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The Skinny: Panthers 5 Islanders 3

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
“The Skinny” 

Game 63
Florida 5, Isles 3

Shawn Matthias scored two goals and added an assist as the Florida Panthers rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits for a 5-3 victory over the Isles 6-1 before a crowd of 13,308 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  Florida scored four unanswered goals in the third period as they climbed within one point of the Isles in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Scoring:
1st Period

06:41 NYI Thomas Vanek (20) Snap shot - ASST: Cal Clutterbuck (5), Calvin de Haan (10) 1 - 0 NYI   
07:39 NYI PPG - Thomas Vanek (21) Snap - ASST: Lubomir Visnovsky (4), Frans Nielsen (26)  2 - 0 NYI   

2nd Period
18:15 FLA Shawn Matthias (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Scottie Upshall (18)     2 - 1 NYI   
19:14 NYI Ryan Strome (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Thomas Vanek (32), Kyle Okposo (36)     3 - 1 NYI   

3rd Period
03:16 FLA Marcel Goc (11) Slapshot - ASST: Jonathan Huberdeau (15), Tom Gilbert (24) 3 - 2 NYI   
04:18 FLA Shawn Matthias (9) Wrist shot - ASST: Jimmy Hayes (2), Jonathan Huberdeau (16) 3 - 3 Tie   
10:31 FLA Scottie Upshall (11) Snap shot - ASST: Shawn Matthias (7), Brian Campbell (22) 4 - 3 FLA   
15:26 FLA PPG - Scottie Upshall (12) Wrist shot - ASST: Dylan Olsen (8), Dmitry Kulikov (7) 5 - 3 FLA

The Skinny: 
The Isles are 1-7-1 in their last nine home games (including 1-6-1 in their last eight games at the Coliseum)… The Isles are 4-12-5 in their last 21 home games… It is only the third time in franchise history that they have won as few as 9 of their first 33 home games (7-22-4 in 1972-73 and 8-21-3-1 in 1999-2000)…Josh Bailey’s assist/point streak ended at four games…Thomas Vanek had a three-point game for the first time as an Islander… The Isles are 10-6-2 with Ryan Strome in the lineup; Strome’s goal was his first at even-strength in the NHL… The Isles allowed four third period goals; it is the 22nd time this season they have allowed at least 3 goals in a period.

The Lost Leads
The Isles are now 6-3-3 in games that they have led after one period and are 8-5-4 in games that they have led after two periods.  At home, Isles are 4-2-3 when they lead after one period and 7-4-4 when they lead after two periods.

The Isles have allowed six 2-goal leads to get away in the third period this season:

•    Led Columbus 2-0, lost 3-2 in shootout
•    Led Los Angeles 2-0, lost 3-2
•    Led @ San Jose 2-0, won 3-2 in shootout
•    Led Tampa 2-0, lost 3-2 in shootout
•    Led Anaheim 3-1, lost 5-3
•    Led Florida 3-1, lost 5-3

The Isles have now lost third period leads 16 times this season, including 14 times at home.  They are 5-5-6 in those 16 games.

Move Over AO and BO, Here Comes Vanek
Thomas Vanek’s two goals were his 270th and 271st of his career, catching and then passing Bobby Orr on the all-time list.  Vanek has scored at least 20 goals in each of his nine NHL seasons; Alex Ovechkin is the only other player who has scored at least 20 goals in each of the last nine seasons while the Rangers’ Rick Nash needs one goal (he has 19 this season) to join Ovechkin and Vanek.

The Shots:

Isles         14-13-11=38
Panthers  11-10-13=34

The Isles have been outshot their opponents only once in their last eight games and only three times in the last 17 games.

Home and Road
The Islanders are 23-32-8 overall, 9-16-8 at home (including 0-1-0 at Yankee Stadium) and 14-16-0 on the road.   The Isles are 2-8-1 in their last 11 games.

Florida is 23-31-7 overall; they are 11-13-4 at home and 12-18-3 on the road. The Panthers scored five goals in a game for the first time since January 20th.

By Division
The Isles are 6-15-3 in Division games and are 17-17-5 in games against other divisions. They are 8-6-3 vs. the Atlantic Division, 6-5-1 vs. Central Division, and 3-6-1 vs. the Pacific Division.

The Isles have losing records against every division opponent except Washington (1-1-1 with one to play).  They are 0-3-0 against Carolina, 0-1-1 against Columbus, 1-2-0 against New Jersey, 2-3-0 against New York, 1-3-0 against Philadelphia, and 1-2-1 against Pittsburgh.

This was the first of eight consecutive games against non-divisional opponents.

In the Nets
Anders Nilsson made 29 saves but falls to 1-3-2 on the season. 

Tim Thomas made 35 saves for Florida; Thomas is 16-19-3 on the season and 12-6-1 in his career against the Isles.

Power Plays
The Islanders were 1-6 while Florida was 1-4. 

The Isles are 15-8-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 8-24-4 when they do not.  The Isles are 10-18-3 when they allow at least one power play goal and 13-14-5 when they do not. 

The Isles are 4-19 in the last four games on the power play after going 0-30 in their prior seven games.  The Isles had killed 42 of 46 (91.3%) over the last 15 games before allowing five goals in 12 times short this weekend. 

Feast or Famine
The Isles PP went 10-33 in the first 10 games, before going 7-79 in the next 24 games. They rebounded to go 11-32 in the following 11 games but are only 8-74 in their last 18 games.

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 20-8-3 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 3-24-5 when they do not. 

Comeback Kids
The Isles are 10-9-6 when they score first and are 13-23-2 when they allow the opening goal.  The Isles have allowed the first goal in 18 of their last 25 games.

Second to The One
Jack Capuano became the 2nd coach in Islander history to win 100 games in Toronto on January 7th and became the 2nd coach in Islander history to coach 250 games on January 27th against Boston. He is 2nd on the all-time Islander list in both games coached (258) and wins (107).

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.    Al Arbour 1,500
2.    Jack Capuano 258
3.    Mike Milbury 191
4.    Terry Simpson 187
5.    Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.    Al Arbour 740
2.    Jack Capuano 107
3.    Terry Simpson 81
4.    Peter Laviolette 77
5.    Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
Thomas Vanek: "Most of the time, if you don't bury a team, they'll get back in it somehow.”

Ryan Strome: "Having a 3-1 lead going into the third, it's tough [to lose]. Obviously, everyone's got to play hard to the end. Regardless of what happens on the ice, you have to bounce back and find a way."

They (Okay, I) Tweeted It
@ehornick Ninja Turtles have taken over the Coliseum.  Lots of kids on the concourse. #isles

The Coach
“The way that we are losing is frustrating to me because it isn’t a structural problem or a systematic function of what we are doing. We mismanaged the puck.”

The Isles are 6-7-0 in the front-end and 5-6-2 on the back end of back-to-backs this season.  The Isles have swept three back-to-backs:  November 1st/2nd vs. Ottawa and Boston; January 6th/7th vs. Dallas and Toronto and January 20th/21st vs. Philadelphia and the Rangers.

In the 13 sets of back-to-backs, they have earned 4 points three times, 3 points once, 2 points four times, 1 point once and no points on four occasions. 

The Islanders will play their next back-to-back set this Wednesday in Edmonton and this Thursday in Calgary.

Leading Ice Men
Andrew MacDonald led the Isles with 25:56 of ice-time; Dmitry Kulikov led Florida with 24:07.

The Isles are 15-17-6 when MacDonald leads in ice-time, are 8-10-2 when Hamonic leads, are 0-1-0 when Okposo leads, are 0-1-0 when Strait leads, are 0-2-0 when Tavares leads and are 0-1-0 when Vanek leads.

In the Circle
The Islanders won 28 of 69 draws (41%).  No Islander center won more they lost (although Kyle Okposo won 3 of 4); Nick Bjugstad won 15 of 22 for Florida.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit Florida 15-14; Colin MacDonald led the Isles with 4 hits while Cal Clutterbuck added 3. Matt Martin missed the game with an injury; his 275 hits lead the NHL by a wide margin.  He had now recorded at least 200 hits in four straight seasons. 

Eric Boulton fought Kyle Barch in the first period. The Isles have received 25 fighting penalties this season: Martin (8), Boulton (7), Carkner (5), McDonald (2), Hamonic (2) and Okposo (1).

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 12 blocked shots.  Andrew Hickey led the way with three blocks; Andrew MacDonald added two and leads the NHL with 198. 

Back to All-Time .500
The Islanders fall back to all-time NHL .500 (1394-1394-447 in 3,235 games). 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.

Andrew MacDonald is the Islanders’ reigning ironman.  He has played 164 consecutive games, and is one of only two Islanders to have played in every game this season.  Thomas Hickey played in his 64th consecutive game. 

Century Club
Andrew MacDonald has the 4th longest consecutive game streak for 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.    Andrew MacDonald 12/19/11- CURRENT 164
5.    Janne Niinimaa 3/13/2004-1/7/2006 136 (**)
6.    Ken Morrow 3/1/1980-12/29/1981 134 (*)
7.    Mark Streit  10/8/2011-4/26/2013 130
8.    Travis Hamonic 2/24/2012-1/12/2014 117
9.    Travis Hamonic 11/24/2011– 2/4/2012 113 (*)

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

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

Missing Men
John Tavares is on injured reserve; Matt Martin missed his third straight game with a lower body injury. Radek Martinek was scratched for the tenth straight game. Matt Carkner replaced Travis Hamonic (suspended) while Frans Nielsen was activated from injured reserve. Mike Halmo was returned to Bridgeport.

The Isles have lost 156 games this season due to injury. 

Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 683
2. Roberto Luongo 367
3. Evgeni Nabokov 346
4. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Wins
17. Rogie Vachon 355
18. Evgeni Nabokov 346
19. Gump Worsley 335
20. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Shutouts, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 124
2. Roberto Luongo 65
3. Evgeni Nabokov 57
4. Tomas Vokoun 51

Career Shutouts
17 John Ross Roach 58
18 Clint Benedict       57
18 Evgeni Nabokov 57
20 Bernie Parent       54
20 Ed Giacomin        54

Career Goals as an Islander
15    Mariusz Czerkawski    145
16    John Tavares     136
17    Jason Blake    127

27    Trent Hunter     99
28    Kyle Okposo    97
29    Mikko Makela     95
29    David Volek     95
31    Randy Wood     94
32    Greg Gilbert     93
32    Garry Howatt     93
34    Travis Green     92
35    Butch Goring    87
36    Tomas Jonsson    84
37    Michael Grabner 81
37    Wayne Merrick    81
37    Dave Scatchard    81
40    Marty McInnis    79
41    Miroslav Satan    78
41    Frans Nielsen    78
43    Claude Lapointe 76

Career Assists as an Islander
16    Ed Westfall    181
17    John Tavares    179
18    Kenny Jonsson    175
19    Alexei Yashin    171
20    Duane Sutter    171
21    Jean Potvin    167
22    Jeff Norton    166
23    Zigmund Palffy    163
24    Frans Nielsen    162
25    David Volek    154
26    Mariusz Czerkawski 150
27    Kyle Okposo    148   
28    Travis Green    145
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
24    Eddie Westfall    493
25    Radek Martinek 479
26    Gerry Hart    476
29    Scott Lachance 450
30    Frans Nielsen     428
31    Jason Blake      426

34    Wayne Merrick  411
35    Jean Potvin    402
36    David Volek     396
37    Bert Marshall    392
38    Travis Green     388
39    Josh Bailey     387
40    Anders Kallur     383
41    Kyle Okposo     381
42    Randy Wood     381
43    John Tavares     350
44    Dave Scatchard    347

Career Points as an Islander
16    Ziggy Palffy    331
17    John Tavares     315
18    Mariusz Czerkawski    295
24    David Volek    249
25    Kyle Okposo     244
26    Frans Nielsen     240
27    Ray Ferraro    238

Season Series Stats
The Panthers lead the season series 2 games to 0 (and 4 points to 0) with one game to play.  Florida returns to Long Island on April 1st.   The Isles are 4-2-0 in their last six games against the Panthers, but have lost the last two.

Happy Anniversary
3 years ago tonight (3-1-11):  Blake Comeau scored two goals and Frans Nielsen added three assists as the Isles defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-1 at the Coliseum.

All-time, the Isles are 9-11-4 on this date, but are 5-2-2 in their last nine games on March 2nd.

On The Farm
Bridgeport suffered back-to-back 2-1 home-ice losses this weekend, breaking their seven game win streak.  Bridgeport is 26-26-1-4 on the season. Kevin Poulin was in nets for both defeats. The Sound Tigers are off until next Friday and Saturday, when they head to St. John’s (Newfoundland) to play two games against the Ice Caps

Up Next
[MSG-Plus (Isles Pre-game at 7:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]

The Isles will play their final game before Wednesday’s 3pm Eastern Time NHL trading deadline when they begin a 4-game trip through Western Canada against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets defeated the Isles 3-2 at the Coliseum on Thanksgiving Eve, but the Isles are 3-0-1 in Manitoba since the Jets returned to the NHL.  In their last visit, last April 20th, John Tavares’ shootout winner extended the Islanders’ point streak to ten straight games.

The Isles own 5 wins, a tie and an overtime loss in Winnipeg since a 3-1 loss to the original Jets on November 20, 1991.

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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