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The Skinny - Islanders 4, Sabres 2

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders

Game 42

Isles 4, Sabres 2

Michael Grabner scored the winning goal with 3:03 to play and later added an empty net goal while Evgeni Nabakov stopped 23 shots for his 300th career victory as the Islanders defeated Buffalo in front of 13,848 on Pat Flatley Night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  The Sabres had a chance to tie with 1:24 to play but Thomas Vanek hit the goalpost on a penalty shot.

The Scoring:
1st Period
13:10 NYI Matt Moulson (21) - ASST: J. Tavares (26) AND T. Hamonic (10)

2nd Period
14:48 BUF Patrick Kaleta (3) - ASST: M. Weber (1)
16:16 NYI Kyle Okposo (11) - ASST: M. Moulson (18) AND S. Staios (6)
16:58 BUF Derek Roy (9) - ASST: N. Gerbe (11)

3rd Period
16:57 NYI Michael Grabner (12) - ASST: P. Parenteau (29) AND M. Streit (21)
19:30 NYI EN - Michael Grabner (13) - ASST: J. Tavares (27) AND P. Parenteau (30)

The Skinny: 
Michael Grabner recorded his first multi-goal game of the season.  Matt Moulson opened the scoring for a league-high 8th time. John Tavares extended his point streak to a career-high eight games. Tavares has three goals and twelve assists in those eight games (including five multi-point games). Tavares also matched his career-high +4 rating.  PA Parenteau assisted on both Grabner goals, extending his assist/point streak to four games.  Okposo has scored five goals in the last six games and has scored all 11 of his goals in the last 24 games.

The Shots
The Islanders outshot the Sabres 14-9 in the first period, 13-6 in the second period and 13-10 in he third period for a total of 40-25. The 40 shots were the most the Isles have had in a home game this season. The Sabres did not have a single shot in the first 11:24 of the second period.  It was the second straight game and fourth game this season that the Islanders had at least a ten shot advantage (3-1-0).

Home and Road
The Islanders are 16-20-6 overall and are 10-10-3 at home.  The Isles are 4-1-0 in the last five on home ice after going 3-8-3 in their prior 14 at home. 
The Sabres are 19-20-5 overall and 8-11-0 on the road.  Buffalo has now dropped eight straight on the road; it’s the first time in club history that they have gone pointless in eight straight road games.

In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov, in his 11th straight start, made 23 saves and improves to 7-11-0 on the season.  Nabokov is the first Islander to start 11 straight games since Joey MacDonald started 17 straight in 2008-09.  Nabokov is 4-3-2 in his career against Buffalo.
Jonas Enroth made 36 saves for Buffalo and drops to 8-8-3.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 0-2 on the power play; the Sabres were 0-1.  The Isles, who entered the game 6th in the league with the extra man, are 9-29 on the power play over the last ten games after going just 1-22 in the previous seven games.  The Isles are also 6-19 in the last seven games on the power play.

The Isles have killed 21-22 over the last nine games and 25-27 (92.6%) over the last 13 games.

Another Unsuccessful Penalty Shot
A penalty shot was awarded for the second consecutive game. The officials ruled Mark Streit knocked the nets off the pegs within the final two minutes of the game. Nabokov stopped Thomas Vanek, and it was the second time this season that Nabokov was succesful in stopping a penalty shot (Tomas Kopecky of Florida on 10/22/11).  There have been six penalty shots in Islander games this season - three for the Islanders and three against - and no goals have been scored. In games not involving the Islanders, shooters are 17-35 this season. Islander goalies have stopped 34 of 48 attempts all-time, including the last six. 

The Sabres have had three penalty shots against the Islanders all-time (Miroslav Satan and Clark MacArthur had the others) and have not scored.

300 Club
Evgeni Nabokov became the 26th goalie in NHL history to reach 300 career wins. Among current NHL goalies, only Martin Brodeur, Nikolai Khabibulin and Roberto Luongo have more career wins.  He is one win behind Mike Richter (301) on the all-time list.

They Said It
Nabakov: “I’m enjoying the guys here and I want to keep working toward the playoffs. We still have 40 games left.”

They Tweeted It
@palffynyi16 Numerology - On the night the #isles (honor) #26 Nabakov becomes the 26th goalie with 300 wins and #26 @MMoulson scored 1st goal #26trifecta

The Coach
“He’s proven to be top goalie for a long time and he’s been great for us this season. He made some big saves. Winning 300 games is an honor well deserved.”

Nabokov changed the answer to this week's IslesTNT trivia question -- look for it each week on Twitter/Facebook.  The revised question: Of the 26 NHL goalies who have won 300, five played part of their career for the Isles.  Who are they?

A: Chris Osgood  (401 -- 49 with Isles)
    John Vanbiesbrouck (374 -- 10 with Isles), 
    Roberto Luongo (325 -- 7 with Isles),
    Billy Smith (305 -- 304 with Isles)
    and now Evgeni Nabokov (300 -- 7 with Isles)

Leading Ice Men
Andrew MacDonald led the Isles with 27:19; With the Sabres battling injuries on the back line, Tyler Myers led all players with a career-high 30:36.

Defense Adds Offense
A different Islander defenseman earned an assist on each of the first three goals.  Islander defensemen have recorded eight assists in the last three games (and 11 assists in the last six games).

In the Circle
The Islanders won 28 draws; Buffalo won 19. Frans Nielsen won 10 of 14 and John Tavares won 10 of 15.

Heavy Hitters
The Islanders out-hit Buffalo 23-19.  Travis Hamonic had four hits while NHL hit leader Matt Martin added three hits.  Martin leads the NHL with 185 hits.

Hamonic’s Week
Travis Hamonic continues his strong play and was +3 for the second time this week.  He was +8 in the three games this week (a week in which the Isles scored ten goals, excluding a power play tally) and is +12 in the last five games on Coliseum ice. Hamonic has been on ice for each of the last nine Islander goals.

Third Periods
The Isles outscored the Sabres 2-0 in the third period; the Isles have been outscored 48-29 overall in the third period (38-25 excluding empty nets). In the first two periods, the Isles have been outscored 77-70. 

27 to Go
The Isles have scored 9,973 goals in their history (excluding 42 shootout winners), leaving the club 27 shy of 10,000.

Over .500
The Islanders go back over all-time NHL .500 (1329-1328-427 in 3,084 games).  The Isles have twice this season been one game below .500. Prior to this season, they had not been below NHL .500 since they were 177-178-83 prior to their victory on January 16, 1978.

The Isles have scored 30 goals over the last 21 games (11-8-2) after scoring only 15 in the previous nine games (1-6-2).  The Isles have scored 53 goals in their 15 wins (3.57 per game) and 42 goals in their other 26 games (0-20-6; 1.62 per game).  In their 20 regulation losses, the Isles have scored 26 goals (1.30 per game).

Head of the Class
John Tavares had two assists, giving him 15 points over the last eight games.  He now has 163 career points; he is 17 points ahead of Matt Duchene for most among 2009 draft picks.  No other player in that draft is anywhere close. (Duchene suffered a knee injury in late December and is expected to miss the next month.)   Tavares’ 8-game point streak is the longest by an Islander since Trent Hunter had a nine-game streak (4-5-9) in November, 2009.

Friends, Friends, Friends
Moulson has 21 goals this season; John Tavares has earned assists on 14 of them.  He has now been on-ice for 45 consecutive Moulson goals, earning assists on 30 of them, dating back to a Moulson goal on November 17, 2010 against Tampa. 

MOT-ley Crew?
Since being put together eight games ago, Matt Moulson is 5-6-11, Kyle Okposo is 5-3-8, and John Tavares is 4-11-15. 

Missing Men
Al Montoya (concussion), Marty Reasoner (broken thumb) and Dylan Reese (healthy) were scratched.  Mike Mottau, Rick DiPietro, and Mark Katic are on injured reserve.  The Isles have lost 210 man-games to injury so far this season.  Kevin Poulin dressed as the back-up to Nabokov.

20-20-20, 30-30-30?
Matt Moulson is the first Islander since Jason Blake (4 seasons: 2002-03 to 2006-07) to have at least three consecutive 20-goal seasons. He is nine goals away from a third consecutive 30-goal season; no Islander since Ziggy Palffy has accomplished that feat.  Moulson has 82 goals as an Islander – the most by any Islander since the lockout.

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 206 games since joining the team. Moulson’s streak is the longest for an Islander since Richard Park played in 221 games from October 2006- February 2009.  Travis Hamonic has now played 104 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

Century Club
Hamonic is only the 8th defensemen in Islander history to play in 100 consecutive games and the first since Janne Niinimaa.
•    Denis Potvin 11/29/1975-1/17/1979  262
•    Bryan McCabe 10/7/95-2/4/98 220
•    Gerry Hart 3/1/75-11/22/77 198
•    Janne Niinimaa 3/13/2004-1/7/2006 136
•    Ken Morrow 3/1/1980-12/29/1981 134
•    Jean Potvin 10/23/75-1/2/77 110
•    Kenny Jonsson 12/26/96-2/4/98 104
•    Travis Hamonic 11/24/10 – CURRENT 104
Like Hamonic, McCabe and Morrow’s streaks came at the start of their NHL careers.  Niinimaa’s streak included the only 136 games he played as an Islander.

List Time
Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 638
2. Nikolai Khabibulin 327
3. Roberto Luongo 326
4. Evgeni Nabokov  300
5. Miikka Kiprusoff 296

Career Goals, Active Players
13. Patrik Elias 350
14. Brian Rolston 339
15. Dany Heatley 338

Most First Goals of Game (NHL This Season)
1    Matt Moulson     8
2    Evander Kane     7
2    Loui Eriksson    7

Career Goals as an Islander
32    Butch Goring     87
33    Tomas Jonsson     84
34    Matt Moulson     82
35    Wayne Merrick     81
35    Dave Scatchard     81
42    Alan Kerr     69
43    John Tavares     68
44    Brad Isbister     67

Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
61    Jeff Norton     282
62    Frans Nielsen     279
63    Steve Thomas     275
68    Pierre Turgeon     255
69    Josh Bailey     253
70    Jude Drouin    250
89    Paul Boutilier     211
90    Gary Nylund     209
91    Matt Moulson     206
92    Tom Fitzgerald     205
93    John Tavares     203
94    Billy Carroll     200
95    Ralph Stewart     199
96    Mark Streit     198
97    Tom Kurvers     192
97    Todd Bertuzzi     192

Career Points as an Islander
46    Miroslav Satan     166
47    John Tavares     163
48    Oleg Kvasha     156
51    Michael Peca     142
52    Dave Lewis    141
53    Robert Reichel     140
53    Frans Nielsen     140
53    Matt Moulson     140
56    Bryan Smolinski     139
57    Kyle Okposo     137
Season Series Stats
The Isles lead the season series two games to none (four points to none). The Isles have won the last three meetings and are 6-1-0 in the last seven against Buffalo.  The Sabres will be back at the Coliseum on February 4th and will entertain the Islanders on February 21st.

Happy Anniversary
24 years ago tonight (1-14-88):  Denis Potvin became the first defensemen in NHL history to record his 300th goal, beating Ron Tugnutt as part of an 8-5 win over the Nordiques at the Coliseum. 

Overall, the Isles are 7-5-2 on this date, having played on January 14th only once in the last 14 years.

On The Farm
Bridgeport is RED HOT.  The Sound Tigers have won six straight and improved to 18-17-3-1 with a 3-2 win over Providence on Saturday.  David Ullstrom scored for the second straight game as Anders Nilsson won for the second straight night.  The Sound Tigers host Binghamton on Sunday afternoon.

Up Next
[MSG+ (Islanders Game Night at 12:30pm), WRHU (88.7FM)]
The Islanders conclude their four-game homestand as they host the Predators in the only meeting of the teams this season.  This is the Predators’ 13th season in the NHL but they will visit the Coliseum for only the seventh time.  The teams have split six games on Coliseum ice, including a split of shootouts in their last two Long Island meetings.  The Preds blanked the Isles 5-0 last season in Nashville.

Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since January 21, 1982. Information contained in “The Skinny” has been gathered from various sources.  Follow Eric @ehornick on Twitter.

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