Islanders 4, Penguins 1
Evgeni Nabokov came within 69 seconds of his 53rd career shutout and the Isles got goals from four different players to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 before a sellout crowd of 18,657 at CONSOL Energy Center. It’s the first time since 2002 that the Isles have won consecutive games in The Steel City. The Isles are now 2-1-1 on this five-game road trip and sit alone in second place in the Atlantic Division, while Pittsburgh is winless at home (0-2-0).
16:01NYIC. Cizikas (1) Wrap-around - ASST: NONE 1 - 0 NYI
06:46NYIM. Grabner (4) Snap - ASST: M. Streit (2) AND M. Reasoner (1) 2 - 0 NYI
15:22NYIPPG - J. Tavares (2) Snap - ASST: M. Moulson (3) AND F. Nielsen (4) 3 - 0 NYI
17:15NYIPPG - M. Moulson (4) Wrist - ASST: B. Boyes (3) AND F. Nielsen (5) 4 - 0 NYI
18:51PITP. Dupuis (2) Backhand - ASST: C. Kunitz (3) AND S. Crosby (3) 4 - 1 NYI
The Skinny: The Isles are only the second team in the Eastern Conference to reach 20 goals … Cizikas’ goal was his first NHL goal … Pittsburgh had scored first in every game prior to this one, allowing only one first-period goal … The Pens have been outscored 11-2 in the second period this season ... John Tavares has goals in consecutive games for the first time since last March …The Isles dominated the special teams, going 2-2 on the power play and killing nine minutes of Penguin power plays …Travis Hamonic, who suffered an ankle injury in Winnipeg on Sunday, played over 25 minutes just 48 hours later …The Isles are above .500 thru six games for only the second time in the last eight seasons (3-1-2 in 2010-11)…Sidney Crosby assisted on the Penguins goal, giving him 67 points (20-47-67) in 37 games against the Islanders … Frans Nielsen had his second multi-assist game of the season, and the fifth overall for the Islanders, with John Tavares owning three… Reasoner’s assist was his first since December 15, 2011.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 3-2-1 overall, 1-1-0 at home and 2-1-1 on the road. The Isles have earned at least a point in four of the last five games (3-1-1).
Pittsburgh is 3-3-0 overall, 0-2-0 at home and 3-1-0 on the road.
In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov made 37 saves; he is 3-1-1 on the season. Nabokov is 10-2-0 in his career against the Penguins.
Marc Andre-Fleury played the first two periods, stopping 13 shots. He has allowed 13 goals over seven periods in his last three games vs. the Isles. Tomas Vokoun stopped seven shots in the third period.
The Islanders went 2-2 on the power play while Pittsburgh was 0-3. The Isles had only 1:50 of PP time while Pittsburgh had 9:00. It’s the first time since January 3, 2012 (2-2 vs. Carolina) that the Islanders have converted multiple power plays without a failure.
Special Special Teams
The Islanders are 6-20 on the power play (30.0%) and 19-20 on the penalty kill (95.0%). It’s the first time in over 25 years that the Islanders have allowed only one power play goal in the first six games.
They Said It
NBCSN’s Brian Engblom on Michael Grabner: “That guy’s fast even when he’s gliding.”
They Tweeted It
@thelnino25: @zeeker11 congrats to your first NHL goal ! Well deserved ! #greatguy
@emptynetters: About as down and terse of a Bylsma post-game presser as I've ever seen.
"We had a total team effort. I thought we worked hard. I'm sure nobody gave us much of a chance against a really good hockey team, but you know what, I thought systematically we were a little more structured."
This was the fourth game of a five-game road trip. The Islanders are 2-1-1 on the trip, and will play Thursday in New Jersey before returning to the Coliseum on Super Bowl Sunday. The Islanders will also play five consecutive road games to end the regular season.
Long Streaks Continue
The Penguins have not been shutout at home since March 12, 2011 but that pales in comparison to their streak vs. the Islanders. The Islanders came within 69 seconds of blanking the Penguins for the first time since January 9, 1986 and for the first time in Pittsburgh since February 2, 1985. That 1985 shutout is the Islanders’ only regular season shutout win ever in Pittsburgh (113 games); the teams played a scoreless tie in Pittsburgh in 1980. The Islanders also own a playoff shutout in Pittsburgh: Game 7 in 1975 (Chico Resch).
Pittsburgh has sold-out 256 consecutive games at home, including every game in the history of the CONSOL Energy Center.
First Times in a Long Time
The Islanders have scored 21 goals in the last five games (4.2 goals per game); it’s the most goals that they have scored in any five-game period since scoring 21 in a five-game stretch in February 2011.
The Isles have scored 22 goals in the first six games this season (3.67 goals per game); it’s the most goals that have scored thru six games since they tallied 26 in the first six games in October 2001.
It’s the Islanders first win by at least three goals in Pittsburgh since December 31, 2003 (6-1).
Too Early for the P Word?
This is the 16th time in Islanders history that they have scored at least 22 goals in the first six games. They made the playoffs in 14 of the other 15 seasons.
Head of the Class
John Tavares has 210 career points; he is 55 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.
Friends, Friends, Friends
Matt Moulson has four goals this season; John Tavares has earned an assist on two of them. Tavares has now been on-ice for 64 consecutive Moulson goals, earning assists on 42 of them, dating back to a Moulson goal on November 17, 2010 against Tampa Bay.
107 NHL Goals
Moulson has 107 career goals (101 as an Islander). While 262 players were selected before the Penguins chose Moulson in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, only 17 have more goals.
Moulson now has four goals in the last four games, all on the road. Scoring on the road is nothing new for Moulson; 23 of his 36 goals last season also came away from home. Only Steven Stamkos (24) had more.
Leading Ice Men
Andrew MacDonald led the Isles with 26:12; Kris Letang led Pittsburgh with 23:46.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 31 draws; the Penguins won 41. Marty Reasoner won 9-of-15 for the Isles; Evgeni Malkin won 8-of-13 for Pittsburgh.
The Islanders were out-hit 20-14. Matt Martin and Colin McDonald each had five to lead the Islanders. There were no fights, leaving the Isles’ season total at three. However, Colin McDonald was ejected after drawing a major boarding penalty late in the second period.
The Islanders improve to three games over .500 all-time (1350-1347-433 in 3130 games). The Isles twice last season fell one game below .500. Before that, they had not been below .500 since they were 177-178-83 prior to their victory on January 16, 1978.
Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 252 games since joining the team. Moulson’s streak is the longest for an Islander in the Post-Cup era and the fourth-longest in club history. Billy Harris played in the first 576 games in Islanders history; that figure still stands as the club record.
Three other Islanders (Frans Nielsen, John Tavares and Mark Streit) also played in every game last season. Tavares extended his streak to 165 consecutive games, while Nielsen and Streit have each played in 88.
Longest Consecutive Game Streaks, Islanders History
1. Billy Harris 576
2. Bob Nystrom 301
3. Denis Potvin 262
4. Matt Moulson 252
Here's a number that Howie Rose likes to refer to from time-to-time. Casey Cizikas is the third player to score his first goal as an Islander this season, joining Brad Boyes and Keith Aucoin. 324 players in Islander history have now scored a goal.
Casey Cizikas replaced Eric Boulton. Radek Martinek took the warm-up in case Travis Hamonic could not play but ended by a scratch as did Joe Finley. Josh Bailey and Jesse Joensuu remain suspended after suffering injuries in Europe. Lubomir Visnovsky has not yet reported.
Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 659
2. Roberto Luongo 340
3. Nikolai Khabibulin 328
4. Evgeni Nabokov 315
5. Miikka Kiprusoff 312
21. Sean Burke 324
22. Evgeni Nabokov 315
23. Miikka Kiprusoff 312
Career Goals as an Islander
22Benoit Hogue 105
22Ed Westfall 105
24Matt Moulson 101
24Anders Kallur 101
26Trent Hunter 99
27Mikko Makela 95
27David Volek 95
32Travis Green 92
33Butch Goring 87
34John Tavares 86
35Tomas Jonsson 84
36Wayne Merrick 81
36Dave Scatchard 81
Career Assists as an Islander – active players
4Kyle Okposo 95
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
49Eric Cairns 327
50Alan Kerr 326
51Frans Nielsen 325
52Brad Dalgarno 321
59Arron Asham 300
59Roman Hamrlik 300
61Josh Bailey 292
62Gord Dineen 287
63Jeff Norton 282
64Kyle Okposo 277
66Blake Comeau 261
66Andre St. Laurent 261
70Pierre Turgeon 255
71Matt Moulson 252
72Jude Drouin 250
73John Tavares 249
74Brad Isbister 247
74Brendan Witt 247
76Sean Bergenheim 246
77Mark Streit 244
78Miroslav Satan 243
Career Points as an Islander
35John Tavares 210
41Matt Moulson 177
42Frans Nielsen 172
50Kyle Okposo 164
Season Series Stats
The Islanders lead the season series 1-0-0 and two points to none. The Isles have won three straight over the Penguins for the first time since 2007. The teams will also meet on February 5 and March 22 at the Coliseum, and March 10 and March 30 in Pittsburgh.
13 years ago today (1-29-00): Mathieu Biron scores the winning goal in overtime as the Islanders defeat San Jose on the road 3-2. It’s the second straight win for Roberto Luongo—the only time he won consecutive games as an Islander. (Evgeni Nabokov gave up two early goals in that game and was replaced by Steve Shields for San Jose)
All-time, the Isles are 7-4-4 on this date, even though they have never won at home (0-3-3). With tonight’s win, the Isles are 7-1-1 on the road on this date.
On The Farm
Nino Niederreiter and Matt Donovan represented the Sound Tigers at this weekend’s AHL All-Star Break. Niederreiter recorded an assist in the All Star Game while Donovan blistered a shot at over 98 mph in the Skills Competition. Bridgeport is 19-19-2-2 and resumes play Thursday against Providence.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 31 ISLANDERS AT NEW JERSEY 7:00PM
[MSG+2 (Pre-game show at 6:30PM), WRHU (88.7FM)]
The road trip concludes on Thursday night in New Jersey with the second of five meetings this season between the Isles and the Devils. The Devils won on Opening Night by a 2-1 score and have not been beaten in regulation time this season (3-0-2).
The Isles, who have scored 21 goals in five games since their Opening Night loss, have scored exactly one goal in each of the last five games against the Devils (1-4-0).
And oh, did I mention that an Islander regulation win would give them sole possession of first place in the Atlantic? I just did.
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.