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The Skinny: Islanders 4, Panthers 2

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
“The Skinny” 

Game 75
Isles 4, Florida 2

Josh Bailey scored a goal and added an assist and Mike Halmo scored his first NHL goal as the Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers 4-2 before a crowd of 11,812 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  Matt Martin, who was named the Bob Nystrom Award before the game, scored his 8th goal of the season while Colin MacDonald, the Islanders’ Masterton nominee added two assists.   The Isles have won 3 straight games at the Coliseum for the first time this season and have a season-high five-game point streak (4-0-1). 

The Scoring:

1st Period
01:50 FLA SHG - Quinton Howden (4) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE     1 - 0 FLA   
02:35 NYI PPG - Travis Hamonic (3) Slapshot - ASST: Josh Bailey (24)     1 - 1 Tie   

2nd Period
11:18 NYI Josh Bailey (7) Tip-in - ASST: Colin McDonald (9), Ryan Strome (9)     2 - 1 NYI   
17:36 NYI Matt Martin (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Colin McDonald (10)     3 - 1 NYI   

3rd Period
04:21 NYI Mike Halmo (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Casey Cizikas (9)     4 - 1 NYI   
19:54 FLA PPG - Brandon Pirri (11) Wrist shot -: Brian Campbell (28), Dmitry Kulikov (11) 4 - 2 NYI

The Skinny: 
Mike Halmo became the 340th player in Islander history to score a goal….Josh Bailey, playing in his 399th NHL game, extended his career-best assist total; he now has 24…Playing without John Tavares, the Isles are 8-5-2 since the Olympic break…The Panthers’ late power play goal was their first in nine games…The Isles improve to 13-6-6 when leading after two periods (Florida is 14-0-1 when leading after two periods)…Jonathan Racine made his NHL debut for Florida and was penalized on his first shift…. In their last four games, Matt Martin is 3-1-4. Colin McDonald is 2-3-5 and Ryan Strome is 1-3-4….Martin is the second Islander to win the Bobby Nystrom Award three times, and the first to do so in consecutive seasons; Claude Lapointe is the other three-time winner…The Isles improve to 17-9-4 with Strome in the lineup…Florida scored on their first and last shots, but not on their other 20 shots.
The Shots:
Isles       11-17-12=40       
Florida      5-8-9=22

It’s the 8th time this season that the Isles have recorded at least 40 shots in a game, but the first time since January 20th against Philadelphia.

The Young Get Younger
The Isles dressed ten rookies for the third straight: Kevin Czuczman, Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan, Mike Halmo, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Anders Nilsson, Ryan Strome, Johan Sundstrom, and John Persson. 

The average age of the 20 players the Isles dressed tonight was 25.33 years.  If you exclude the goaltenders, the average age drops to 24.66 years.  Matt Carkner was the only Islander over 30 (he is 33 ½).  None of the other Isles have turned 30 (Frans Nielsen will do so later this month).

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Islanders have dressed 11 rookies for only one game in their history, and it was played exactly 41 years ago: April 1, 1973 in Atlanta (the final game of the first season in Islander history).

Home and Road
The Islanders are 30-35-10 overall, 13-18-8 at home (including 0-1-0 at Yankee Stadium) and 17-17-2 on the road. The Isles are 6-2-1 in their last 9 games.

Over the last two seasons, the Isles are 23-29-11 (57 points in 63 games) at home and 31-23-6 (68 points in 60 games) on the road.

Florida is 27-42-8 overall; they are 14-17-5 at home and 13-25-3 on the road. The Panthers, who dropped eight points behind the Isles in the overall standings, will play their final five games at home.

By Division
The Isles are 9-15-3 in Division games and are 21-20-7 in games against other divisions. They are 10-6-4 vs. the Atlantic Division, 7-6-1 vs. Central Division, and 4-8-2 vs. the Pacific Division.

The Isles do not have a winning record against every division opponent. They are 1-3-0 against Carolina, 1-1-1 (with one to play) against Columbus, 2-2-0 (with one to play) against New Jersey, 2-3-0 against New York, 1-3-0 against Philadelphia, 1-2-1 against Pittsburgh., and 1-1-1 against Washington (with one to play).

This was the fifth of 12 consecutive games against Eastern Conference opponents to end the regular season.  The Isles have started this stretch 4-0-1.

In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov made 20 saves as he improves to 14-14-7 on the season. Nabokov, who recorded his 349th career victory, is 7-3-1 in his career against Florida.
Scott Clemmensen made 36 saves for Florida; he is 6-7-1 on the season.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 1-4 on the power play while Florida was 1-3. 

The Isles are 17-8-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 13-27-6 when they do not.  The Isles are 13-19-4 when they allow at least one power play goal and 17-16-6 when they do not. 

The Isles are 10-87 in the last 23 games on the power play and have allowed 13 power play goals in 55 times short over the last 14 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 14-112 in their last 30 games.

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 25-10-3 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 5-25-7 when they do not. 

Comeback Kids
The Isles are 14-9-7 when they score first and are 16-26-3 when they allow the opening goal.  The Isles have allowed the first goal in 26 of their last 37 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 (270) and wins (114).

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.    Al Arbour 1,500
2.    Jack Capuano 270
3.    Mike Milbury 191
4.    Terry Simpson 187
5.    Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.    Al Arbour 740
2.    Jack Capuano 114
3.    Terry Simpson 81
4.    Peter Laviolette 77
5.    Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
Ryan Strome: “You always look at your surroundings and you're thankful for where you are and how hard you worked and how much you wanted to be here.”
Matt Martin, on Strome "Basically when you're out there with him it's, 'Go get the puck and give it to him and allow him to create offense.' That's what he's so good at."

They Tweeted It

@optimus_crab only game i got to go to all season and you guys killed it. thank you.
@Sean6899 In other news the Islanders just locked up that second round pick with Montreal clinching tonight.
@Cubby621 congrats @mhalmz on your first @NHL goal. @NYIslanders fans are proud #congratulations #isles #mikehalmo #firstgoal

The Coach
"I thought we regrouped after the first period. We got on the body, got pucks to the net and got it done."

The Isles are now 7-8-1 in the front-end and 6-7-2 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.  The Isles have swept three back-to-backs:  November 1st/2nd vs. Ottawa and Boston; January 6th/7th vs. Dallas and Toronto and January 20th/21st vs. Philadelphia and the Rangers.

In the 15 previous sets of back-to-backs, they have earned 4 points three times, 3 points once, 2 points five times, 1 point twice and no points on four occasions. 

This back to back set concludes on Wednesday at Ottawa. Six of the Isles’ final eight games will be played as part of three back-to-back sets.

Leading Ice Men
Travis Hamonic led the Isles with 24:44 of ice-time while Dmitry Kulikov led Florida with 26:30.
The Isles are 15-17-6 when MacDonald leads in ice-time, are 14-13-4 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 29 of 58 draws (50%). Casey Cizikas won 8 of 10 for the Isles; Nick Bjugstad won 7 of 10 for Florida.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit Florida 31-17, which included a 25-12 margin in the second and third periods; Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with 7 hits while Anders Lee and Matt Martin each added four hits. Martin now has 327 hits on the season and leads the NHL in hits by a wide margin; it is the second time in his career that he has recorded 300 hits. Clutterbuck now has 251 hits this season.

Matt Carkner fought Erik Gudbranson in the first period and Krys Barch in the second period. The Isles have received 32 fighting penalties this season: Martin (10), Boulton (8), Carkner (8), McDonald (2), Hamonic (2), Halmo (1) and Okposo (1).

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 19 blocked shots, including a team-high four blocks for Travis Hamonic.

All-time Winners
The Islanders go four games over all-time NHL .500 (1401-1397-449 in 3,247 games) with six 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 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.

Thomas Hickey is the Islanders’ reigning ironman.  He has played 76 consecutive regular season games, and is the only Islander to have played in every game this season. 

Missing Men
John Tavares is on injured reserve. Michael Grabner (concussion), Eric Boulton (hand), Brian Strait (broken hand), and Lubomir Visnovsky (upper body injury) are also injured. Kyle Okposo missed his third straight game with a lower body injury. Radek Martinek was scratched.

The Isles have lost 201 games this season due to injury. 

Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 687
2. Roberto Luongo 371
3. Evgeni Nabokov 349
4. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Wins
17. Rogie Vachon 355
18. Evgeni Nabokov 349
19. Gump Worsley 335
20. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Shutouts, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 124
2. Roberto Luongo 66
3. Evgeni Nabokov 58
4. Tomas Vokoun 51
5. Henrik Lundqvist 50

Career Shutouts
16 Turk Broda 62
17 John Ross Roach 58
17 Evgeni Nabokov 58
19 Clint Benedict       57

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    Tomas Jonsson    84
37    Frans Nielsen    83
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    Jean Potvin    167
22    Jeff Norton    166
23    Frans Nielsen    165
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     440
31    Jason Blake      426

34    Wayne Merrick  411
35    Jean Potvin    402
36    Josh Bailey     399
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    David Volek    249
26    Frans Nielsen     248
27    Ray Ferraro    238

Season Series Stats
The Panthers win season series, 2 games to 1 (and four points to two).
The Isles are 5-2-0 in their last seven games against Florida.

Happy Anniversary
36 years ago tonight (4-1-78):  Mike Bossy becomes the first NHL rookie to score 50 goals in a season, tying a game with the Washington Capitals with a power play goal at 11:12 of the third period.  He would then score the winning goal with 5 seconds to play as the Islanders closed in on their first division championship.

Also on this date: 1973 – Bobby Nystrom scored his first NHL goal as the Isles rally to tie Atlanta 4-4 in the final game of their inaugural season.

All-time, the Isles are 8-6-8 on this date.

On The Farm
Bridgeport lost to Springfield this morning in a school day matinee by a 3-1 score. Bridgeport visits Wilkes Barre/Scranton on Friday.
Bridgeport is 1-10-1-1 in their last 13 games and 27-34-2-5 on the season.

Up Next
[MSG-Plus (Isles Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]
It’s been a looooong time since the Islanders faced Ottawa.

The Isles have played 62 games since defeating the Senators 5-4 in a shootout back on November 1st.  The Isles had 57 shots on goal, a franchise record for a road game, as they twice erased two-goal Senator leads.

This is the second of three meetings between the squads, who will also face off in the Islanders’ home finale on April 8th.

The Islanders have won two out of the last three against Ottawa but each of the last four Isles wins over Ottawa have come in either overtime or the shootout, leaving the Sens 5-0-4 in their last nine games against the Isles. 

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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