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The Skinny - Isles 1, Devils 0

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 66

Isles 1, New Jersey 0

Anders Nilsson made 24 saves for his first career win and first career shutout and Kyle Okposo scored the game’s only goal as the Islanders blanked New Jersey 1-0 before a sellout crowd of 16,250 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  With the win, the Islanders climb within five points of 8th place Winnipeg; it’s the closest that the Isles have been to a playoff spot in almost four months.

The Scoring:
First Period - None

Second Period
2:39 EV NYI 21 K.OKPOSO (15) 53 C.CIZIKAS (3)

Third Period - None

The Skinny: Nilsson is the first Islanders goaltender to record a shutout for his first NHL win. He is the youngest Islanders goaltender since Roberto Luongo to record a shutout and the first NHL goalie to record his first NHL game by shutout since Al Montoya did so for Phoenix on April 1, 2009. Petr Sykora appeared in his 1,000th NHL game; he is the third Devil (Dainius Zubrus and Patrik Elias) to do so this season. Casey Cizikas now has three assists in his last three games; Okposo’s winning goal was his second goal in three games and his first game-winning goal of the season.

The Shots
Islanders:  10-8-7=25
Devils:     6-6-12=24

Home and Road
The Islanders are 28-29-9 overall and are 15-14-5 at home. The Islanders have won consecutive home games for the first time since a three-game home win streak Dec. 29 - Jan. 12.
The Devils are 36-24-5 overall and 20-12-2 on the road.

In the Nets
Anders Nilsson made 24 saves to record his first NHL win/shutout. Nilsson was 10-0-1 in January/February for Bridgeport and remains unbeaten in 2012 in regulation time. Of the 44 goalies in Islanders history, Nilsson is the 25th to record at least one shutout.
Martin Brodeur made 24 saves for New Jersey, but Nilsson’s heroics prevented him from winning his 648th NHL game.

The Race for 8th
8      Winnipeg Jets                 70     points in    66    games
9      Washington Capitals     69     points in    65    games
10    Tampa Bay Lightning     68     points in    65    games
11    Buffalo Sabres                68     points in    65    games
12    Toronto Maple Leafs       67     points in    65    games
13    New York Islanders        65     points in    66    games

Playoff Chase
The Isles are five points behind 8th place Winnipeg. When the Capitals lost to Philadelphia Sunday night, it meant that the Isles would spend the night within five points of a playoff spot for the first time since the night of Nov. 7, when the Isles had 10 points and Ottawa/Florida shared 8th place with 15 points.

Rare 1-0 Home Win
This is only the 7th 1-0 home win in Isles regular season history. How many of the others do you remember?

13-Jan-76    vs    Detroit            1    0    W            C. Resch
11-Feb-86    vs    Vancouver    1    0    W             B. Smith
23-Mar-95    vs    New York       1    0    W             T. Soderstrom
15-Feb-97    vs    Florida           1    0    W (OT)    T. Salo
27-Oct-98    vs    Los Angeles  1    0    W             T. Salo
21-Feb-08   vs    Tampa Bay    1    0    W             R. DiPietro
4-Mar-12     vs    New Jersey    1    0    W             A. Nilsson

The three winningest goalies in Isles history each own one of them; the other four were won by the only three Swedish netminders to ever start a game for the team.
The Isles had gone 0-33-3 in the 36 home games they scored one goal or fewer since DiPietro’s 1-0 win.

Blanking the Devils
The Isles have recorded shutouts against New Jersey in each of the last five seasons (DiPietro-3, Danis, Nilsson). It’s the first time the Isles have done that against any opponent; the Isles blanked Tampa Bay in four straight seasons in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s.

Holding Their Own Against the Locals
The Isles improve to 4-4 against the Rangers/Devils this season. They are 3-2 at home (2-1 against the Rangers and 1-1 against the Devils), 0-2 at MSG and 1-0 in New Jersey.

Back-to-Back W’s
The Isles have won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 31 - Feb. 3, have won consecutive home games for the first time since Dec. 29 - Jan. 10 (three games) and won on consecutive days for the first time since Feb. 10-11, 2011.

Every Game’s a Thrill
Each of the last five home wins has been by one goal, including twice in overtime and one by shootout. The Isles hold seven one-goal wins at home this season. Sunday’s game was witnessed by the second consecutive home sellout and fifth this season.

Rude Hosts
This was the Islanders’ first home shutout of the season (and first in 46 home games dating back to February 19, 2011). Six different goalies (Danis,Biron,Roloson,DiPietro (2),Montoya,Nilsson) have been responsible for the last seven home shutouts for the Islanders; Evgeni Nabokov has two shutouts this season, but both were on the road.

Leaning on #91
John Tavares has 63 points (26-37-63) on 150 Islanders goals this season (42.0%). No Islander since Zigmund Palffy has recorded points on over 40% of the team’s goals in a complete season.

Don’t Forget PA
With 59 points, Parenteau has points on 39.3% of the Islanders’ goals this season. He has 44 assists – most by any Islander since Travis Green had 45 and Ziggy Palffy had 44 in 1995-96.

Power Plays
The Islanders went 0-5 on the power play while New Jersey was 0-1. The Isles are 2-23 in their last eight games with the extra man and have killed only 17 of 25 in the same span. The Isles had 12 power-play shots in the game, including six in 2:48 of continuous power play time midway through the second period.

They Said It
Anders Nilsson: "I thank all the guys. They blocked a lot of shots and when a shot got through, it was from the boards. They made it really easy for me to play out there today."

They Tweeted It
@BruceBeck4NY: What a showing by @NYIslanders rookie goalie, Anders Nilsson - 24 saves vs Devils 4 his 1st win - 1st shutout! He's only 21! Wow!

The Coach
“I thought tonight he (Nilsson) really handled himself well. He was aggressive. He had good angles and he gave us a chance to win a game tonight.”

Leading Ice Men
Mark Streit led the Isles with 24:09; Ilya Kovalchuk led New Jersey with 24:15. While every Islander played at least nine minutes, the Devils used only nine forwards in the third period.

In the Circle
The Islanders won 23 draws; New Jersey also won 23. The Isles lost 8 of 10 draws in the first period, but outdrew New Jersey 21-15 the rest of the way. In the last 15 games, the Isles have won the majority of draws only three times (with one game even). John Tavares won 12 of 19 for the Isles; Adam Henrique won 6 of 10 for New Jersey.

Heavy Hitters
The Islanders were out-hit 23-20. NHL hits leader Matt Martin had four, raising his total to 311 and extending his club record of 299 (hits have only been recorded since 2005-06). Martin leads the NHL in hits by a wide margin. He is on a pace to have 386 hits, which would be the highest total of any NHL player since the work stoppage; Cal Clutterbuck had a record 356 hits for Minnesota in 2008-09.

Lots of Blocks
The Isles were credited with 27 blocks. They lead the NHL with 1,139. Steve Staios had five blocks; Andrew MacDonald and Mark Eaton each had four.

Goals by Period (Season)
Isles:     53-46-48-3 = 150
Opponents: 59-59-68-6 = 192
Third period goals include eight empty-net goals for the Islanders and an NHL-leading 13 empty-net goals against the Isles.

Streak Stoppers
Several streaks were stopped in this game, including Josh Bailey’s three-game goal streak and Frans Neilsen’s three-game assist streak. Four Devils had two-game point streaks stopped.

All-time Winners
The Islanders improve to four games over all-time NHL .500 (1341-1337-430 in 3,108 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 89 goals in their 28 wins (3.18 per game) and 62 goals in their other 38 games (0-29-9; 1.63 per game). In their 29 regulation losses, the Isles have scored 37 goals (1.28 per game).

Head of the Class
John Tavares has 184 career points; he is 36 points ahead of Matt Duchene for most among 2009 draft picks. No other player in that draft is anywhere close.

Longest Point Streaks in NHL, Last two seasons
•    Sidney Crosby, 25 games (11/5/10-12/28/10)
•    John Tavares, 12 games (12/29/11-1/21/12)
•    Ilya Kovalchuk 12 games (2/1/11-2/25/11)

Friends, Friends, Friends
Moulson has 28 goals this season; John Tavares has earned assists on 19 of them. He has now been on-ice for 52 consecutive Moulson goals, earning assists on 35 of them, dating back to a Moulson goal November 17, 2010 against Tampa Bay.

Three Different Leaders
Matt Moulson continues to lead the Isles in goals (28); PA Parenteau leads the Isles in assists (44); John Tavares leads the Isles in points (63).

25-25-25, 30-30-30?
Matt Moulson is the first Islander since Ziggy Palffy to have at least three consecutive 25-goal seasons. He is two goals away from a third consecutive 30-goal season; Palffy was also the last Islander to accomplish that feat. Moulson has 89 goals as an Islander – the most by any Islander since the work stoppage. Moulson has opened the scoring 10 times this season and the Isles are 9-1-0 when he does so. He is the first Islander with at least 10 opening goals since Alexei Yashin had 12 in 2001-02.

20-20-20 x 2
Moulson and Tavares are the first Islanders teammates to record at least 20 goals in three straight seasons since Mark Parrish and Jason Blake did so in 2002-03, 2003-04, and 2005-06. Tavares, by the way, is the fifth player to score at least 20 goals for the Islanders in each of his first three NHL seasons, joining:
•    Billy Harris (first six seasons: 1972-73 through 1977-78)
•    Clark Gillies (five: 1974-75 through 1978-79)
•    Bryan Trottier (13: 1975-76 through 1987-88)
•    Mike Bossy (all 10 seasons: 1977-78 through 1986-87)

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 230 games since joining the team. Moulson’s streak is the longest for an Islander in the Post-Cup era. Moulson holds the fifth-longest consecutive games streak in club history. Billy Harris played in the first 576 games in Islanders history; that figure still stands as the club record.
Four other forwards: PA Parenteau, Matt Martin, Frans Nielsen and John Tavares have also played in every game this season while Mark Streit is the only Islander defender to do so.

Missing Men
Michael Grabner (ill) and Dylan Reese were scratched, as was Al Montoya (upper body injury). Rick DiPietro is on injured reserve. The Isles have lost 312 man-games to injury so far this season. Evgeni Nabokov served as the back-up.

Career Years
•    Matt Moulson: 28 assists and 56 points are new career highs. He has 28 goals, three shy of his career best.
•    PA Parenteau: 44 assists and 59 points are new career highs. He has 15 goals, five shy of his career best.
•    John Tavares is 26-37-63; he is three goals, one assist and four points shy of career highs, all set last season.
•    Frans Nielsen has 13 goals, matching a career-high set last year.
•    Kyle Okposo has 15 goals, four shy of his career-high set in 2009-10.

List Time
Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 647
2. Roberto Luongo 335
3. Nikolai Khabibulin 328
4. Evgeni Nabokov 309
5. Miikka Kiprusoff 304

Career Wins
21. Sean Burke 324
22. Evgeni Nabokov 309
23. Billy Smith 305

Most First Goals of Game (NHL This Season)
1    Matt Moulson         10
2    Evander Kane         9
3    Steven Stamkos     8
3    Johan Franzen        8
3    Ilya Kovalchuk          8
3    Curtis Glencross     8

Career Goals as an Islander
31    Travis Green     92
32    Matt Moulson     89
33    Butch Goring     87
34    Tomas Jonsson     84
35    Wayne Merrick     81
35    Dave Scatchard     81
37    Marty McInnis    79
38    John Tavares     79
40    Miroslav Satan    78
Career Assists as an Islander – active players
1    Mark Streit    108
2    John Tavares    106
3    Frans Nielsen    103
4    Kyle Okposo    90
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
56    Mikko Makela     307
57    Gord Lane     304
58    Frans Nielsen     303
59    Arron Asham     300
59    Roman Hamrlik     300
61    Gord Dineen     287
62    Jeff Norton     282
63    Steve Thomas    275
63    Josh Bailey     275
65    Blake Comeau     261
65    Andre St. Laurent 261
69    Pierre Turgeon    255
69    Kyle Okposo     255
71    Jude Drouin     250
81    Zdeno Chara     231
81    Billy MacMillian 231
83    Matt Moulson     230
84    Chris Campoli    228
85    Bryan Smolinski    227
85    John Tavares     227
87    Michael Peca    222
87    Mark Streit     222
89    Bob Lorimer    220
89    Bryan McCabe    220

Career Points as an Islander
38    Jeff Norton    188
39    Lorne Henning     184
39    John Tavares     184
41    Randy Wood     172
47    Miroslav Satan    166
48    Oleg Kvasha    158
49    Matt Moulson     157
50    Alan Kerr    154
51    Roman Hamrlik    153
51    Frans Nielsen     153
53    Kyle Okposo     149
54    Michael Peca     142
Season Series Stats
The Isles lead the season series two games to one (and four points to two). The teams will play Thursday in New Jersey and Saturday at the Coliseum before they finish the season series April 3 at The Rock. All three games in the season series have been decided by one goal.

Happy Anniversary
30 years ago Sunday (3-4-82): Denis Potvin and Mike Bossy both had hat tricks as the Islanders pounded the Maple Leafs 10-1 at the Coliseum. The nine-goal margin shares the club record. No Islanders defenseman has had a hat trick in the 30 years since.
All-time, the Isles are 8-9-3 on this date, including three wins in four games since the work stoppage.

On The Farm
Jeremy Colliton and Micheal Haley each had two goals and Kevin Poulin made 24 saves as the Sound Tigers rebounded from a rare defeat to beat the Providence Bruins 6-3 on Sunday afternoon. Bridgeport is 31-19-3-3 overall, having earned points in 21 of their last 23 games. Bridgeport now has 68 points, tied with Connecticut for the division lead, but the Sound Tigers hold two games in hand. Bridgeport can move into sole possession of the division lead on Tuesday when they visit Worcester.

Up Next
[MSG+2 (Islanders Game Night at 6:30pm), WRHU (88.7FM)]

The Islanders will play their second of three consecutive games against New Jersey when they face the Devils at the Rock on Thursday.  (The Devils will face the Rangers on Tuesday before they play the Isles Thursday/Saturday). All three games this season between the teams have been decided by one goal.

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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