Isles 5, Devils 1
John Tavares recorded his fourth career hat trick and Evgeni Nabokov made 30 saves as the Islanders broke open a scoreless game with five goals in the final 23:14 to defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-1 before 15,488 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Both Tavares and Matt Moulson finished the night with four points.
16:46 NYI J. Tavares (9) Wrist - ASST: B. Boyes (7) AND M. Moulson (8) 1 - 0 NYI
18:09 NYI PPG - J. Tavares (10) Wrist - ASST: M. Moulson (9) AND L. Visnovsky (4) 2 - 0 NYI
19:06 NYI PPG - M. Moulson (7) Wrist - ASST: B. Boyes (8) AND J. Tavares (9) 3 - 0 NYI
08:47 NJD PPG - M. Zidlicky (1) Slap - ASST: P. Elias (15) AND I. Kovalchuk (10) 3 - 1 NYI
14:45 NYI PPG - J. Tavares (11) Wrist - ASST: M. Streit (4) AND M. Moulson (10) 4 - 1 NYI
19:25 NYI M. Grabner (6) Deflected - ASST: K. Aucoin (2) AND T. Hamonic (5) 5 - 1 NYI
The Skinny: John Tavares now has seven points this season against the Devils (5-2-7) … Tavares scored for a career-best fifth straight game (matching the NHL-high for this season); he now has 11 goals in the last 10 games … The Isles improve to 4-4-0 in the division; the Devils are 7-2-1 … The Isles allowed only one goal for the second time this season ... Lubomir Visnovsky has been on-ice for 11 of the Isles’ 14 goals in his four games with the team … Ilya Kovalchuk extended his point streak to six games (3-7-10) with an assist on the lone Devils goal. It was his 800th NHL point (144th player in NHL history to reach that mark) … Tavares joins Thomas Vanek and James Neal as the only players in the NHL with 11 goals … #91 is also the sixth player in the league to reach 20 points … The Isles have outscored the opposition 21-11 in the second period this season; New Jersey had allowed only seven goals in the second period before tonight.
The Penalty Shot
Ullstrom’s attempt was the second for the Islanders this season. The Isles have failed on 16 of their last 17 regular season home ice penalty shots, dating back to a goal by Tim Connolly on 3/21/00. Michael Grabner scored in last season’s finale for the only success in that span. (Shawn Bates connected in a 2002 playoff game; 15 of the 16 regular season failures have occurred since then).
It was the 53rd penalty shot in Islander regular season history; they have scored only 14 times (26%). Four of those attempts have come against New Jersey. Four different Islander shooters have faced the Devils; all have been stopped, including Michael Grabner against Johan Hedberg last season.
Attacking the Record Book
Tavares started the night tied for 32nd on the Isles’ goal-scoring list. By the time the game ended, he had passed Travis Green, Garry Howatt, Greg Gilbert and Randy Wood, as he tied Mikko Makela and David Volek for 27th place.
Toss the Hats
Tavares ties a career-high with three goals as he records his fourth career hat trick. Tavares is the first Islander since Jason Blake (5) to record at least four career hat tricks.
Tavares Hat List:
•October 23, 2010 at Florida
•January 15, 2011 vs. Buffalo
•October 15, 2011 vs. Rangers
•February 16, 2013 vs. New Jersey
The Isles are 3-1-0 in games when Tavares records a hat trick (3-0-0 at home). It’s the 171st hat trick in Isles history and the 14th the Isles have scored against the Devils franchise.
As Seen on MSG+
Most Points, NHL, last two seasons:
Four on the Floor:
Tavares (3-1-4) and Moulson (1-3-4) each recorded four point games. It was Tavares’ sixth and Moulson’s second career four-point game. They are the first Islander teammates to have four-point games in the same game since Ryan Smyth and Mike Sillinger did so on March 17, 2007 at Florida.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 6-7-1 overall, 2-5-0 at home and 4-2-1 on the road.
The Devils are 9-3-3 overall, 6-1-1 at home and 3-2-2 on the road.
In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov made 30 saves as he improves to 6-5-1 on the season and 4-8-0 against the Devils. Zidlicky’s power play goal kept Nabokov from his 53rd career shutout.
Johan Hedberg made 28 saves, but suffers his first regulation defeat of the season (2-1-1). Hedberg is 10-7-2 in his career against the Isles.
The Isles went 3-for-6 on the power play while the Devils were 1-for-5. After starting the season 2-for-28 (7.1%) on the power play at home, the Isles have converted on 7-of-11 chances (63.6%) over the last two home games. It’s the first time since October 23-26, 1993 that the Isles have scored at least three power play goals in consecutive home games.
The Isles are 7-21 on the power play vs. New Jersey this season, including two games in which they have converted three times on the power play. It’s the first time since the 1992-93 season (three times vs Philadelphia) that the Isles have had multiple games against the same opponent that they have scored at least three PP goals.
The Devils PK has allowed seven goals to the Isles, but has killed 42-of-49 against the rest of the NHL.
The Isles have connected for at least three power play goals three times this season; it’s the first time since 2007-08 (four times) that they have done so at least three times in one season. Their 16 PP goals in the first 14 games matches their most since 1997-98.
After allowing goals in a club-record 21 consecutive third periods (over two seasons), the Isles shut out the opponent for the second straight third period.
They Said It
Butch Goring, just before the Isles took over the game in the second period: This has been a very tough physical game…let’s see if the Devils continue to have the energy, have the legs.”
They Tweeted It
@SA3886 “Back home from Coli, Pretty sure @91Tavares does not breathe the same air we all breathe. He may very possibly be an alien. #Isles, #Unreal”
@stephamodeo “Thank you @grabs40 for stopping to sign my jersey tonight! made waiting in the cold not so bad! #Isles”
@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Few players I enjoy watching more these days than John Tavares
(On Martin, Cizikas and McDonald) "Not only are they doing the right things at the right times, but they're playing physical. That's exactly what we want them to do. Hopefully that'll continue for us. I would say that's something that we were missing last year."
Head of the Class
John Tavares has 222 career points; he is 61 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 seven goals this season; John Tavares has earned an assist on four of them. Tavares has now been on-ice for 67 consecutive Moulson goals, earning assists on 44 of them, dating back to a Moulson goal on November 17, 2010 against Tampa Bay.
110 NHL Goals
Moulson has 110 career goals (104 as an Islander). While 262 players were selected before the Penguins chose Moulson in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, only 17 have more goals. Of those 17, only four (Thomas Vanek, Jeff Carter, Eric Staal, Zach Parise) have averaged more goals per game.
Leading Ice Men
For the first time in six games, Mark Streit did not lead the Isles in ice-time. Andrew MacDonald played 24:39 to lead the Isles. Mark Zidlicky led the Devils with 21:56.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 34 draws; the Devils won 20. Casey Cizikas won 15-of-19 for the Isles; no Devil who took more than two draws won close to 50%.
The Islanders out-hit the Devils 29-21; Colin McDonald led the Isles with seven hits. There were no fights in the game, leaving the season total at seven.
Back Over .500
The Islanders go back over .500 all-time (1353-1352-433 in 3138 games). The Isles were one game below .500 twice last season and once this season. Prior to that, they had not been below .500 since they were 177-178-83 before their victory on January 16, 1978.
4 Usually Enough
The Isles are 6-1-1 when scoring at least four goals and 0-6-0 when scoring two or less.
A Tale of Two Months
The Isles were 4-2-1 in January, outscoring their opponents 27-23. The Isles are 2-5-0 in February, and have been outscored 24-17.
The Isles are in the midst of a stretch in which they will play nine consecutive games in the New York area (six at home, two at MSG, and one in New Jersey). The Isles are 3-5-0 so far in this stretch, with a home game remaining on Monday against Philadelphia.
Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 260 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 Islander 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 173 consecutive games, while Nielsen and Streit have each played in 96.
Longest Consecutive Game Streaks, Islander History
1. Billy Harris 576
2. Bob Nystrom 301
3. Denis Potvin 262
4. Matt Moulson 260
Spirit of ‘76
Lubomir Visnovsky is now the oldest skater on the roster (Evgeni Nabokov is 12 ½ months older). He is six days older than Eric Boulton and twenty days older than Radek Martinek. All three players were born in August, 1976.
Visnovsky was credited with another assist. He has four points (all assists) in four games as an Islander.
Thomas Hickey, Eric Boulton and Marty Reasoner were scratched. Matt Carkner and Radek Martinek are on Injured Reserve. Jesse Joensuu remains suspended after suffering an injury in Europe.
The Isles have scored 28 goals in their six wins (4.67 per game) and 16 goals in their other 8 games (0-7-1; 2.00 per game). In their seven regulation losses, the Isles have scored 12 goals (1.71 per game).
Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 663
2. Roberto Luongo 343
3. Nikolai Khabibulin 328
4. Evgeni Nabokov 318
5. Miikka Kiprusoff 313
21. Sean Burke 324
22. Evgeni Nabokov 318
23. Miikka Kiprusoff 313
Career Goals as an Islander
22Benoit Hogue 105
22Ed Westfall 105
24Matt Moulson 104
25Anders Kallur 101
26 Trent Hunter 99
27John Tavares 95
27Mikko Makela 95
27David Volek 95
Career Assists as an Islander – active players
4Kyle Okposo 95
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
44Frans Nielsen 332
45Butch Goring 332
45Oleg Kvasha 332
58Gord Lane 304
59Arron Asham 300
59Roman Hamrlik 300
61Josh Bailey 296
62Gord Dineen 287
63Kyle Okposo 285
64Jeff Norton 282
68Matt Moulson 260
69Brad Lauer 259
70Benoit Hogue 258
71John Tavares 257
72Pierre Turgeon 255
73Mark Streit 252
74Jude Drouin 250
Career Points as an Islander
30John Tavares 222
40Matt Moulson 187
42Frans Nielsen 176
50Kyle Okposo 165
Season Series Stats
The season series is even at two games each (The Devils have five points to the Islanders’ four). The final meeting of the regular season between the teams will be on April 1 in Newark.
20 years ago today (2-16-93): Denis Vaske scored his first NHL goal and Pierre Turgeon had his 300th NHL assist as the Islanders pounded the Oilers 7-2 at the Coliseum. Benoit Hogue converted on a penalty shot for the Isles.
All-time, the Isles are 10-4-2 on this date, including 9-1-2 in the last 12.
On The Farm
Bridgeport is 22-21-2-3 after being swept in a home-and-home series by Providence. Nino Niederreiter scored his 22nd goal in the loss on Saturday. The Sound Tigers finish their busy weekend by hosting Norfolk on Sunday.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18 PHILADELPHIA AT ISLANDERS (1:00PM)
[MSG+ (Pre-game show at 12:30PM), WRHU (88.7FM)]
The Isles have already played eight of their 18 division games, but on Monday afternoon they will face the Flyers for the first time this season.
The Flyers won last season’s series four games to two (and nine points to five). The Isles have lost six straight at home against Philadelphia (0-5-1), and are 1-10-3 in the last 14 at home against the Flyers.
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.