Isles 3, Tampa Bay 1 John Tavares and Anders Lee scored 12 seconds apart, late in the third period, and Nikolay Kulemin added an empty net goal as the Isles rallied for a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning before a sellout crowd of 16,170 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The win was the Isles’ fourth straight and NHL-leading 23rd of the season. It’s the first time in franchise history that the Isles have won 23 of their first 33 games. The Isles are 13-3-0 at home, matching their win total at home for all of last season.
The Isles are a season-high 13 games over NHL-.500. It’s the first time that the Isles are 13 games over NHL .500 since they ended the 2001-02 season with a 42-28-8-4 record.
The Islanders remain in second place in the Metropolitan Division, just two points behind the first place Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh defeated Florida tonight.
The Scoring: 1st Period NONE
2nd Period NONE
3rd Period 09:16 TBL Brett Connolly (6) ASST: Tyler Johnson (24), Mark Barberio (1) 1 - 0 TBL 16:51 NYI John Tavares (13) ASST: Kyle Okposo (21), Josh Bailey (5) 1 - 1 Tie 17:03 NYI Anders Lee (7) ASST: Travis Hamonic (4), Brock Nelson (13) 2 - 1 NYI 18:49 NYI EN - Nikolay Kulemin (6) ASST: Cal Clutterbuck (4) 3 - 1 NYI
The Skinny: Isles improved to 12-3-0 in games that they allowed the first goal; they have come-from-behind in 13 of their 23 wins. The Isles are also 12-2-0 in games that are tied after 20 minutes…John Tavares’ goal was his team-leading 28th point…Three of Anders Lee’s seven goals have been game winners (including the last two nights)…Brock Nelson’s helper was his 13th assist and 27th point; both established new career highs. He remains one point behind John Tavares for the club lead… With his 18th win, Jaroslav Halak moved into a tie for 3rd place in the NHL, behind Pekka Rinne (21) and Marc-Andre Fleury (19). Billy Smith (32 wins in 1981-82) is the only Islander to ever lead the NHL in wins… After allowing 17 goals in their recent three-game losing streak, the Isles have allowed only 6 goals in their four-game winning streak… Isles are 10-1-0 in last 11 at home; it’s their best home stretch since winning 11 of 12 at home to open the 1984-85 season...Kyle Okposo matched a career high with eight shots on goal; Kyle also had his team-leading 21st assist.
Cy Young: The Isles’ 23-10 (and -0) record sounds more like a baseball pitcher than a hockey team. Only one pitcher in the last 80 years has ended a season with a 23-10 record: Steve Carlton did so in 1977 (and yes he did win the Cy Young Award!).
Most Wins by Christmas The Isles now have 23 wins on the season. Only once before have the Isles had more wins by Christmas Day: • 24 in 83/84 • 23 in 80/81 • 23 in 14/15 with 1 game to play • 21 in 76/77 • 21 in 78/79
Good Company for Halak San Jose’s Antti Niemi recently played in his 300th NHL game, and recorded his 172nd win, representing the most wins by an active goalie in his first 300 games. Jaroslav Halak played in his 296th game tonight, and passed Marty Brodeur for the third-most wins within his first 300 (with 4 games still to play): • Antti Niemi 172, • Ryan Miller 170, • Jaroslav Halak 162 (296 games), • Martin Brodeur 161, • Jimmy Howard 160 (Courtesy CSN-California via Elias Sports Bureau)
Comparable Records The Isles are 23-10-0 thru 32 games. The Isles were 9-19-5 through 33 games and 9-19-6 through 34 games last season, when they had only 23 wins at the end of February (23-30-8).
Most wins in first 33 games: • 23-10-0 in 2014-15 • 22-4-7 in 1978-79 • 22-9-2 in 1983-84 • 21-8-4 in 1976-77 • 20-7-6 in 1980-81
Most points in first 33 games: • 51 in 1978-79 • 46 in 2014-15 • 46 in 1976-77 • 46 in 1980-81 • 46 in 1983-84
Home Sweet Home The Isles are 13-3-0 on Coliseum ice, matching the club record for most wins through 16 home games (13-3-0 in 1984-85). They have had more than 26 points through 16 home games only once: 12-0-4 for 28 points in 1978-79.
Only Nashville (12-2-1; 25 points in 15 games, .833) has a better home record (by percentage) than the Isles (.813).
Streakers The Isles won their first four games, lost their next two games, won the two games after that, lost the next three games, went 13-2-0 in their next 15 and had lost their last three before winning their last four.
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 Isles have had four winning streaks of at least four games this season. It’s the first time since the 1984-85 season that the Isles have had four winning streaks of at least four games.
The Isles have had five winning streaks of at least three games this season; it’s the first time that they have ever done that before Christmas.
The Shots: Isles 12-17-19=48 Tampa Bay 5-4-12=21
Tampa had 5 of the game’s first 8 shots before the Isles outshot them 45-16 the rest of the way. The Isles outshot Detroit and Tampa Bay 80-39 in the back-to-back games and have outshot their opponents 154-92 during the current 4-game winning streak.
It is the first time since February 9, 2013 (43-15 vs Buffalo) that the Isles have outshot their opponents by at least 27 shots and the first time that they have done it on the back-end of a back-to-back since they outshot Florida 54-24 on March 17, 2004 in Sunrise.
Home and Road The Islanders are 23-10-0 overall, 13-3-0 at home and 10-7-0 on the road.
Tampa Bay is 20-11-4 overall; 12-4-1 at home and 8-7-3 on the road.
By Division The Isles are 9-2-0 in Division games and are 14-8-0 in games against other divisions. They are 7-2-0 vs. the Atlantic Division, 3-5-0 vs. Central Division, and 4-1-0 vs. the Pacific Division.
The Isles did not win their ninth divisional game last season until March 29th (9-15-3); they finished last season 10-16-4 against the Met.
In the Nets Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves and improves to 18-6-0 on the season with his 162nd NHL win. He is 4-2-0 in his career against Tampa Bay.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 45 saves but falls to 1-1-0 on the season. The 45 saves is a Lightning rookie record. Corey Schwab (1996-97) & Karri Romo (2008-09) shared the previous mark (44).
Power Plays The Islanders were 0-3 on the power play while Tampa Bay was 0-2.
The power play is 1-15 (6.7%) in the last five games after going 4-13 (30.8%) in the previous three games.
The penalty kill is 6-7 (85.7%) over the last four games after allowing 7 goals in 15 times short (53.3%) in the previous three games.
Since allowing 4 power play goals in an opening weekend sweep of Carolina, the Isles have allowed only 8 goals in 53 times short in their last 21 wins.
The Isles are 12-4-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 11-6-0 when they do not. The Isles are 9-9-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 14-1-0 when they do not.
Three is a Magic Number The Isles are 18-4-0 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 and have established a club record by going the first 33 games of the season without an overtime/shootout loss or tie: • 33 games (2014-15; current) • 30 games (1998-99; 12-18-0 before tying Anaheim in game 31)
One Goal Games The Isles are 15-2-0 in games decided by a single goal including 6-2-0 in regulation. They are 3-0 in games decided in overtime and are 6-0 in shootouts. Four games have been decided by two goals in which the second goal was an empty-netter. The Isles are 3-1 in those games.
First Goal (and Second Goal) The Isles are 11-7-0 when they score first and are 12-3-0 when they allow the opening goal. However, the Isles are 11-0-0 when they allow the opening goal but score the second 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 141-130-39 behind the Islander bench.
Most games coached (Islanders): 1. Al Arbour 1,500 2. Jack Capuano 310 3. Mike Milbury 191 4. Terry Simpson 187 5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches: 1. Al Arbour 740 2. Jack Capuano 141 3. Terry Simpson 81 4. Peter Laviolette 77 5. Ted Nolan 74
They Said It Anders Lee: "It was just one of those things where we needed to get one past him, because he was playing so well that if we could get one past him, maybe two, and then go from there.”
Kyle Okposo: “When we got the tying goal, it was so loud. And then when Anders scored, however many seconds later, it got even louder. It was electric in here tonight."
They Tweeted It @Brshumer The atmosphere at the coliseum tonight was great. Helps when you score 2 goals in :12. #Isles @I_AM_ROCCO_84 @Shannon_Hogan your obviously the good luck charm for the Isles so far. #Isles (Wait, I thought Jiggs was the good luck charm!) @jpusateri24 What an atmosphere at the #barn tonight #isles @Godwentwhoops The Isles got me interested when you got Boychuk. Then I saw the show on Hamonic, and I looked deeper. Good team with good men. @BComptonNHL Teams with more points in the #NHL than the #Isles five days before Christmas: Anaheim, Pittsburgh.
The Coach "We talk about believability and trust every day. We did a lot of good things. They got a good goal, but we were getting our chances. We played the way we're supposed to play, and when you do that, you get rewarded. To me, it was about the fans again…The energy in the building was fantastic. In that last 10 minutes, it gave us the push that we needed."
Back-to-Backs The Isles are 5-1-0 in the front-end and 5-1-0 on the back end of back-to-backs this season. The Isles have swept 4 sets of back-to-back this season and are 1-1-0 in two sets.
The next set of back-to-backs will on be January 9th in New Jersey and January 10th in Columbus.
Leading Ice Men Johnny Boychuk led all Isles with 22:05 of ice-time; Victor Hedman led Tampa Bay with 23:21. Every Islander saw at least 12 minutes of ice-time for the second straight night.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (10-2-0), Travis Hamonic (5-1-0), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) John Tavares (1-3-0), Thomas Hickey (3-0-0), Nick Leddy (0-2-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0) and Calvin deHaan (1-1-0).
Kyle Okposo led the Isles forwards with 19:29 of ice-time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (11-9-0), Kyle Okposo (8-0-0), Ryan Strome (1-0-0), Brock Nelson (1-1-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0) and Casey Cizikas (1-0-0).
In the Circle The Islanders won 27 of 47 draws (57%). John Tavares won 12 of 16 for the Isles; Valtteri Filippula won 8 of 14 for Tampa Bay.
The Isles won 21 of 31 (68%) draws in in the first two periods but only 6 of 16 (38%) in the third period. The Isles won 4 of 5 draws on the power play and 1 of 3 on the penalty kill.
It’s the first time since November 18-22 (3 games) that the Isles have won a majority of face-offs in three straight games.
Heavy Hitters The Isles out-hit Tampa Bay 46-25. Matt Martin led the Isles with six hits.
There were no fights. The Isles have been involved in eight fights this season: Martin (5), Hamonic (2), Lee (1), and all but one of the fights (Martin vs. Minnesota) have been against Metropolitan Division opponents.
Giving Up the Body The Isles were credited with 15 blocked shots, including 6 from Calvin deHaan.
For the Corsi Crowd The Isles finished with a total Corsi advantage of 76-48, which measures shots attempted for and against (including blocks).
Josh Bailey led the Isles with a +12 even-strength Corsi while Frans Nielsen won on-ice for 12 Isles attempts and only 1 for Tampa Bay for a team-leading 92% of Corsi For events. Brenden Morrow (+8) led Tampa Bay.
Head of the Class Islander Captain John Tavares has 343 career points; he is 60 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 19 games over all-time NHL .500 (1428-1409-450 in 3,287 games). It’s the first time since January 23, 2010 that the Isles have been 19 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 285 consecutive regular season NHL games, while Nelson has played 85 consecutive regular season Islander games.
Missing Men Matt Carkner and Michael Grabner are on injured reserve. Matt Donovan, Eric Boulton and Brian Strait were scratched.
The Isles have lost 128 games this season due to injury/illness.
All-time Islander Leader Board: John Tavares has: • 149 goals (14th all-time and 12 behind Pat Flatley) • 194 assists (14th all-time and 55 behind Tomas Jonsson) • 343 points (14th all-time and 26 behind Stefan Persson) • 383 games played (tied-41st among Islander skaters all-time with Anders Kallur and 5 behind Travis Green)
Frans Nielsen has: • 91 goals (35th all-time, 1 behind Travis Green and 2 behind Greg Gilbert & Garry Howatt) • 180 assists (18th all-time, 1 behind Ed Westfall, 13 behind Pierre Turgeon and 14 behind John Tavares) • 271 points (23rd all-time, 11 behind Kyle Okposo and 15 behind Ed Westfall) • 480 games played (25th among Islander skaters all-time and 13 behind Ed Westfall)
Kyle Okposo has: • 106 goals (23rd all-time and 10 behind Ray Ferraro) • 176 assists (19th all-time, 4 behind Frans Nielsen and 5 behind Ed Westfall) • 282 points (22nd all-time, 4 behind Ed Westfall and 8 behind Alexei Yashin) • 423 games played (34th among Islander skaters all-time, 2 behind Greg Gilbert, 3 behind Jason Blake and 5 behind Josh Bailey)
Michael Grabner has: • 84 goals (tied-37th all-time with Tomas Jonsson and 3 behind Butch Goring)
Josh Bailey has: • 428 games played (31st among Islander skaters all-time and 22 behind Scott Lachance)
Season Series Stats The Isles win the season series 2 games to 1 (and 4 points to 2).
The Isles are 6-1-2 in their last nine games against Tampa Bay and are 7-0-1 in their last eight at home against the Lightning.
It Happened at the Coliseum … on DECEMBER 20th 31 years ago tonight (1983) – Of all the games in Coliseum history, the Isles have scored 11 goals in only one of them, an 11-3 victory over Pittsburgh.
This game was actually tied 3-3 halfway through, but the Isles scored eight times in the final 30 minutes as they set team records for goals and points (30) in a game – both records were later tied.
It was a total team effort as each of the first eight goals was scored by a different player. In all, nine Islanders lit the lamp behind Penguin goaltenders Denis Herron and Michel Dion and sixteen Islanders recorded at least one point.
Mike Bossy (1-3-4), Bryan Trottier (2-2-4) and Tomas Jonsson (0-4-4) each had four points as the Isles won their fifth straight game and extended their unbeaten streak to eight games.
Butch Goring was honored by the NHL before playing in his 1,000th NHL game. Islander broadcaster Ed Westfall presented Goring with the Milestone Award.
“You don’t like to pour it on like that”, Goring told the NY Times’ Kevin Paul Dupont. “But you can’t go out there and not try anymore; you just can’t do it.”
Also on this date: (1977) – Michel Bergeron scored two goals and added two assists and the Isles scored six third period goals enroute to a 9-1 avalanche over the Colorado Rockies. Al Arbour recorded his 200th NHL win.
All-time, the Isles have played six December 20th games at the Coliseum and have won them all, as they have compiled a 6-0-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
On The Farm Ryan Pulock scored for the second straight night, giving the rookie defender 11 goals on the season but Norfolk earned a split of the 2-game season with a 2-1 win over Bridgeport. The Sound Tigers are now 13-11-3-1 on the season and return home to play Worcester on Sunday afternoon.
Pulock is now tied for the AHL lead in goals by any rookie (11) and is just one goal off the AHL lead for goals by a defenseman.
Up Next TUESDAY, DECEMBER 23rd—MONTREAL AT ISLANDERS 7:00PM [MSG+2 (Isles Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
The Islanders are finished with the Tampa Bay Lightning (at least for the regular season) but in their next two games they will face two conference rivals that they have not yet faced, beginning with Tuesday’s game with Montreal.
Montreal won last season’s series 2 games to 1 (and 4 points to 3). After Montreal won 4-2 at Bell Centre in November, the teams then split a pair of shutouts, with Carey Price blanking the Isles 1-0 in overtime on Long Island and Evgeni Nabokov returning the favor in Montreal, by a 2-0 score, during the final week of the regular season.
The Isles are 7-4-1 in their last 12 games against the Habs, including 3-2-1 in the last six on Coliseum ice.
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.