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The Skinny: Islanders 4, Stars 2

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
“The Skinny”

Game 47
Isles 4, Dallas 2

John Tavares converted a Calvin deHaan pass with 84 seconds to play for the winning goal as the Islanders rallied for a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars before a crowd of 13,765 at American Airlines Center. The Isles have won seven straight on the road for only the second time in franchise history and have won four straight overall for the first time since February 2011.

The Scoring:
1st Period

11:45    DAL Ray Whitney (5) Snap shot - ASST: Alex Chiasson (15), Vernon Fiddler (7)     1 - 0 DAL   
18:12    DAL Sergei Gonchar (1) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE     2 - 0 DAL   

2nd Period
10:47    NYI Kyle Okposo (18) Wrist shot - ASST: Thomas Vanek (23), John Tavares (35)  2 - 1 DAL   

3rd Period
15:44    NYI Kyle Okposo (19) Wrist shot - ASST: Calvin de Haan (4) 2 - 2 Tie   
18:36    NYI John Tavares (21) Wrist shot - ASST: Calvin de Haan (5), Thomas Vanek (24) 3 - 2 NYI   
19:08    NYI EN - Brock Nelson (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Josh Bailey (11)     4 - 2 NYI

The Skinny: 
Okposo’s 19 goals match the second-highest total of his career; he’s on pace for 33, which would smash his career high of 24. . .. Islander rookie Brock Nelson scored his third goal in the last four games to cement the game… The win moves the Isles within seven points of a playoff spot, with 35 games still to play… The Isles have outscored their opponents 15-3 in the third period over the last eight games…Calvin deHaan had no points in first 17 games this season but now has a 4-game point streak (1-5-6)… Dallas’ loss in regulation when leading after 2 periods is their first this season (13-1-2); the Isles record an NHL-leading 6th win when trailing after two periods (6-16-2)….  All 10 points for the Isles (4 goals, 6 assists) came from former 1st round draft picks; all but Vanek’s two assists are from homegrown players…Average age of Dallas goal scorers: 40 years, 8 months….Ray Whitney now has points in 10 of his last 11 against the Isles…Gonchar’s goal was his first in 41 games; he has more assists and points against the Isles than any other active NHL defenseman (17-49-66)… The Isles have won 5 games in January, which matches December’s total.  They won only 4 in October and four in November… Isles have won last 4 games that they trailed 2-0 (@ San Jose, @ Minnesota, Vs Dallas, @ Dallas)… In their last 10 games, the Isles are 8-0-0 in games outside the Metropolitan Division, but have lost the only two division games…Travis Hamonic did not play in the third period for the Isles. 

First Times in a Long Time

Kevin Poulin has won five straight games.  He is the first Islander since Rick DiPietro (February 12-21, 2008; 6 straight) to win at least six straight games.
The Isles have won seven straight games on the road for the first time since a franchise-record 8-game winning streak in 1981.
The Isles have won four straight overall for the first time since February 10-15, 2011.

First Time Ever (From the Geniuses at Elias Sports Bureau)
The Isles have trailed at some point in each of their last five road victories.  It’s the first time the Isles have ever won four or more consecutive road games despite trailing in each game.

Most Points in the Eastern Conference since December 19
1 ISLANDERS 12 games, 18 points   

2 Rangers        12 games, 17 points   
3 Penguins       10 games, 15 points   
(Anaheim - 22 points is the only NHL team with more points in that span)

Seventh Heaven
This is only the second time in franchise history that the Isles have won at least seven straight on the road:
•    8 in 1980-81
•    7 in 2013-14 CURRENT
•    6 in 1980-81, 1981-82, and 2001-02

The 7-game winning streak is the longest road winning streak in the NHL this season:
** 7  NY ISLANDERS Dec 20, 2013 Jan 12, 2014
6 ANAHEIM Dec 6, 2013  Dec 23, 2013
6 CHICAGO Nov 21, 2013 Nov 30, 2013
6 NY RANGERS Oct 26, 2013 Nov 23, 2013
6 DALLAS Nov 3, 2013 Nov 17, 2013
6 COLORADO Oct 8, 2013 Nov 1, 2013

The last NHL team to have a 7-game road winning streak was New Jersey, from January 11- February 21, 2012.

Vancouver won 9 straight on the road in March 2011; they are the last NHL team with a longer road streak.  The NHL record is 12; only six teams in NHL history have ever won 10 straight road games.

The Great 8  (Which Isles will attempt to match Tuesday)

27-Feb-81    @    Vancouver    9    Vancouver    5    1    W
28-Feb-81    @    Los Angeles    9    Los Angeles    2    1    W
11-Mar-81    @    Winnipeg    9    Phoenix    6    3    W
12-Mar-81    @    Edmonton    9    Edmonton    5    0    W
20-Mar-81    @    Colorado    9    New Jersey    5    3    W
22-Mar-81    @    Chicago    9    Chicago    6    2    W
24-Mar-81    @    St. Louis    9    St. Louis    5    3    W
29-Mar-81    @    Washington    9    Washington    5    4    W

3 + 3 = W
New math?  Not exactly.  Thomas Vanek, Kyle Okposo and John Tavares were each +3 tonight.  It’s the 2nd time this season that each of the three players was +3 (November 2 vs Boston).

3 x 3 = Special

This is the third time in a week that John Tavares has gone +3.   No Islander has had a similar stretch since Pat LaFontaine did so from February 14-21, 1988.  It took LaFontaine eight days; Tavares did it in only seven.

The Shots:
Isles      9-9-13=31
Stars     16-6-9=31

Home and Road
The Islanders are 18-22-7 overall, 7-9-7 at home and 11-13-0 on the road.   The Isles have won 4 straight, are 9-3-0 in their last 12 and are 10-4-2 in their last sixteen games overall.
The Stars are 20-18-7 overall; they are 9-8-5 at home and 11-10-2 on the road. The Stars are now 0-6-0 in 2014.

By Division
The Isles are 3-10-3 in Division games and are 15-12-4 in games against other divisions. They are 6-3-3 vs. the Atlantic Division, 6-4-0 vs. Central Division, and 3-5-1 vs. the Pacific Division.
The Isles have won five straight games against Western Conference opponents.  Their six wins against the Central Division matches Tampa Bay and Montreal for the most by an Eastern Conference team.

In the Nets
Kevin Poulin made 29 saves and improves to 9-12-0 on the season.  He has won his last five decisions (for the first time in his NHL career) and is 6-1-0 in his last seven games.  Since replacing the injured Evgeni Nabokov on Monday, Poulin is 4-0-0, allowing only eight goals on 105 shots.
Dan Ellis made 27 saves for Dallas but falls to; he is 4-5-0.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 0-2 while the Stars were also 0-2.
The Isles are 10-6-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 8-16-3 when they do not.  The Isles are 8-14-3 when they allow at least one power play goal and 10-8-4 when they do not. 
The Islander special teams are much improved as of late.  The power play is 11-36 (30.6%) over the last 13 games while the Isles have killed 31 of 37 (83.8%) over the last 13 games while scoring two shorthanded goals. 

Tale of Three Seasons
The Isles PP went 10-33 in the first 10 games, before going 7-79 in the next 24 games.  Since then, the Isles are 11-36 in the last 13 games (including 9-22 in the last seven games (40.9%)). 

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 17-4-2 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 1-18-5 when they do not. 

Helps to Score First
The Isles are 9-5-5 when they score first and are 9-17-2 when they allow the opening goal. 
However, the Isles have allowed the first goal in every game in their current 4-game winning streak.

Second to The One
Jack Capuano became the 2nd coach in Islander history to win 100 games in Toronto on January 7th. He is 2nd on the all-time Islander list in both games coached (242) and wins (102).

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.    Al Arbour 1,500
2.    Jack Capuano 242
3.    Mike Milbury 191
4.    Terry Simpson 187
5.    Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.    Al Arbour 740
2.    Jack Capuano 102
3.    Terry Simpson 81
4.    Peter Laviolette 77
5.    Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
John Tavares: “I just went hard to the net and Cal made a heck of a pass.  I loved his reaction, he almost didn’t know what to do.”

They Tweeted It
@StapeNewsday   Capuano says Hamonic was ill. Got too dehydrated to keep going after 2nd.
@manmademonster Thank you #Isles for reminding me why I love hockey.
@MPASSIBLE23 7 road wins in a row. First time for #isles in 33 years!!!!!!!!
@elricko5 My wife will not wash my #91 t - shirt, which I started to wearing under my work uniform since the win streak.... #isles

The Coach
“They did a lot of good things in the first and put us back on our heels.  We came out in the second and established our forecheck and got pucks deep. It started to turn there.”

The Isles are 5-6-0 in the front-end and 4-5-2 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.
In the eleven sets of back-to-backs, they have earned 4 points twice, 3 points once, 2 points four times, 1 point once and no points on three occasions.
The next set of back-to-backs will be on January 20th-21st as they will host Philadelphia before visiting the Rangers.

Head of the Class
John Tavares has 305 career points; he is 73 points ahead of Matt Duchene for most among 2009 draft picks.  No other player from that draft is anywhere close.  Tavares also has more goals and more assists than any other player from that draft.

Leading Ice Men
Andrew MacDonald played 24:12 to lead the Isles for the 28h time this season.  Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 22:45 of ice-time.
John Tavares saw 24:11 of ice time; it was the most ice time for any Islander forward this season and the 12th time in his career he has played at least 24 minutes.
The Isles are 10-12-5 when MacDonald leads them in ice-time and 7-10-2 when Hamonic leads them.

In the Circle

The Islanders won 26 of 58 draws.  John Tavares won 11 of 19 draws for the Isles but his teammates won only 15 of 39; Vernon Fiddler won 11 of 14 for Dallas.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit Dallas 33-17.  Colin MacDonald led the Isles with 6 hits. Matt Martin added four hits; his 230 hits lead the NHL by a wide margin.  He had now recorded at least 200 hits in four straight seasons. 
There were no fights.  The Isles have been involved in 15 fights this season: Martin (6), Boulton (4), Carkner (4), McDonald (1). 

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 12 blocked shots. Andrew MacDonald left the Isles with four blocks, extending his NHL-leading total to 159. 

Five Over All-Time .500
The Islanders improve to four games over all-time NHL .500 (1389-1384-446 in 3,219 games) for the first time since November 22nd. 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.

Frans Nielsen is the Islanders’ reigning ironman.  He has played 177 consecutive games, and is one of five Islanders to have played in every game this season.  Other ironman streaks: Travis Hamonic (117), Matt Martin (108), Andrew Mac Donald (95) and Thomas Hickey (48). 

Century Club
Travis Hamonic is the only defenseman in Islander history with two streaks in which he played at least 100 consecutive games. Those are two of only 10 streaks of at least 100 consecutive games by a defenseman in Islander history:
1.    Denis Potvin 11/29/1975-1/17/1979  262
2.    Bryan McCabe 10/7/1995-2/4/1998 220 (*)(**)
3.    Gerry Hart 3/1/1975-11/22/1977 198
4.    Janne Niinimaa 3/13/2004-1/7/2006 136 (**)
5.    Ken Morrow 3/1/1980-12/29/1981 134 (*)
6.    Mark Streit  10/8/2011-4/26/2013 130
7.    Travis Hamonic 2/24/2012- CURRENT 117
8.    Travis Hamonic 11/24/2010 – 2/4/2012 113 (*)

9.    Jean Potvin 10/23/1975-1/2/1977 110
10.    Kenny Jonsson 12/26/1996-2/4/1998 104

(*) Start of NHL career.
(**) Entire career with Islanders

Missing Men

Lubomir Visnovsky, Radek Martinek and Evgeni Nabokov remain on injured reserve. Peter Regin was scratched for the 3rd straight game while Matt Carkner and Eric Boulton were scratched for the 2nd straight game. The Isles have lost 119 games this season due to injury.

Nobody Beats the Viz

The Isles were 19-12-4 last season and are 3-3-2 this season with Lubomir Visnovsky in the lineup.  They were 5-5-3 last season and are 15-19-5 this season without him in the lineup.

Career Goals as an Islander
15    Mariusz Czerkawski    145
16    John Tavares     133
17    Jason Blake    127

28    Mikko Makela     95
28    David Volek     95
30    Randy Wood     94
31    Greg Gilbert     93
31    Garry Howatt     93
33    Travis Green     92
34    Kyle Okposo    91
35    Butch Goring    87
36    Tomas Jonsson    84
37    Wayne Merrick    81
37    Dave Scatchard    81
39    Marty McInnis    79
40    Miroslav Satan    78
41    Michael Grabner 77
42    Frans Nielsen    76

42    Claude Lapointe 76
44    Lorne Henning    73
44    J.P. Parise    73

Career Assists as an Islander

16    Ed Westfall    181
17    Kenny Jonsson    175
18    John Tavares    173
19    Alexei Yashin    171
20    Duane Sutter    171
21    Jean Potvin    167
22    Jeff Norton    166
23    Zigmund Palffy    163
24    Frans Nielsen    155
25    David Volek    154
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
24    Eddie Westfall    493
25    Radek Martinek    476
25    Gerry Hart    476
27    Mariusz Czerkawski    470
32    Dave Langevin  422
33    Frans Nielsen     414
34    Wayne Merrick  411
35    Jean Potvin    402
36    David Volek     396
37    Bert Marshall    392
38    Travis Green     388
39    Anders Kallur     383
40    Randy Wood     381
41    Josh Bailey     371
42    Kyle Okposo     365

43    Dave Scatchard    347
44     Alexei Yashin    346
45       Mark Parrish     345
46    John Tavares     337
46     Marty McInnis    337    
48     Butch Goring    332    
48     Oleg Kvasha     332    

Career Points as an Islander
16    Ziggy Palffy    331
17    John Tavares     305
18    Mariusz Czerkawski    295
27    Kenny Jonsson    232
28    Greg Gilbert    231
28    Frans Nielsen     231
29    Kyle Okposo     230

31    Benoit Hogue    229
31    Trent Hunter    229

Season Series Stats
The Isles sweep the season series 2 games to 0 (and four points to none).
The Isles are 3-1-1 in their last five games against the Stars and are 4-1-1 in their last six trips to Dallas. 

Happy Anniversary

30 years ago tonight (1-12-84): In a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals, Mike Bossy and Bob Bourne each scored twice as the Isles pounded Montreal 7-3 at the Coliseum.
Overall, the Isles are 10-6-3 on this date, including a 6-0 win over Detroit behind Dwayne Roloson in 2010.

On The Farm
Bridgeport improved to 14-20-1-4 on the season with a 6-3 win over Hartford on Sunday afternoon.  Anders Lee scored twice for the Sound Tigers while Parker Milner improved to 2-2-0 in the AHL this season. The win snapped a 5-game Bridgeport winless streak.
Lee leads Bridgeport with 15 goals; Lee and Dallas Jackson leads current Sound Tigers in assists (14) while Lee leads current players in points (29).  Ryan Strome still leads the team in assists (24) and points (33). 
The Sound Tigers are off until Friday, when they begin a 3-game in 3-day weekend in Binghamton.

Up Next
[MSG+2 (Islanders pre-game at 7:00pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]

The Isles will look to extend their winning streak to five (for the first time since 2008) and match the franchise-record road winning streak of eight when they face the Florida Panthers for the first time this season.

The Isles swept all three games last season by a combined 12-5 score and have won 4 straight overall over the Panthers.

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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