind Gerry Hart)
Kyle Okposo has: • 104 goals (26th all-time and 1 behind Ed Westfall & Benoit Hogue and 12 behind Ray Ferraro) • 169 assists (22nd all-time and 2 behind Duane Sutter & Alexei Yashin) • 273 points (22nd all-time, 13 behind Ed Westfall and 17 behind Alexei Yashin) • 412 games played (35th among Islander skaters all-time and 8 behind Josh Bailey)
Michael Grabner has: • 82 goals (38th all-time, 2 behind Tomas Jonsson and 5 behind Butch Goring)
Josh Bailey has: • 420 games played (34th among Islander skaters all-time, 2 behind Dave Langevin and 5 behind Greg Gilbert)
Season Series Stats The Isles lead the season series 1 game to 0 (and 2 points to 1). The next meeting of the teams will be on Friday in Washington.
The Isles are 3-0-3 in their last six home games with the Caps.
Tonight’s win was only the Isles’ second in the last 12 OT/SO games between the clubs.
It Happened at the Coliseum … on NOVEMBER 26th 17 years ago tonight (1997) – Robert Reichel scored some big goals and had some big games for the Islanders, but he scored only one hat trick – in a 4-1 victory over the Rangers at the Coliseum. Reichel also assisted on Kenny Jonsson’s goal as the Isles built a 4-0 lead. Alexei Kovalev spoiled Tommy Salo’s shutout (but nothing else), when he beat Salo with 3:16 to play.
It was Reichel’s fourth career hat trick and points 398-401 on his career.
The win pushed the Isles to .500 (10-10-4) on the season; as it has many times over the years the win over the Blueshirts came at a time the Isles were not playing particularly well.
Tom Chorske told Newsday’s John Valenti: "It was time to put up or shut up. Of course, the fact that we were playing the Rangers helped."
Also on this date: (2010) – Rick DiPietro recorded his 16th (and final) career shutout as the Isles blanked New Jersey 2-0 in a Black Friday matinee. Jesse Joensuu and Rob Schremp scored the goals as Jack Capuano recorded his first win behind the Islander bench as the Isles broke a 14-game winless streak.
All-time, the Isles have played nine November 26th games at the Coliseum and have compiled a 5-3-1 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
On The Farm Bridgeport is 10-6-1-1 on the season.
The Sound Tigers begin another “3 in 3” weekend on Friday in Manchester before returning home to face Hartford and Providence.
Up Next FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28th—ISLANDERS AT WASHINGTON 5:00PM [MSG (Isles Pre-game at 4:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 LI News]
The Isles conclude the home and home with an early-evening rematch on Friday in Washington against the Capitals.
The Isles are 3-1-3 in their last seven trips to the Nation’s Capital.
Surprisingly, the Isles and Capitals have played very few home and home series in the last 25 years. The Caps swept a pair of games in 1997 and in 2011 (one game in OT). The Isles will be looking for their first sweep of the Caps since Thanksgiving weekend 1991.
And Finally… Happy Thanksgiving to all my loyal readers! Have a great, safe holiday!
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.