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The Skinny: Islanders 4, Sabres 1

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
“The Skinny” 

Game 69
Isles 4, Buffalo 1

Kyle Okposo scored a goal and added an assist, and Lubomir Visnovsky tied a career-high with three assists as the Islanders recorded their first regulation time victory on Coliseum ice since January 6th as they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 before a crowd of 14,388 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  The Isles improve to 2-8-1 in their last 11 home games (including 2-7-1 in their last ten games at the Coliseum).

The Scoring:

1st Period
03:31 NYI Frans Nielsen (22) Slapshot - ASST: Anders Lee (4), Kyle Okposo (42)     1 - 0 NYI   
17:24 NYI PPG - Kyle Okposo (27) Snap shot - Brock Nelson (12), Lubomir Visnovsky (6) 2 - 0 NYI   

2nd Period

3rd Period
00:56 BUF PPG - Tyler Ennis (18) Wrap-around - Drew Stafford (16), Christian Ehrhoff (24) 2 - 1 NYI   
01:35 NYI Ryan Strome (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Matt Martin (5), Lubomir Visnovsky (7)     3 - 1 NYI   
17:47 NYI EN - Cal Clutterbuck (9) Backhand - Lubomir Visnovsky (8), Thomas Hickey (15) 4 - 1 NYI

The Skinny: 
Kyle Okposo had his third consecutive multi-point game and extended his point streak to four games. Kyle now has a team-leading 69 points on the season (which is 4th in the NHL) and 99 career goals…It was Lubomir Visnovsky’s first three-assist game in over 7 years (3-12-2007 for Los Angeles vs. Edmonton) and the first for any Islander defender since Mark Streit had three helpers vs. Detroit on January 10, 2012....Anders Lee was held without a goal but improves to 4-4-8 in his last six games; he has recorded at least one point in 8 of 11 career games…Frans Nielsen’s goal was his 22nd goal of the season; he is now 22-27-49 on the season with both his goals and points representing new career highs.
The Shots:

Isles     10-14-14=38
Sabres 14-10-10=34

The Isles have been outshot only twice in the last 13 games.

Home and Road
The Islanders are 26-34-9 overall, 10-17-8 at home (including 0-1-0 at Yankee Stadium) and 16-17-1 on the road. The Isles are 5-10-2 in their last 17 games.

Buffalo is 19-40-8 overall; they are 12-19-5 at home and 7-21-3 on the road. The Sabres have lost 5 straight games and have been outscored 16-5 in that stretch.

By Division
The Isles are 6-15-3 in Division games and are 20-19-6 in games against other divisions. They are 9-6-3 vs. the Atlantic Division, 7-5-1 vs. Central Division, and 4-8-2 vs. the Pacific Division.

The Isles have losing records against every division opponent except Washington (1-1-1 with one to play).  They are 0-3-0 against Carolina, 0-1-1 against Columbus, 1-2-0 against New Jersey, 2-3-0 against New York, 1-3-0 against Philadelphia, and 1-2-1 against Pittsburgh.

This was the seventh of eight consecutive games against non-divisional opponents. The Isles are 3-3-1 in this stretch.

In the Nets
Anders Nilsson made 33 saves to improve to 3-4-2 on the season.

Jhonas Enroth made 34 saves for Buffalo but falls to 4-16-5 on the season.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 1-3 on the power play while Buffalo was 1-6. 

The Isles are 15-8-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 11-26-5 when they do not.  The Isles are 11-18-4 when they allow at least one power play goal and 15-16-5 when they do not. 

The Isles were 8-68 in the last 17 games on the power play and have allowed nine power play goals in 33 times short over the last eight 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 12-93 in their last 24 games.

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 23-10-3 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 3-24-6 when they do not. 

Comeback Kids
The Isles are 11-9-7 when they score first and are 15-25-2 when they allow the opening goal.  The Isles have allowed the first goal in 23 of their last 31 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 (264) and wins (110).

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.    Al Arbour 1,500
2.    Jack Capuano 264
3.    Mike Milbury 191
4.    Terry Simpson 187
5.    Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.    Al Arbour 740
2.    Jack Capuano 110
3.    Terry Simpson 81
4.    Peter Laviolette 77
5.    Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
Frans Nielsen: "It was solid work from the whole team. I liked our game without the puck. We were solid in front of Anders; he took care of the first shot and we cleaned up after that."

They Tweeted It
@moses_awale11 Team USA owes Kyle Okposo an apology cause the man has been on a mission 4th in the NHL in scoring
@Longislandskies Finally seeing a win on the home front!!!! #isles #hockey #nhl #springbreak

The Coach
On Kyle Okposo: A couple years ago, you guys (the media) weren't talking about him, the fans were down on him. Now they chant, "USA! USA!"

The Isles are now 6-8-1 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 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. 

The Isles’ next back-to-back set is on April 1st against Florida and April 2nd 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 27:06 of ice-time; Christian Ehrhoff led Buffalo with 25:43.

The Isles are 15-17-6 when MacDonald leads in ice-time, are 11-12-3 when Hamonic 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 39 of 73 draws (53%). Kyle Okposo won 7 of 9 and Ryan Strome won 9 of 14 for the Isles; Brian Flynn won 11 of 16 for Buffalo.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit Buffalo 32-18; Colin McDonald and Calvin de Haan led the Isles with six hits each. Matt Martin had 2 hits; his 299 hits lead the NHL by a wide margin.  He had now recorded at least 200 hits in four straight seasons. 

Matt Carkner fought John Scott in the first period. The Isles have received 29 fighting penalties this season: Martin (10), Boulton (8), Carkner (6), McDonald (2), Hamonic (2) and Okposo (1).

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 19 blocked shots.  Brian Strait led the way with four blocks, all of which occurred in the first period.

The Race to 1,400?
The Islanders improve to one game over all-time NHL .500 (1397-1396-448 in 3,241 games). 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 70 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 missed his second straight game with a concussion; Eric Boulton missed his 5th straight game while Radek Martinek was scratched for 15th straight game. Newly-signed Kevin Czuczman was scratched for the second straight game. Matt Carkner replaced Matt Donovan in the lineup.

The Isles have lost 168 games this season due to injury. 

Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 686
2. Roberto Luongo 369
3. Evgeni Nabokov 347
4. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Wins
17. Rogie Vachon 355
18. Evgeni Nabokov 347
19. Gump Worsley 335
20. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Shutouts, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 124
2. Roberto Luongo 67
3. Evgeni Nabokov 57
4. Tomas Vokoun 51

Career Shutouts
17 John Ross Roach 58
18 Clint Benedict       57
18 Evgeni Nabokov 57
20 Bernie Parent       54
20 Ed Giacomin        54

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    Michael Grabner 82
37    Frans Nielsen    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    164
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     434
31    Jason Blake      426

34    Wayne Merrick  411
35    Jean Potvin    402
36    David Volek     396
37    Josh Bailey     393
37    Bert Marshall    392
39    Travis Green     388
40    Kyle Okposo     387
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     245
27    Ray Ferraro    238

Season Series Stats
The season series is even at 1 game to 1 (The Sabres have earned three points to the Isles’ two).

Overall, the Isles are 2-2-3 in their last seven games against Buffalo.

The teams will conclude the regular season with the Islanders’ only visit of the season to Buffalo on April 13th.

Happy Anniversary
35 years ago tonight (3-15-79):  Bryan Trottier had the hat trick as the Isles raked the Leafs 6-2 at the Coliseum.

All-time, the Isles are 8-9-0 on this date.

On The Farm
Bridgeport is 0-5-1-0 in their last six games and 26-29-2-4 on the season after a 4-0 loss to Worcester on Saturday night.  It was Bridgeport’s second consecutive shutout loss, extending their scoreless streak to 170:59.  (h/t Mike Fornabaio)

The 3-game in 3-day weekend concludes with a home game on Sunday at 3pm vs. Adirondack.

Up Next
[MSG-Plus2 (Isles Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]

Matt Moulson, who played 304 games for the Isles over the past five seasons, returns to the Coliseum for the first time on Tuesday as the Islanders face the Minnesota Wild.  Moulson scored 118 goals and added 105 assists in his Islander career, which ended when he was traded to Buffalo in late October. 

This will be the Wild’s first visit to Long Island since a 2-1 Islander win on Columbus Day, 2011. The Isles have won the last 4 meetings between the teams since a 3-2 Wild win in St. Paul on November 20, 2009.

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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