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The Skinny: Islanders 3, Devils 2 (SO)

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
“The Skinny” 

Game 81
Isles 3, New Jersey 2 (shootout)

Ryan Strome scored his second goal in as many games to tie the game early in the third period and then was one of three Islanders to beat Marty Brodeur in the shootout as the Islanders defeated New Jersey 3-2 before a crowd of 15,858 at the Prudential Center.  The Devils, who entered this season with more all-time shootout wins than any team in NHL history, lost their 17th consecutive shootout, including all 13 this season. The Isles have earned 34 points (16-5-2) in their last 23 road games; it’s the first time in franchise history that the Isles have earned 34 points over a stretch of 23 road games (single season) in their history.

The Scoring:
1st Period

10:04    NYI Anders Lee (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Frans Nielsen (30)     1 - 0 NYI   
11:03    NJD Ryan Carter (7) Snap shot - ASST: Steve Bernier (9), Stephen Gionta (7) 1 - 1 Tie   
19:51    NJD Patrik Elias (18) Snap shot - ASST: Travis Zajac (29), Jaromir Jagr (41)     2 - 1 NJD   

2nd Period

3rd Period
00:19    NYI PPG - Ryan Strome (7) Snap shot - ASST: Frans Nielsen (31), Matt Donovan (14) 2 - 2 Tie


The Shootout
Nielsen (G), Bernier (G), Bailey(G), Jagr (NG), Strome (G)

Frans Nielsen has scored on 8 of 14 attempts this season; Josh Bailey’s game-deciding goal was his first in four shootout attempts this season while Ryan Strome’s clincher was his first career shootout goal (1-3)… New Jersey has scored 4 times on 45 shootout attempts this season.

The Skinny: 
Playing without John Tavares, the Isles are 11-7-3 since the Olympic break… The Isles are 20-11-5 with Ryan Strome in the lineup… With the win, the Isles will finish over NHL-.500 on the road for the first time in a full season since 2006-07… The shootout win gives the Isles the season series 3 games to 2 over New Jersey; it is the only divisional season series that the Isles won this season. …Before scoring in the shootout, Frans Nielsen added two assists, giving him 167 as an Isle, which ties Jean Potvin for 21st place on the all-time list…The Isles scored four goals in their sweep of back-to-back games (vs. Montreal and New Jersey) and all four were scored by rookies—2 by Ryan Strome, 1 by Brock Nelson and 1 vs Anders Lee….Lee’s goal was his first in 13 games…It’s the first time in his career that Strome has scored in consecutive games…The Isles are 56-41 all-time in shootouts; New Jersey is 56-49.

The Shots:

Isles              4-13-9-4=30
New Jersey 13-3-11-0=27

Youth Movement
The Isles dressed 11 rookies for the second straight game: Kevin Czuczman, Matt Donovan, Brett Gallant, Mike Halmo, Anders Lee, Scott Mayfield, Brock Nelson, Anders Nilsson, Ryan Strome, John Persson and Justin Johnson.  Johnson replaced the injured Johan Sundstrom in the lineup. 

Rookie, or Sir?
Justin Johnson is the oldest player to make his NHL debut as an Islander, and the oldest player to make his NHL debut since Magnus Johansson made his NHL debut for Chicago on October 4, 2007 (he was 34 years, 1 month).

Other than Johnson, I believe that the oldest Islander to make his NHL debut is Mike MacWilliam, who made his NHL debut for Isles on 3/17/96.  He was 29 years, 1 month, 3 days.

Johnson (born 5-5-1981) is 32 years, 11 months, 6 days as of today.  Johnson is TWO DAYS OLDER than Tim Connolly, who was the Isles' 1st pick 5th overall in 1999 (and is now retired after having played 697 NHL games).

The Future
The Isles will have to wait until Sunday to determine whether they are the 4th or 5th seed going in to Tuesday’s draft lottery.  Calgary lost to Winnipeg tonight, so the Isles and Flames are tied with 77 points, and each team has one game remaining.  Calgary owns the tie-breaker so the Isles will be the 4th seed unless they earn more points on Sunday (at Buffalo) than the Flames do (at Vancouver).

Home and Road
The Islanders are 33-37-11 overall, 13-19-9 at home (including 0-1-0 at Yankee Stadium) and 20-18-2 on the road. The Isles are 9-4-2 in their last 15 games.  While their 13-19-9 home record is their worst on home-ice for a full season since 2000-01, the Isles have earned 42 points on the road for the first time since 2006-07.

Over the last two seasons, the Isles are 23-30-12 (58 points in 65 games) at home and 34-24-6 (74 points in 64 games) on the road.  The Isles have finished above NHL-.500 at home only once in the past seven seasons.

New Jersey is 34-29-18 overall; they are 20-11-9 at home and 14-18-9 on the road. However, the Devils are 0-13 in the shootout.

20 Win Club
This is the eighth time in club history that the Isles have won 20 road games in a season:
•    1976-77 23-10-7
•    1978-79 20-12-8
•    1980-81 25-12-3
•    1981-82 21-13-6
•    1983-84 22-15-3
•    1992-93 20-18-4
•    2001-02 21-15-3-2
•    2013-14 20-18-2 (with one game to play)

By Division
The Isles are 10-16-4 in Division games and are 23-21-7 in games against other divisions. They are 11-7-4 vs. the Atlantic Division, 7-6-1 vs. Central Division, and 4-8-2 vs. the Pacific Division.

The Isles won the season series from New Jersey 3-2-0 but the Devils earned 7 points to the Isles’ 6. The Isles did not have a winning record against any other division opponent. They are 1-3-0 against Carolina, 1-2-1 against Columbus, 2-3-0 against New York, 1-3-0 against Philadelphia, 1-2-1 against Pittsburgh, and 1-1-2 against Washington.

This was the 11th of 12 consecutive games against Eastern Conference opponents to end the regular season.  The Isles are 7-2-2 in this stretch.

In the Nets
Anders Nilsson made 25 saves as he improves to 7-7-2 on the season.  Nilsson is 3-0 in shootouts in his career, and improves to 3-1-0 vs New Jersey.

Martin Brodeur made 28 saves for New Jersey; the future Hall of Famer is 18-14-6 on the season and 687-394-154 in his career.  Brodeur is 51-28-9 in his career against the Isles and 42-30 in 72 career shootouts.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 1-3 on the power play while New Jersey was 0-1.  Ryan Strome’s third period goal was the only power play goal the Isles scored in five games against the Devils this season.

The Isles are 20-8-5 when they score at least one power play goal and 13-29-6 when they do not.  The Isles are 14-21-4 when they allow at least one power play goal and 19-16-7 when they do not. 

The Isles are 16-105 in the last 29 games on the power play and have allowed 18 power play goals in 80 times short over the last 20 games.  

Feast or Famine
The Isles PP went 10-33 in the first 10 games, before going 7-79 in the next 24 games. They rebounded to go 11-32 in the following 11 games but are only 20-130 in their last 36 games.

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 26-10-4 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 7-27-7 when they do not. 

Comeback Kids
The Isles are 17-9-8 when they score first and are 16-28-3 when they allow the opening goal.  The Isles have allowed the first goal in 28 of their last 43 games.

Second to The One
Jack Capuano became the 2nd coach in Islander history to win 100 games in Toronto on January 7th and became the 2nd coach in Islander history to coach 250 games on January 27th against Boston. He is 2nd on the all-time Islander list in both games coached (276) and wins (117).

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.    Al Arbour 1,500
2.    Jack Capuano 276
3.    Mike Milbury 191
4.    Terry Simpson 187
5.    Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.    Al Arbour 740
2.    Jack Capuano 117
3.    Terry Simpson 81
4.    Peter Laviolette 77
5.    Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
Ryan Strome (on his shootout winner) “I was inspired (by Josh Bailey)…I’ve been working on that move in practice“
Ryan Strome (on his line) “We didn’t have as many chances in the second or third, but we were more reliable in our end.  The team got the win and that is all that is important.”

They Tweeted It
@K_Dexter Some perspective on #Isles home woes. Picked up 20th road W 2nite...only team w/ 20 or more road Ws this yr that won't qualify for playoffs.
@Riz2525 Awesome win tonight by the #isles.  Only one more game left in the season...
@TimmyAlbert22 How about two spin-o-ramas, back-to-back, from Josh Bailey & @strome18 to take two points tonight? #isles

The Coach
“In a shootout, guys use their skill. After we watched Steven Stamkos beat us down in Tampa, guys worked on it [the move] in practice.”

The Isles are 8-8-2 in the front-end and 8-8-2 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.  The Isles have swept five back-to-backs:  November 1st/2nd vs. Ottawa and Boston, January 6th/7th vs. Dallas and Toronto, January 20th/21st vs. Philadelphia and the Rangers, April 1st/2nd vs. Florida and Ottawa and April 10th/11th vs. Montreal and New Jersey.

In the 18 sets of back-to-backs, they have earned 4 points five times, 3 points once, 2 points five times, 1 point three times and no points on four occasions. 

Leading Ice Men
Travis Hamonic led the Isles with 26:46 of ice-time while Jon Merrill led New Jersey with 23:34.

The Isles are 15-17-6 when MacDonald leads in ice-time, are 17-15-5 when Hamonic leads, are 1-0-0 when deHaan leads, are 0-1-0 when Okposo leads, are 0-1-0 when Strait leads, are 0-2-0 when Tavares leads and are 0-1-0 when Vanek leads.

In the Circle
The Islanders won 38 of 67 draws (57%). Ryan Strome won 6 of 8 for the Isles; Patrik Elias won 4 of 6 for New Jersey.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit New Jersey 29-20.  Matt Carkner led the Isles with four hits. Matt Martin added three hits, giving him 356 hits on the season. Martin leads the NHL in hits by a wide margin; it is the second time in his career that he has recorded 300 hits.

There were no fights. The Isles have received 36 fighting penalties this season: Martin (10), Carkner (9), Boulton (8), McDonald (2), Halmo (2), Hamonic (2), Gallant (2) and Okposo (1).

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 7 blocked shots, including a team-high two blocks for Frans Nielsen and Matt Donovan.

All-time Winners
The Islanders improve to five games over all-time NHL .500 (1404-1399-450 in 3,253 games), with two games remaining in the current regular season. The Isles have been 1-under all-time .500 after six games this season and have gone 4-0-2 in the following game. 

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.

Thomas Hickey is the Islanders’ reigning ironman.  He has played 82 consecutive regular season games, and is the only Islander to have played in every game this season. 

Missing Men
John Tavares, Eric Boulton, Brian Strait, Lubomir Visnovsky, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Calvin deHaan, Cal Clutterbuck and Johan Sundstrom are all out injured. Radek Martinek was scratched.

The Isles have lost 242 games this season due to injury. 

Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 687
2. Roberto Luongo 372
3. Evgeni Nabokov 350
4. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Wins
17. Rogie Vachon 355
18. Evgeni Nabokov 350
19. Gump Worsley 335
20. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Shutouts, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 124
2. Roberto Luongo 66
3. Evgeni Nabokov 59
4. Tomas Vokoun 51
5. Henrik Lundqvist 50

Career Shutouts
16 Turk Broda 62
17 Evgeni Nabokov 59
18 John Ross Roach 58

Career Goals as an Islander
15    Mariusz Czerkawski    145
16    John Tavares     136
17    Jason Blake    127

27    Trent Hunter     99
28    Kyle Okposo    99
29    Mikko Makela     95
29    David Volek     95
31    Randy Wood     94
32    Greg Gilbert     93
32    Garry Howatt     93
34    Travis Green     92
35    Butch Goring    87
36    Frans Nielsen    85
37    Tomas Jonsson    84
38    Michael Grabner 82
39    Wayne Merrick    81
39    Dave Scatchard    81

Career Assists as an Islander
16    Ed Westfall    181
17    John Tavares    179
18    Kenny Jonsson    175
19    Alexei Yashin    171
20    Duane Sutter    171
21    Frans Nielsen    167
21    Jean Potvin    167
23    Jeff Norton    166
24    Zigmund Palffy    163
25    Kyle Okposo    155   
26    David Volek    154
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
24    Eddie Westfall    493
25    Radek Martinek 479
26    Gerry Hart    476
29    Scott Lachance 450
30    Frans Nielsen     446
31    Jason Blake      426

34    Wayne Merrick  411
35    Josh Bailey     405
36    Jean Potvin    402
37    David Volek     396
38    Bert Marshall    392
39    Kyle Okposo     390
40    Travis Green     388
41    Anders Kallur     383
42    Randy Wood     381
43    John Tavares     350
44    Dave Scatchard    347

Career Points as an Islander
16    Ziggy Palffy    331
17    John Tavares     315
18    Mariusz Czerkawski    295
22    Jason Blake    258
22    Steve Thomas    258
24    Kyle Okposo     254
25    Frans Nielsen     252

26    David Volek    249

Season Series Stats
The Isles win the season series 3 games to 2 (but New Jersey earned 7 points to the Isles’ 6).

The Isles won both games in New Jersey and both were in shootouts.  The Isles have won four straight games in New Jersey for the 1st time since winning the first seven games the teams played in the Garden State after the Devils moved to the Meadowlands (10-28-82 to 3-13-84).

Happy Anniversary
39years ago tonight (4-11-75):  Two words: Jean-Paul Parise.   At 11 seconds of overtime in the third and deciding game of the first playoff series in Islander history, Parise converted a pass from Jude Drouin for the winning goal as the Isles defeated the Rangers 4-3.  Clark Gillies’ first period goal and a pair of middle period tallies from Denis Potvin had built a 3-0 lead for the Isles after two periods, but the Rangers got a pair of goals from Bill Fairbairn and a game-tying goal from Steve Vickers to set the stage for Morrow’s heroics.

Also on this date:  Arguably the most important game in Islander history (1980).  Ken Morrow scores at 6:55 of overtime to give the Islanders a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings and a 2-1 lead in the best of five series.  (The Isles would complete the series the following night with a 6-0 win enroute to their first Stanley Cup.)

All-time, the Isles are 4-2-2 in regular season play and 4-5 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on this date.

On The Farm
Jesse Graham scored his first professional goal but Bridgeport lost to Albany 2-1 on Friday to fall to 27-37-2-6 on the season.  Bridgeport hosts Adirondack on Saturday and Springfield on Sunday (3pm) in their final home games of the season.

Up Next
[MSG-Plus (Isles Pre-game at 4:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]

The Isles conclude the regular season as they visit Buffalo for the only time this season.  The Isles are 2-0-2 in their last four games against the Sabres, including 1-0-1 this season.

If the Isles win, they would finish the season with exactly 79 points for the fourth time in the last six full seasons.

And Finally…
One of the most popular players in Islander history, Chico Resch, announced his retirement from the Devils television booth during their broadcast tonight.

See the MSG press release, and a Howie Rose interview with Chico about his Islander days here:

My thoughts on Chico are here:

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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