Penguins 4, Isles 2
Brandon Sutter scored the winning goal early in the third period and the Pittsburgh Penguins survived a frantic Islander rally to defeat the Islanders 4-2 before a crowd of 11,318 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Marc-Andre Fleury ended a personal three-game losing streak to the Isles, and he earned it—making 32 saves, including 16 during Islander power plays.
02:58PITPPG - J. Neal (6) Wrist - ASST: S. Crosby (10) 1 - 0 PIT
16:00PITS. Despres (2) Snap - ASST: C. Kunitz (6) AND K. Letang (6) 2 - 0 PIT
01:44PITB. Sutter (2) Slap - ASST: M. Cooke (2) 3 - 0 PIT
03:14NYIM. Grabner (5) Tip-In - ASST: K. Okposo (3) AND F. Nielsen (8) 3 - 1 PIT
03:49NYIB. Boyes (3) Backhand - ASST: M. Moulson (5) AND B. Strait (1) 3 - 2 PIT
19:21PITEN - P. Dupuis (3) Wrist - ASST: P. Martin (4) 4 - 2 PIT
The Skinny: The Penguins have won four straight since losing to the Isles last Tuesday; Pittsburgh has scored first in nine of their first 10 games (with the Isles win on January 29th being the only time they have allowed the first goal … The Isles went 0-for-7 on the power play for the second straight game; it’s the first time since March 28-30, 2003 that the Isles have failed on at least seven power plays in consecutive games without scoring a goal in either game. The Isles are 0-9-1 in their last ten games when they go 0-for-7 (or worse) on the power play … 28 of the 59 goals scored in Islanders games this season have come in the third period (11 in 1st, 18 in 2nd and 2 in OT) … Brian Strait recorded his first point as an Islander; his only other NHL point came on March 27, 2012 for the Penguins in a game against the Islanders … Michael Grabner took over the team lead in goals. Grabner now has seven points (five goals, two assists) this season … Frans Nielsen assisted on the Grabner goal to take over the team lead in assists.
A Bunch of Misses:
As the third period started, we wondered if the Isles would be shutout in consecutive games, both at home, for only the second time in their history (12/30/00-1/2/01) and shutout in consecutive home games for only the third time in their history (12/30/00-1/2/01 and 2/10/73-2/20/73). Later we wondered if the Isles could rebound from a three-goal deficit to earn a point for the first time since 4/11/10 (also vs. Pittsburgh). In the end, none of these happened.
This was the first time all season that Pittsburgh has been outshot and the third time (2-1-0) the Isles have outshot their opponent.
Home and Road
The Islanders are 4-4-1 overall, 1-3-0 at home and 3-1-1 on the road.
Pittsburgh is 7-3-0 overall, 1-2-0 at home and 6-1-0 on the road.
In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov made 22 saves but falls to 4-3-1 on the season. Nabokov, who has never allowed a goal to either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, is now 10-3-0 in his career against the Penguins.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves as he broke a personal three-game losing streak to the Isles. Fleury came within 16:46 of establishing a Penguins record for career shutouts; he remains tied with Tom Barrasso (22 each).
The Isles went 0-for-7 on the power play for the second straight game while Pittsburgh was 1-for-3. The Isles are 2-25 (8%) on the power play at home and 7-13 (53.8%) on the power play on the road.
New First Line
Brad Boyes joined John Tavares and Matt Moulson on the top line. The trio combined for one goal, one assist and 13 shots on goal. Seven of the shots were at even-strength while six came on the power play.
They Said It
Dan Bylsma: “I don't think you can say enough about the penalty kill tonight. [Fleury] stood tall in there, especially in the second."
They (Actually I) Tweeted It
@ehornick: #isles have now gone 118:29 without a goal at Coliseum since Ullstrom's goal early in the 3rd pd on MLK Day. (That was written in the second intermission; the streak ended at 121:43.)
“I thought we played a solid 5-on-5 game...Happy with the energy and the work effort.”
Head of the Class
John Tavares has 213 career points; he is 54 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 four goals this season; John Tavares has earned an assist on two of them. Tavares has now been on-ice for 64 consecutive Moulson goals, earning assists on 42 of them, dating back to a Moulson goal on November 17, 2010 against Tampa Bay.
107 NHL Goals
Moulson has 107 career goals (101 as an Islander). While 262 players were selected before the Penguins chose Moulson in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, only 17 have more goals.
All four of Matt Moulson’s goals this season have come on the road. Scoring on the road is nothing new for Moulson; 23 of his 36 goals last season also came on the road. Only Steven Stamkos (24) had more.
Leading Ice Men
Marc Streit led the Isles with 29:01. Kris Letang led Pittsburgh with 25:19.
In the Circle
The Islanders won 28 draws; the Penguins won 25. John Tavares won 14-of-23 for the Isles; Sidney Crosby won 11-of-22 for Pittsburgh, but only 3-of-12 after leaving the game momentarily when he was hit in the face by a puck.
The Islanders were out-hit 21-13; Matt Martin led the Isles with five hits. Martin also fought Trevor Glass in the first period. It was the Islanders’ sixth fight of the season.
The Islanders fall to two games over .500 all-time (1351-1349-433 in 3133 games). The Isles twice last season fell one game below .500. Prior to that, they had not been below .500 since they were 177-178-83 before their victory on January 16, 1978.
4 is a Magic Number
The Isles are 4-0-1 when scoring at least four goals and 0-4-0 when scoring two or less. (The Isles have not scored exactly three goals in any game so far this season.)
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 1-2-0 so far in this stretch, with two games at MSG, and home games against Buffalo, Carolina, New Jersey and Philadelphia remaining.
Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 255 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 168 consecutive games, while Nielsen and Streit have each played in 91.
Longest Consecutive Game Streaks, Islander History
1. Billy Harris 576
2. Bob Nystrom 301
3. Denis Potvin 262
4. Matt Moulson 255
Eric Boulton and Joe Finley were scratched; Radek Martinek is on injured reserve. Colin McDonald returned to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension. Josh Bailey and Jesse Joensuu remain suspended after suffering injuries in Europe. Lubomir Visnovsky has not yet reported.
Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 660
2. Roberto Luongo 341
3. Nikolai Khabibulin 328
4. Evgeni Nabokov 316
5. Miikka Kiprusoff 313
21. Sean Burke 324
22. Evgeni Nabokov 316
23. Miikka Kiprusoff 313
Career Goals as an Islander
22Benoit Hogue 105
22Ed Westfall 105
24Matt Moulson 101
24Anders Kallur 101
26Trent Hunter 99
32Travis Green 92
33John Tavares 88
34Butch Goring 87
Career Assists as an Islander – active players
4Kyle Okposo 95
Career Games as an Islander (skaters)
48Shawn Bates 330
49Frans Nielsen 328
50Eric Cairns 327
51Alan Kerr 326
59Arron Asham 300
59Roman Hamrlik 300
61Josh Bailey 292
62Gord Dineen 287
63Jeff Norton 282
64Kyle Okposo 280
70Pierre Turgeon 255
70Matt Moulson 255
72John Tavares 252
73Jude Drouin 250
74Mark Streit 247
74Brad Isbister 247
74Brendan Witt 247
77Sean Bergenheim 246
Career Points as an Islander
32John Tavares 213
41Matt Moulson 179
42Frans Nielsen 175
50Kyle Okposo 165
Season Series Stats
The season series is even at one game each (and two points apiece). The teams will meet again on March 22 at the Coliseum and March 10 and March 30 in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins have won four of their last five games on Long Island (Isles are 1-3-1).
28 years ago (2-5-85): Mike Bossy scored his 40th goal of the season and added four assists while Brandon Sutter’s dad Brent scored a goal and added an assist as the Islanders beat the Flyers 7-5 at the Coliseum.
All-time, the Isles are 8-7-1 on this date, although they have lost four of the last five.
On The Farm
Bridgeport is now 20-19-2-3. The Sound Tigers are off until the weekend, when they host Portland on Saturday night and Worcester in Sunday afternoon.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7 ISLANDERS AT RANGERS (7:00PM)
[MSG+ 2(Pre-game show at 6:30PM), WRHU (88.7FM)]
The Islanders and Rangers meet for the first of four times this season at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
The Rangers won the season series four games to two (and nine points to five) last season. Marian Gaborik’s overtime goal was the winner in the teams’ last meeting (3/11/2012) and the overtime loss gave the Isles their only point in their last seven visits to Manhattan. It’s the first time since March 4, 1987- January 30, 1989 (0-6-1) that the Isles have gone winless in seven trips to MSG.
The Isles will be looking to avoid tying the franchise record for longest winless streak at MSG: eight, which was set in the first eight games ever between the teams.
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.