Isles 5, Winnipeg 2 Ryan Strome scored a goal and added three assists while linemates Frans Nielsen and Anders Lee also scored as the Isles earned a split of the season series with a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets in front of a sellout crowd of 15,016 at MTS Centre. The Isles are 6-1-1 in their last eight games and hit the New Year with 25 wins, tied for the most in the entire NHL and with 51 points, tied with Pittsburgh for the Metropolitan Division lead. The Isles have also tied the franchise record for most wins through 37 games.
Jaroslav Halak recorded his sixth straight win, as he reached 20 wins for the 5th time in his career. Halak and Anaheim’s Frederik Andersen are the only goalies with two win streaks of at least six games this season. Halak is now 17-2-0 in his last nineteen games.
The Isles are a season-high 14 games over NHL-.500. It’s the first time that the Isles are 14 games over NHL .500 since they ended the 2001-02 season with a 42-28-8-4 record. No Islander team in the Post-Cup era has ever been 15 games over NHL-.500 at any point.
Pittsburgh defeated Carolina 2-1 tonight, stopping their winless streak at four games.
The Scoring: 1st Period 10:04 NYI Ryan Strome (7) Tip-in - ASST: Anders Lee (4), Nick Leddy (11) 1 - 0 NYI 18:16 NYI PPG - Frans Nielsen (7) Snap shot: Johnny Boychuk (13), Ryan Strome (18) 2 - 0 NYI
2nd Period 04:41 WPG Andrew Ladd (13) Wrist shot - ASST: Blake Wheeler (17), Paul Postma (4) 2 - 1 NYI 15:27 NYI Frans Nielsen (8) Snap shot - ASST: Ryan Strome (19) 3 - 1 NYI
3rd Period 00:47 WPG PPG - Andrew Ladd (14) Snap shot: Mathieu Perreault (10), Bryan Little (13) 3 - 2 NYI 11:35 NYI Anders Lee (9) Wrist shot - ASST: Ryan Strome (20), Frans Nielsen (13) 4 - 2 NYI 19:28 NYI PPG - EN - Josh Bailey (6) Snap shot -: Travis Hamonic (5), Calvin de Haan (7) 5 - 2 NYI
The Skinny: Ryan Strome had four points, becoming the youngest Islander, other than John Tavares, to have a 4-point game since Tim Connolly did so on January 13, 2001 vs. Pittsburgh. Strome is 1-5-6 in the last two games…Both Strome and Frans Nielsen broke 9-game goal droughts. Nielsen has scored 5 of his 8 goals in just two goals (he had his first hat trick on October 25th vs. Dallas)….Anders Lee’s goal was his 4th in the last six games.
John Tavares and Kyle Okposo each saw their point streaks end at four games. With 25 wins, the Isles are tied for the most wins in the entire NHL…Andrew Ladd’s two goals give him 14 on the season, tying Bryan Little for Winnipeg’s lead. Four of Ladd’s goals have come in the two games against the Isles…Josh Bailey’s empty-net goal allowed him to continue an unusual streak; he has had at least a point in every-other game over the last 9 games…The Isles end December with an 8-4-1 record, marking their most wins in December since 2003 (10-4-1).
Both teams are idle on New Year’s Day and both play on Friday. The Isles will be in Calgary while Pittsburgh will host Tampa Bay.
It’s the first time that the Isles have had at least a share of the Division lead this late in the season since February 20, 1990: • Patrick Division W-L-T Pts • NY Islanders 28-27-6 62 • NY Rangers 26-25-10 62 • Pittsburgh 28-28-5 61 • New Jersey 25-28-7 57 • Washington 26-31-4 56 • Philadelphia 24-30-8 56
Auld Lang Skinny The Isles end the calendar year with a share of first place for the first time in 27 years.
Patrick Division Standings After games of 12/31/1987
NY Islanders 19-14-3 41 Philadelphia 18-15-5 41 New Jersey 18-16-4 40 Pittsburgh 16-14-7 39 Washington 16-17-5 37 NY Rangers 14-19-5 33
Year of the Fan: The Isles have sold-out their last three home games, five of the last six and nine of their eighteen home dates this season. 108,146 fans enjoyed Islander hockey in 7 home dates (15,449 average) at the Coliseum this month. The 9 sellouts are the most for the Isles since they had 12 full houses at the Old Barn in 2007-08.
Year of the Islanders: The Isles finish calendar year 2014 with 97 points (51 this season and 46 from January-April); it is their most points in a calendar year since they earned 105 in 1983.
The Isles went 22-15-2 at the Coliseum in 2014 (8-11-2 last season and 14-4-0 this season) and 24-12-3 on the road (13-5-2 last season and 11-7-1 this season).
The Isles went 8-4-1 in December, meaning that by NHL accounting the Isles finished every month of 2014 with at least a .500 record. That last happened in 2004 when they had winning records in January-April and a lockout wiped out the fall. The last time the Isles played the whole calendar year with at least a .500 mark in each month was in 1985-- a calendar year in which the Isles played either .500 or 1 game over .500 in every month.
Most Wins by New Year’s • 26 in 83/84 • 25 in 14/15 • 24 in 80/81 • 24 in 78/79
Comparable Records The Isles are 25-11-1 thru 37 games. The Isles were 10-20-7 through 37 games and 11-20-7 through 38 games last season, when they did not record their 25th win until they scored 7 goals in the third period to defeat Vancouver on March 10th (25-33-9).
Most wins in first 37 games: • 25-11-1 in 2014-15 • 25-5-7 in 1978-79 • 25-10-2 in 1983-84 • 23-7-7 in 1980-81 • 22-9-6 in 1976-77
Most points in first 37 games: • 57 in 1978-79 • 53 in 1980-81 • 52 in 1983-84 • 51 in 2014-15 • 50 in 1976-77
Home Sweet Home The Isles are 14-4-0 on Coliseum ice, tying the club record for most wins through 18 home games (14-0-4 in 1978-79 and 14-4-0 in 1984-85). They have had more than 28 points through 18 home games only once: 14-0-4 for 32 points in 1978-79.
Streakers The Isles have had a season of streaks, going 4-0-0 to open the season and then (in succession) 0-2-0, 2-0-0, 0-3-0, 13-2-0, 0-3-0, and 6-1-1 in the last eight games.
Winning Streaks (Season) At least 2 streaks of 5 games -- First time since the 1987-88 season that the Isles have had two winning streaks of at least five games. At least 4 streaks of 4 games -- First time since the 1984-85 season that the Isles have had four winning streaks of at least four games. At least 5 streaks of 3 games -- First time Isles have ever done that before Christmas.
The Shots: Isles 12-13-8=33 Winnipeg 7-11-5=23
Hot Shots: The Isles have outshot their last six opponents 226-135 over the last six games and have outshot their last eight opponents 300-188.
The Isles have outshot each of their last six opponents by at least 10 shots; prior to the current streak they had not done that more than three straight times since at least 1987.
On the season, the Isles have outshot their opponents 1,220-1,021 for a +199 shot differential. The club record for differential for a season is +307 in 1976-77. The Isles have had only two other seasons over +150: (+254 in 1986-87 and +152 in 1975-76).
Isles had 2,537 shots on goal last season, most since a franchise-record 2,616 in 1992-93. Isles are currently on pace for a record-breaking 2704 shots this year.
Home and Road The Islanders are 25-11-1 overall, 14-4-0 at home and 11-7-1 on the road.
Winnipeg is 19-12-7 overall; 8-8-3 at home and 11-4-4 on the road.
By Division The Isles are 10-2-0 in Division games and are 15-9-1 in games against other divisions. They are 7-3-1 vs. the Atlantic Division, 4-5-0 vs. Central Division, and 4-1-0 vs. the Pacific Division.
The Isles finished last season 10-16-4 against the Met.
In the Nets Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves and improves to 20-6-0 on the season. He is 6-3-0 in his career against Winnipeg.
Ondrej Pavelec made 28 saves but falls to 10-9-5 on the season. He is 4-6-3 in his career against the Isles.
Good Company for Halak San Jose’s Antti Niemi recently played in his 300th NHL game, and recorded his 172nd win, representing the most wins by an active goalie in his first 300 games. Jaroslav Halak played in his 298th game tonight, and recorded his 164th win (with 2 games still to play): • Antti Niemi 172, • Ryan Miller 170, • Jaroslav Halak 164 (298 games), • Martin Brodeur 161, • Jimmy Howard 160 (Courtesy CSN-California via Elias Sports Bureau)
20-Win Club Halak is the 12th goalie in Islander history to win at least 20 games in a season:
Player 20-win seasons Billy Smith* 8 Rick DiPietro 4 Roland Melanson 3 Kelly Hrudey 2 Tommy Salo 2 Jaroslav Halak 1 Ron Hextall 1 Chris Osgood 1 Dwayne Roloson 1
The club record for wins in a season is 32, shared by Billy Smith, Chris Osgood and Rick DiPietro.
Power Plays The Islanders were 2-7 on the power play for the second straight game, while Winnipeg was 1-4. The Jets also were credited with an even-strength goal that occurred 1 second after their power play expired.
The power play is 4-14 (28.6%) in the last two games after going 1-19 (5.3%) in the previous seven games.
The penalty kill is 18-20 (90%) over the last eight games after allowing 7 goals in 15 times short (53.3%) in the previous three games.
The Isles are 14-4-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 11-7-1 when they do not. The Isles are 10-9-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 15-2-1 when they do not.
Three is a Magic Number The Isles are 20-4-1 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 5-7-0 when they do not.
One Goal Games The Isles are 16-2-1 in games decided by a single goal including 6-2-0 in regulation. They are 4-0 in games decided in overtime and are 6-1 in shootouts. Four games have been decided by two goals in which the second goal was an empty-netter. The Isles are 3-1 in those games.
First Goal (and Second Goal) The Isles are 13-8-1 when they score first and are 12-3-0 when they allow the opening goal. However, the Isles are 11-0-0 when they allow the opening goal but score the second goal.
Second to The One Jack Capuano is the 2nd winningest coach in Islander history and was behind the bench for his 300th game on November 28th in Washington. Capuano is 143-131-40 behind the Islander bench. Among the 9 New York teams, only the Giants’ Tom Coughlin and the Yankees’ Joe Girardi have led their respective teams longer than Capuano.
Most games coached (Islanders): 1. Al Arbour 1,500 2. Jack Capuano 314 3. Mike Milbury 191 4. Terry Simpson 187 5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches: 1. Al Arbour 740 2. Jack Capuano 143 3. Terry Simpson 81 4. Peter Laviolette 77 5. Ted Nolan 74
Speaking of Arbour, Jiggs McDonald shared the news during tonight’s telecast that Al has been admitted to a Sarasota hospital, suffering from pneumonia. Thoughts and prayers to the Coach!
They Said It Butch Goring on the Isles’ first goal: “Everybody’s stick was in the air. It was like a sword fight.”
Jaroslav Halak: “It’s a big two points to start our road trip…our best period was the third period—we had been having a little trouble lately in the 3rd but tonight the guys did a great job”.
Anders Lee: “Fransy and Strome both see the ice so well…they can make plays all over the ice…we also have gotten a few bounces which has been nice… Jaro has been the rock behind us all year and we needed him tonight.”
They Tweeted It @iamwiIIs Prayers to Al Arbour and his family on this New Year's Eve. #GetWellAl #Isles @hockeyguy0194 If somebody told me that the #isles would have 51 points by New Years in the summer, I wouldn't believe it..Anyway, Happy New Years everyone @mangat1969 Breaking news! A Strome was responsible for bringing down numerous jets this afternoon in Winnipeg. #isles #IslesNation @SA3886 As a lifelong #Isles fan and a partial season ticket holder for past 6 seasons, I'd like to thank Isles for 2014. Keep up good work in 2015 And all the way from Germany: @islesfankf Happy New Year #isles fans all around the world.
The Coach Penalty kill was the only area where we struggled… (Our PP) had good puck movement…entered the zone really well. … (The Nielsen/Nelson line switch) has played out pretty well.
Back-to-Backs The Isles are 5-1-0 in the front-end and 5-1-0 on the back end of back-to-backs this season. The Isles have swept 4 sets of back-to-back this season and are 1-1-0 in two sets.
The next set of back-to-backs will be on January 9th in New Jersey and January 10th in Columbus.
Leading Ice Men Travis Hamonic led all Isles with 22:10 of ice-time; Dustin Byfuglien led Winnipeg with 27:38.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Johnny Boychuk (10-2-0), Travis Hamonic (6-1-1), Lubomir Visnovsky (2-1-0) John Tavares (2-3-0), Thomas Hickey (3-0-0), Nick Leddy (0-2-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0) and Calvin deHaan (1-2-0).
John Tavares led Isles forwards with 19:52 of ice-time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: John Tavares (13-10-1), Kyle Okposo (8-0-0), Ryan Strome (1-0-0), Brock Nelson (1-1-0), Frans Nielsen (1-0-0) and Casey Cizikas (1-0-0).
In the Circle The Islanders won 29 of 59 draws (49%). Casey Cizikas won 10 of 15 for the Isles but his teammates won only 19 of 44; Bryan Little won 13 of 20 for Winnipeg. The Isles won 20 of 38 (53%) draws at even strength but only 9 of 21 (43%) on special teams. The Isles won 6 of 14 draws on the power play and 3 of 7 draws on the penalty kill.
Heavy Hitters The Isles were out-hit 24-15. Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with four hits each.
There were no fights. The Isles have been involved in eight fights this season: Martin (5), Hamonic (2), Lee (1), and all but one of the fights (Martin vs. Minnesota) have been against Metropolitan Division opponents.
Giving Up the Body The Isles were credited with 16 blocked shots, including six from Calvin deHaan.
For the Corsi Crowd The Isles finished with a total Corsi advantage of 58-49, which measures shots attempted for and against (including blocks).
Ryan Strome led the Isles with +11 even-strength Corsi ratings while Frans Nielsen was on-ice for a team-leading 78% of Corsi For events. Mathieu Perreault (+4) led Winnipeg.
Head of the Class Islander Captain John Tavares has 347 career points; he is 63 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.
All-time Winners The Islanders improve to 20 games over all-time NHL .500 (1430-1410-451 in 3,291 games). It’s the first time since January 21, 2010 that the Isles are 20 games over all-time NHL .500.
The Isles have not been more than 1 game under NHL-.500 since January 11, 1978 and have finished every season since 1977-78 over all-time NHL .500.
Ironmen Nick Leddy and Brock Nelson are the Islanders’ reigning ironmen. Leddy has played 289 consecutive regular season NHL games, while Nelson has played 89 consecutive regular season Islander games.
Missing Men Matt Carkner and Michael Grabner are on injured reserve. Matt Donovan, Eric Boulton and Brian Strait were scratched.
The Isles have lost 137 games this season due to injury/illness.
All-time Islander Leader Board: John Tavares has: • 151 goals (14th all-time and 10 behind Pat Flatley) • 196 assists (14th all-time and 53 behind Tomas Jonsson) • 347 points (14th all-time and 22 behind Stefan Persson) • 387 games played (41st among Islander skaters all-time and 1 behind Travis Green)
Frans Nielsen has: • 93 goals (Tied-32nd all-time with Greg Gilbert & Garry Howatt) • 182 assists (17th all-time, 11 behind Pierre Turgeon and 14 behind John Tavares) • 275 points (23rd all-time, 11 behind Kyle Okposo and 11 behind Ed Westfall) • 483 games played (25th among Islander skaters all-time and 10 behind Ed Westfall)
Kyle Okposo has: • 107 goals (23rd all-time and 9 behind Ray Ferraro) • 179 assists (19th all-time, 2 behind Ed Westfall and 3 behind Frans Nielsen) • 286 points (tied-22nd all-time with Ed Westfall and 4 behind Alexei Yashin) • 427 games played (32nd among Islander skaters all-time and 5 behind Josh Bailey)
Michael Grabner has: • 84 goals (tied-37th all-time with Tomas Jonsson and 3 behind Butch Goring)
Josh Bailey has: • 432 games played (31st among Islander skaters all-time and 18 behind Scott Lachance)
Season Series Stats The teams split the season series 1 game to 1 (and 2 points to 2).
Since Winnipeg returned to the NHL, the Isles are 5-0-1 in six trips to Manitoba. The Isles are 7-0-2 in their last 9 games in Winnipeg, dating back to a 3-1 loss to the original Jets on November 20, 1991.
It Happened at the Coliseum … on DECEMBER 31st 3 years ago tonight (2011) John Tavares was named the game's first star for the second straight game and Matt Moulson added a goal and two assists as the Islanders inducted Ken Morrow into the team’s Hall of Fame and then defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-1.
Evgeni Nabokov made 28 saves for his 297th NHL victory, passing former Islander Ron Hextall for 26th place on the all-time list.
Tavares’ strong play was not lost on his head coach. "He's playing extremely well," Isles coach Jack Capuano said of Tavares. "He's strong on the puck, and his skills speak for themselves. He's playing with a lot of desire and determination right now."
It was the first NHL game in 18 years to feature the past three No. 1 overall NHL draft picks: Tavares (2009), and Edmonton's Taylor Hall (2010) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011).
Also on this date: (1990) – Derek King scored four goals for his second career hat trick as the Isles beat Quebec 6-3.
All-time, the Isles have played five December 31st games at the Coliseum and finish with a 4-1-0 record on this date at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale.
On The Farm Ryan Pulock scored his 12th goal of the season (10th on the power play) on Tuesday but the Sound Tigers fell to Worcester 6-2, ending 2014 with a 15-12-3-1 record. Bridgeport is back in action on Friday in Providence, before hosting Albany on Saturday night and again on Sunday at 3pm.
Up Next FRIDAY, JANUARY 2nd, 2015—ISLANDERS AT CALGARY 9:00PM [MSG+2 (Isles Pre-game at 8:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN]
The road trip continues in Calgary on Friday as the Isles face their expansion cousins, the Flames. The Flames, then located in Atlanta, entered the NHL with the Islanders in 1972.
The game will feature two of the hottest rookies in the NHL, in Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and the Islanders’ Andre Lee. Gaudreau is the reigning NHL Player of the Week.
Calgary swept the season series last year, winning 4-2 on Long Island and 4-3 in Alberta. Despite the two recent losses, the Isles are 5-3-0 in their last eight games against Calgary.
The Flames will visit Long Island on February 27th.
And Finally… Have a happy and safe New Year. My New Year’s Resolution? Playoff Skinny! Lots of it.
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 & on his blog www.nyiskinny.com.