It certainly wasn’t easy, but Johnny Boychuk’s first career overtime goal proved to be the difference as the Islanders moved into a tie for first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 4-3 overtime win over the Washington Capitals. The Isles built a 3-0 lead early in the third period, but for the fourth time this month they allowed a 3-goal margin to get away as the Caps forced overtime. The Isles, playing before yet another sellout crowd of 16,170 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games. Pittsburgh lost to New Jersey 3-1 tonight, extending their winless streak to four games.
The Scoring: 1st Period 08:15 NYI Anders Lee (8) ASST: Thomas Hickey (10), Ryan Strome (16) 1 - 0 NYI
2nd Period 10:06 NYI PPG - Lubomir Visnovsky (3) ASST: Frans Nielsen (12), Mikhail Grabovski (8) 2 - 0 NYI
3rd Period 01:41 NYI SHG - Calvin de Haan (1) ASST: John Tavares (17), Nikolay Kulemin (8) 3 - 0 NYI 04:40 WSH Eric Fehr (10) ASST: Brooks Laich (4), Jack Hillen (2) 3 - 1 NYI 06:29 WSH Nicklas Backstrom (12) ASST: Alex Ovechkin (13), Mike Green (14) 3 - 2 NYI 17:19 WSH Alex Ovechkin (17) ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (26) 3 - 3 Tie
OT Period 02:53 NYI PPG - Johnny Boychuk (3) ASST: Ryan Strome (17), Kyle Okposo (24) 4 - 3 NYI
The Skinny: The Isles improve to 10-1 in extra time this season, including 4-0 in games decided in the five minute overtime. Three of their four victories have come on 4-on-3 power play goals in the extra session... The Isles, who had only six goals from their defense in 26 games prior to Nick Leddy’s goal in Buffalo, had three goals from defensemen tonight. It was the first time since February 9, 2010 vs. Nashville that the Isles had three defenseman goals (Freddy Meyer, Mark Streit, Bruno Gervais)…Anders Lee’s goal moved him into a tie for 5th place in rookie goal scoring…Lubomir Visnovsky’s goal was the Isles’ first power play goal since December 13th vs Chicago…Calvin deHaan’s goal was his first career shorthanded goal and his first since March 10th in Vancouver….Washington is 8-2-3 in their last 13 road games…Alex Ovechkin scored on the last of his six shots on goal. Ovechkin leads the NHL in shots on goal (179). Ovechkin is now 26-15-41 in 36 games against the Isles.
John Tavares and Kyle Okposo each extended their point streaks to four games. Tavares leads the Isles in goals (15) while Okposo leads in assists (24). The linemates are tied for the team point lead with 32 points…The Isles now have 18 goals from their defense… With 24 wins, the Isles have the most wins in the Eastern Conference. In the West, Chicago has 25 wins and Anaheim 24….The Isles scored 5 overtime goals at the Coliseum in 2014 and allowed none, winning both the first (1/2/14 vs. Chicago) and last (12/29/14 vs. Washington) in overtime…All three goals by Islander defensemen were on special teams (2 PP and 1 SH)…The Isles have now scored six shorthanded goals this season, all on Coliseum ice...The Isles are 6-0-0 in OT/SO at the Coliseum this season.
Both teams are idle on Tuesday and both play on Wednesday. The Isles will be Winnipeg while Pittsburgh will host Carolina.
It’s the first time that the Isles have had at least a share of the Division lead this late in the season since February 20, 1990:
The Lost 3-0 Leads: This was the fourth time this season (all in December) that the Isles had a 3-0 lead but allowed the opponent to come back to tie (12/6 vs St. Louis, 12/9 at Minnesota, 12/27 at Buffalo, 12/29 vs. Washington). The Isles are 1-2-1 in those four games.
Year of the Fan: The Isles have sold-out three straight home games, five of the last six and nine of their eighteen home dates this season. 108,146 fans enjoyed Islander hockey in 7 home dates (15,449 average) at the Coliseum this month. The 9 sellouts are the most for the Isles since they had 12 full house at the Old Barn in 2007-08.
Year of the Islanders: The Isles now have 95 points in calendar year 2014 (49 this season and 46 from January-April); it is their most points in a calendar year since they earned 105 in 1983.
The Isles went 22-15-2 at the Coliseum in 2014 (8-11-2 last season and 14-4-0 this season).
The Isles are 7-4-1 this month, meaning that by NHL accounting the Isles will finish every month of 2014 with at least a .500 record. That last happened in 2004 when they had winning records in January-April and a lockout wiped out the fall. The last time the Isles played the whole calendar year with at least a .500 mark in each month was in 1985-- a calendar year in which the Isles played either .500 or 1 game over .500 in every month.
Most Wins by New Year’s • 26 in 83/84 • 24 in 14/15 with 1 to play • 24 in 80/81 • 24 in 78/79
Comparable Records The Isles are 24-11-1 thru 35 games. The Isles were 10-19-7 through 36 games and 10-20-7 through 37 games last season, when they did not record their 24th win until March 4th (24-32-8).
Most wins in first 36 games: • 25-4-7 in 1978-79 • 24-11-1 in 2014-15 • 24-10-2 in 1983-84 • 23-7-6 in 1980-81 • 22-9-5 in 1976-77
Most points in first 36 games: • 57 in 1978-79 • 52 in 1980-81 • 50 in 1983-84 • 49 in 2014-15 • 49 in 1976-77
Home Sweet Home The Isles are 14-4-0 on Coliseum ice, tying the club record for most wins through 18 home games (14-0-4 in 1978-79 and 14-4-0 in 1984-85). They have had more than 28 points through 18 home games only once: 14-0-4 for 32 points in 1978-79.
Streakers The Isles have had a season of streaks, going 4-0-0 to open the season and then (in succession) 0-2-0, 2-0-0, 0-3-0, 13-2-0, 0-3-0, and 5-1-1 in the last seven games.
Winning Streaks (Season) At least 2 streaks of 5 games -- First time since the 1987-88 season that the Isles have had two winning streaks of at least five games. At least 4 streaks of 4 games -- First time since the 1984-85 season that the Isles have had four winning streaks of at least four games. At least 5 streaks of 3 games -- First time Isles have ever done that before Christmas.
The Shots: Isles 11-11-12-5=39 Washington 6-10-10-0=26
Hot Shots: The Isles have outshot Detroit, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Buffalo and Washington 193-112 over the last five games and have outshot their last seven opponents 267-165.
The Isles have outshot each of their last five opponents by at least 10 shots; prior to the current streak they had not done that more than three straight times since at least 1987.
On the season, the Isles have outshot their opponents 1,187-998 for a +189 shot differential. The club record for differential for a season is +307 in 1976-77. The Isles have had only two other seasons over +150: (+254 in 1986-87 and +152 in 1975-76).
Isles had 2,537 shots on goal last season, most since a franchise-record 2,616 in 1992-93. Isles are currently on pace for a record-breaking 2704 shots this year.
Home and Road The Islanders are 24-11-1 overall, 14-4-0 at home and 10-7-1 on the road. With 14 wins, the Isles have one more win than they earned at the Coliseum all last season.
Washington is 18-11-7 overall; 7-5-4 at home and 11-6-3 on the road.
By Division The Isles are 10-2-0 in Division games and are 14-9-1 in games against other divisions. They are 7-3-1 vs. the Atlantic Division, 3-5-0 vs. Central Division, and 4-1-0 vs. the Pacific Division.
The Isles finished last season 10-16-4 against the Met.
In the Nets Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves and improves to 19-6-0 on the season. He is 6-4-0 in his career against Washington.
Braden Holtby made 35 saves; he is 16-8-6 on the season. He is 6-1-2 in his career against the Isles.
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 297th game tonight, and recorded his 163rd win (with 3 games still to play): • Antti Niemi 172, • Ryan Miller 170, • Jaroslav Halak 163 (297 games), • Martin Brodeur 161, • Jimmy Howard 160 (Courtesy CSN-California via Elias Sports Bureau)
Power Plays The Islanders were 2-7 on the power play, while Washington was 0-4 and allowed a shorthanded goal to Calvin deHaan.
The power play is 3-26 (11.6%) in the last eight games after going 4-13 (30.8%) in the previous three games. The two goals ended a 5-game stretch without a power play goal.
The penalty kill is 15-16 (93.8%) over the last seven games after allowing 7 goals in 15 times short (53.3%) in the previous three games.
The Isles are 13-4-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 11-7-1 when they do not. The Isles are 9-9-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 15-2-1 when they do not.
Three is a Magic Number The Isles are 19-4-1 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 5-7-0 when they do not.
One Goal Games The Isles are 16-2-1 in games decided by a single goal including 6-2-0 in regulation. They are 4-0 in games decided in overtime and are 6-1 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 12-8-1 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 142-131-40 behind the Islander bench. Among the 9 New York teams, only the Giants’ Tom Coughlin and the Yankees’ Joe Girardi have led their respective teams longer than Capuano.
Most games coached (Islanders): 1. Al Arbour 1,500 2. Jack Capuano 313 3. Mike Milbury 191 4. Terry Simpson 187 5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches: 1. Al Arbour 740 2. Jack Capuano 142 3. Terry Simpson 81 4. Peter Laviolette 77 5. Ted Nolan 74
They Said It Johnny Boychuk: "We had a three-goal lead the last game and a three-goal lead today, and you can't be blowing those kind of leads. But we found a way to get a win when they did have that comeback, and it's another two points."
Caps coach Barry Trotz, on Brooks Orpik’s injury: “I would say it’s not as bad as it looked so that’s a good thing.”
John Tavares: “There are always ups and downs in the season. Sometimes things don't go your way, and it's all about how you respond. We found a way."
They Tweeted It @tomochs Had it all the way. Back to back blown three goal leads, but 3 out of 4 points. @NYIslanders in first place! @daisy55 loved boychuk's drop to his knees a la JT a couple weeks ago. intentional callback or not, ruled. #isles @savantsports WHAT A WIN AT THE BARN TONIGHT. #ISLES BLOW A LEAD BUT WIN IT IN OT ON A ROCKET FROM JOHNNY BOYCHUK. LET'S GO ISLANDERS!!!!!! (It’s ok to shout!) @SeanCroftOnAir Did anyone else catch the #Isles doing the @Section_329 "Yes" chant after OT? @NavyLIslander So awesome. Being honored by the #isles and the fans. Proud to serve! #blessed #Navy (Not as proud as we are of you… and Thanks!)
The Coach "I'll take both third periods. I know that you look at the games and we gave up the goals, but from a structural standpoint, we lost two draws and they score. We dictated the pace in Buffalo and we dictated the pace here tonight and we've got to continue to play like that. If we were playing poorly, it'd be one thing. I've been here when we played poorly and teams have come back, but you know faceoffs are a huge part of the game. We lost one battle on a faceoff and the other one, [they] win it clean. [Ovechkin] lines up there quite a bit, guys know where he's gonna be. Obviously it was a great shot and it's in the back of the net."
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 be on January 9th in New Jersey and January 10th in Columbus.
Leading Ice Men John Tavares led all Isles with 21:46 of ice-time; John Carlson led Washington with 24:13.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (10-2-0), Travis Hamonic (5-1-1), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) John Tavares (2-3-0), Thomas Hickey (3-0-0), Nick Leddy (0-2-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0) and Calvin deHaan (1-2-0).
Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (12-10-1), 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 33 of 61 draws (54%). Casey Cizikas won 7 of 11 for the Isles; Troy Brouwer won 4 of 7 for Washington. The Isles won 16 of 25 against Nicklas Backstrom, but it was a Backstrom win that led directly to the tying goal.
The Isles won 11 of 17 (64%) draws in the first period; the teams split 44 draws in the rest of the game. The Isles won 7 of 13 draws on the power play and 8 of 0 draws on the penalty kill.
The Isles have won the faceoff battle in five of the last six games.
Heavy Hitters The Isles out-hit Washington 45-41. Travis Hamonic and Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with seven hits each.
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 five from Johnny Boychuk.
For the Corsi Crowd The Isles finished with a total Corsi advantage of 77-49, which measures shots attempted for and against (including blocks).
Travis Hamonic & Calvin deHaan led the Isles with +10 even-strength Corsi ratings while Anders Lee was on-ice for a team-leading 68% of Corsi For events. Brooks Laich (+4) led Washington.
Head of the Class Islander Captain John Tavares has 347 career points; he is 63 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 (1429-1410-451 in 3,290 games).
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 288 consecutive regular season NHL games, while Nelson has played 88 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. Jaroslav Halak was activated from injured reserve and Kevin Poulin was returned to Bridgeport.
The Isles have lost 135 games this season due to injury/illness.
All-time Islander Leader Board: John Tavares has: • 151 goals (14th all-time and 10 behind Pat Flatley) • 196 assists (14th all-time and 53 behind Tomas Jonsson) • 347 points (14th all-time and 22 behind Stefan Persson) • 386 games played (41st among Islander skaters all-time and 2 behind Travis Green)
Frans Nielsen has: • 91 goals (35th all-time, 1 behind Travis Green and 2 behind Greg Gilbert & Garry Howatt) • 181 assists (tied-17th all-time with Ed Westfall, 12 behind Pierre Turgeon and 15 behind John Tavares) • 272 points (23rd all-time, 14 behind Kyle Okposo and 14 behind Ed Westfall) • 482 games played (25th among Islander skaters all-time and 11 behind Ed Westfall)
Kyle Okposo has: • 107 goals (23rd all-time and 9 behind Ray Ferraro) • 179 assists (19th all-time, 2 behind Frans Nielsen and 2 behind Ed Westfall) • 286 points (tied-22nd all-time with Ed Westfall and 4 behind Alexei Yashin) • 426 games played (tied-32nd among Islander skaters all-time with 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: • 431 games played (31st among Islander skaters all-time and 19 behind Scott Lachance)
Season Series Stats The Islanders lead the season series 2 games to 1 (each team has earned four points).
This was the 200th regular season meeting of the teams and the 100th meeting at the Coliseum; they will also meet February 21st in DC. The Isles are 89-86-25 all-time against Washington.
The Isles are 7-2-6 in their last 15 games vs. Washington.
It Happened at the Coliseum … on DECEMBER 29th 13 years ago tonight (2001) – Alexei Yashin each scored two goals, including the winner 70 seconds into overtime as the Islanders closed out 2001 with a 6-5 win over Montreal. Mark Parrish also scored twice for the Isles, who let 3-0 and 5-1 leads get away before securing the win in the extra session.
Former Islander Jeff Hackett had a rough night from the beginning, facing the wrong way during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. Alan Hahn noted in Newsday: “During the American anthem, a handful of fans started yelling at Hackett to turn around, which he did with a sheepish grin after he realized his mistake.”
The Isles were playing without three injured defensemen, Radek Martinek, Roman Hamrlik and Kenny Jonsson and the Canadiens’ rally came from shots in close with little resistance from the Isles’ backline. "We've got to tighten things up with our defense," said Peter Laviolette at his post-game news conference.
Shawn Bates had a pair of assists for the Isles, including on the winning Yashin tally. It was the only overtime goal Yashin scored in an Islander uniform.
Also on this date: (2010) - PA Parenteau scored the deciding goal in the shootout and Rick DiPietro made 37 saves as the Islanders ended Sidney Crosby's 25-game point streak and defeated the Penguins 2-1. DiPietro also stopped Kris Letang on a regulation penalty shot; Josh Bailey and Chris Conner traded goals in regulation.
All-time, the Isles have played thirteen December 29th games at the Coliseum and have compiled a 8-4-1 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
On The Farm The Sound Tigers have won consecutive games out of the Christmas break behind shutouts from Kevin Poulin and David Leggio to improve to 15-11-3-1 on the season. Bridgeport is back in action on Tuesday when they visit Worcester.
Up Next WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31st—ISLANDERS AT WINNIPEG 5:00PM [MSG+ (Isles Pre-game at 4:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
It’s out with the old, as the Isles close out 2014 by beginning a 7-game road trip in Winnipeg against the Jets.
The Isles will be looking for a split of the season series as the Jets defeated the Isles at the Coliseum in October by a 4-3 score.
Since Winnipeg returned to the NHL, the Isles are 4-0-1 in five trips to Manitoba. Four of the five games have been decided in overtime. The Isles were 2-0-1 in their final three games in Winnipeg against the original Jets, dating back to a 3-1 loss on November 20, 1991.
The first four games of this road trip are all in Central/Western Canada. Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Jiggs McDonald will fill Howie Rose’s chair for all four contests.
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.