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by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 6

Islanders 2, Toronto 1 (overtime)

John Tavares is used to scoring big goals; he’s done it all his life.  One thing he didn’t do in his rookie campaign was score in overtime.  Monday night in Toronto, he did, converting on the power play with 1:34 remaining in overtime to give the Islanders a 2-1 win at the Air Canada Center.  It was Tavares’ 2nd goal of the season; he hit the empty-net on Saturday night against Colorado.  The OT defeat ends a season-opening 4-game win streak for the Leafs.

Matt’s the Man
After a scoreless first period, Matt Moulson gave the Isles the lead just five seconds after a Leafs penalty expired.  Tavares and Frans Nielsen earned assists on a gorgeous three-way passing play.
Another Fight for Zenon
Zenon Konopka and Mike Brown fought midway through the second period. It’s the fifth straight game that the Isles have had a fight, with Kenopka h being involved in three.

Denied Goals, x 2
The Leafs thought that they had tied the game late in the second period and again in the third.  Kris Versteeg had a second period goal wiped out on a high sticking call; the Leafs Colby Armstrong thought he had tied the game in the third, but the puck slid along the goal line and stayed out.

Leafs Get Even but Radek Saves the Game
James Wisniewski took a cross-checking penalty with 2:40 to play, and off a broken play Phil Kessel cashed in off a broken play for his 5th goal of the season and 8th goal in 16 career games against the Isles.  Toronto thought they had the game won in the dying seconds of regulation, but Radek Martinek made a great save to send the game to overtime.

91 Wins It
Brett Lebda was called for goalie interference in overtime and Tavares buried it from the right circle to give the Islanders the victory.  2-1 Final.

Roli’s Place
Dwayne Roloson may never have another game like the 58 save masterpiece he had in Toronto last season, but he made 29 saves to earn the win for the second straight game.  Roloson, who has never given up more than four goals in a game in Toronto, is now 3-1 in his last 4 starts at the ACC, stopping 158/166 shots (95.2 save percentage).  JS Giguere made 18 saves for the Leafs, who outshot the Isles 30-20.

Still Number 1
With the win, the Isles improve to 1-1-1 on the road and 3-1-2 overall.  With eight points in six games, the Isles still own a share of the Atlantic Division lead with Pittsburgh, who also won on Monday – the Penguins have played seven games.

Goal a Game Guys
Tavares’ winning goal was scored on the power play; the Isles have scored with the extra man in three straight games.  While the Leafs did tie the game on the power play, the Isles have killed 13 of 15 over the last three games.

In the Circle
The Isles won 34 of 56 draws (61%).  John Tavares had one of the best face-off games of his young career, winning 12 of 14 (86%). Zenon Konopka won 11 of 17 (65%); it’s the fifth time in six games that he has won at least 60% of his draws.   

12.8% From The Floor

The Isles were held to a season-low 20 shots on goal.  Since peppering Dallas with 47 shots on Opening Night, the Isles have had only 125 shots in the last five games (25.0 average).  They have scored 16 goals in those five games (12.8 shooting percentage).

It’s Not How Many on Goal, It’s How Many in the Goal
The Isles are now 6-3-0 under Scott Gordon when they are held to 20 shots or fewer.  John Tavares had a big part in their last win with 20 shots or less, as well – recording 5 points in Vancouver last March 16.  The Isles have won 9 of their last 12 (9-3-0) when held to 20 shots or fewer.

On The Mark
Mark Eaton played a season-high 23:34.  He had only one game with more ice-time all last season (24:11 in San Jose for the Penguins on November 7th).

It’s Spelled T-E-A-M

The Isles blocked 23 shots; every Islander defensemen had at least one.

The Long Road Ahead

This is the fourth game in a 15 game stretch that will find the Islanders playing 12 on the road and only three at home.  They are now 2-1-1 in the first four games.  This was the first game of a 4-game road trip, with games in Tampa (Thursday), Florida (Saturday) and Montreal (next Wednesday) upcoming.  The Isles will not be back at the Coliseum until October 29th; their only other home game in this stretch is on November 6.

Missing Men
The Isles used the same line-up that they used on Saturday. Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and Rob Schremp remain out for extended periods; Trent Hunter (foot) did not make the trip.  Josh Bailey left the game with a hip flexor; the injury was suffered in the first period – he played a couple of shifts early in the second period as well.

The Goals Keep Coming
The Isles have scored 20 goals in the first six games; it’s  only the second time since the 1992-93 season that they have scored at least 20 over the first six games (26 in first six games of 2001-02).

MacArthur Parked
Clark MacArthur, who became the first player in Maple Leaf history to score in each of his first four games with Toronto (5 goals total) was stopped by the Isles on just a single shot.

Season Series Stats   
The Isles lead the season series 1 game to none.  The teams will play again on Long Island on February 8th.  They will play the remaining three games of the season series in a 4-week period, all on Tuesday nights.  The Isles have beaten Toronto three straight times for the first time since 2007 and are 5-1-2 in their last eight games against the Leafs.

This One Is Hard to Believe

The Isles are now 3-1-2, giving them eight points in six games.  This equals their second-best six-game start in the Post Cup era.  The Isles were 5-0-1 (11 points) in 2001-02, but haven’t earned more than eight points in any other season since the 1982-83 Champions opened 5-1-0.  They also earned eight points in the first six games in 193-84, 1984-85 and 1987-88.  
It’s Early, But…
The Isles’ eight points equals the total of their local rival Rangers (5) and Devils (3)…combined.

Happy Anniversary Chico

Monday marked the 33rd anniversary of the first scoreless tie in Islander history.  On October 18, 1977, Chico Resch and Los Angeles’ Rogatien Vachon battled to the 60-minute deadlock.  Meanwhile, about 20 miles away, Reggie Jackson hit three home runs to lead the Yankees to the World Championship.   33 years from now, will John Tavares and Cliff Lee be linked?

Up Next
Thursday, October 21- Islanders @ Tampa Bay Lightning 7:30
[MSG+2 (Islanders pre-game at 7:00pm), WRHU 88.7FM]

Game 2 of this four-game trip is in Tampa against the Lightning Wednesday.
The Lightning are also off to a good start; they handed Dallas their first loss of the season on Monday night to move into a tie for first place in the Southeast Division.  Steven Stamkos is off to a solid start, with 5 goals and 4 assists in the first five games.

The Bolts took three of four from the Isles last season, outscoring the Isles 17-9.  The Islanders have dropped three straight in Tampa since Trent Hunter’s overtime goal gave Scott Gordon his second win as an Islander coach two October’s ago.

Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in “The Skinny” has been gathered from various sources.

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