Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz each scored a goal and added two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied from a 2-0 deficit and defeated the Islanders 6-4 before a crowd of 15,012 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Crosby now has 25 goals and 83 points in 45 regular-season games against the Isles, increasing his career-high totals against any opponent. Both Crosby and Kunitz had 8 points this season against the Isles. Crosby now has nine games with at least three points this season.
The Scoring: 1st Period 01:39 NYI Michael Grabner (8) Snap shot - ASST: Thomas Hickey (10) 1 - 0 NYI 08:21 NYI Brock Nelson (9) Snap shot - ASST: Michael Grabner (10) 2 - 0 NYI 09:32 PIT Chris Kunitz (25) Slapshot - ASST: Sidney Crosby (44), Olli Maatta (14) 2 - 1 NYI 11:24 PIT Sidney Crosby (27) Wrap-around-ASST: Chris Kunitz (27), Matt Niskanen (22) 2 - 2 Tie
2nd Period 05:35 PIT Olli Maatta (5) Backhand shot - ASST: Chris Kunitz (28), Matt Niskanen (23) 3 - 2 PIT 17:44 PIT PPG - Kris Letang (10) Snap shot - ASST: Sidney Crosby (45), James Neal (21)4 - 2 PIT
Michael Grabner’s goal was his first at the Coliseum this season. The Isles were outscored 2-0 in the middle session and have been outscored 72-64 in the 2nd period this season. The 72 goals allowed and 136 combined goals both lead the NHL…The Isles are 8-4-0 in 2014 and are 12-6-0 in their last 18…The Isles have outscored their opponents 22-8 in the third period over the past 14 games …Thomas Vanek’s point streak ended at 6 games but Frans Nielsen extended his assist streak to six straight games, John Tavares extended his point streak to five games and Kyle Okposo extended his point streak to four games.… John Tavares earned an assist. Tavares is second in NHL scoring (23-40-63); it is the second time in his career that Tavares has recorded at least 40 assists.… The Islanders fall to 8-26-10 all-time in games following a victory at Madison Square Garden, including 0-2-0 this season... Kyle Okposo was credited with the Islanders’ fourth goal, following video review. It is his 52nd point, matching his career high…Okposo had ten attempts on goal, including six that were blocked by Penguins…Josh Bailey’s goal was his first in 38 games since he scored the game-winning goal in Pittsburgh on October 25th…Brandon Sutter’s empty-netter was his eighth career goal against the Isles, including five on the Coliseum ice that his father Brent and uncle Duane once roamed…Matt Niskanen had two assists for Pittsburgh, extending his point streak to six games; he also went +3 and is now +29…The Penguins are 9-0-1 in their last five sets of back-to-backs and are 17-5 in their divisional games this season.
Good Nights, Bad Nights Thomas Hickey was +4 and Radek Martinek was +3 while Andrew MacDonald was -4 and Brian Strait was -3. Hickey is the first NHL player to go +4 in a game his team lost in regulation in almost three years; Chris Campoli was +4 in a 7-5 Ottawa loss to Detroit on February 2, 2011. Hickey is the first Islander in at least the last 25 years to go +4 in a regulation loss; Bruno Gervais had a +4 game in an overtime loss to Toronto in 2009. It is Hickey’s 2nd +4 game of the season; no other Islander has had a +4 game in the past two seasons. It’s also the first time in at least 25 years the Isles have had a +4 player and a -4 player in the same game. It’s the first time that Radek Martinek has gone at least +3 since December 23, 2006 vs. Columbus. Hickey improves his team-leading +/- to +7; It’s the second time this season that MacDonald went -4.
What a Month! The Isles are still 8-4-0 in January, with four games to play. It’s the first time since 2003 that the Isles have earned 8 wins in January and matches their most January wins since they earned 9 in January 1990. The Isles have earned ten victories in January only once in franchise history, going 10-4-1 in 1980 (April and May were pretty good that year, too!)
The Shots: Isles 9-7-18=34 Penguins 9-9-11=29
Home and Road The Islanders are 21-25-7 overall, 8-10-7 at home and 13-15-0 on the road. The Isles have won 7 of 10, are 12-6-0 in their last 18 and are 13-7-2 in their last 22 games overall. The Penguins are 36-13-2 overall; they are 21-4-0 at home and 15-9-2 on the road. The Penguins are 21-4-1 in their last 26 games.
By Division The Isles are 5-12-3 in Division games and are 16-13-4 in games against other divisions. They are 7-4-3 vs. the Atlantic Division, 6-4-0 vs. Central Division, and 3-5-1 vs. the Pacific Division.
In the Nets Kevin Poulin made 23 saves but fall to 11-15-0 on the season. He is 7-3-0 in his last ten decisions. Jeff Zatkoff made 30 saves for the Penguins and improves to 8-2-1 on the season. Since losing to the Isles on October 25th, Zatkoff is 8-0-1 in his last nine games.
Power Plays The Islanders were 0-3 while the Penguins were 1-2. The Isles were also unsuccessful on a 49 second 5-on-3 that came about when John Tavares drew two separate penalties 1:11 apart. The Isles are 13-6-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 8-19-3 when they do not. The Isles are 10-15-3 when they allow at least one power play goal and 11-10-4 when they do not. The Islander special teams are much improved as of late. The power play is 15-59 (25.4%) over the last 18 games while the Isles have killed 47 of 56 (83.9%) over the last 19 games while scoring three shorthanded goals.
Tale of Three Seasons The Isles PP went 10-33 in the first 10 games, before going 7-79 in the next 24 games. Since then, the Isles are 15-59 in the last 19 games (including 13-45 in the last 12 games (28.9%)).
Three is a Magic Number The Isles are 19-6-2 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 2-19-5 when they do not.
Comeback Kids The Isles are 9-7-5 when they score first and are 12-18-2 when they allow the opening goal. The Isles have allowed the first goal in 12 of their last 15 games. The Isles have scored first in 14 of their 25 home games but are 6-3-5 in those games.
Second to The One Jack Capuano became the 2nd coach in Islander history to win 100 games in Toronto on January 7th. He is 2nd on the all-time Islander list in both games coached (248) and wins (105).
Most games coached (Islanders): 1. Al Arbour 1,500 2. Jack Capuano 248 3. Mike Milbury 191 4. Terry Simpson 187 5. Scott Gordon 181
Most wins by Islander coaches: 1. Al Arbour 740 2. Jack Capuano 105 3. Terry Simpson 81 4. Peter Laviolette 77 5. Ted Nolan 74
They Said It John Tavares: "We came out really well and then we didn't play well until the last 12 minutes of the game. They played a good road game, and they did a lot of the little things and executed better than us for most of the game."
They Tweeted It @StephenCLorenzo (of the New York Daily News): #Isles night pretty much encapsulated by MacDonald: "We didn't do our jobs." @Jerm00ny It's been the same theme all year... play a full 60 minutes and good things happen.. when you dont well we saw what happened tonight #Isles @AMalmut Tough loss for #Isles tonight. However, fun game to watch. Good pick for national game tonight #NHLonNBC
The Coach "You watch 87 out there -- he was chipping pucks and going after them, he wasn't overhandling the puck and he's the best player in the world…Not everybody had a good night for us."
Back-to-Backs The Isles are 6-6-0 in the front-end and 5-5-2 on the back end of back-to-backs this season. This is their third sweep: November 1st/2nd vs. Ottawa and Boston; January 6th/7th vs. Dallas and Toronto. In the twelve 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 three occasions. The Islanders do not play back-to-back again until they host New Jersey and Florida on March 1st and 2nd.
Leading Ice Men For the first time this season, a forward led the Isles in ice-time. Kyle Okposo played 23:19. Both Thomas Vanek and John Tavares also played more than any Islander defenseman. Brooks Orpik led the Penguins with 23:48 of ice-time. The Isles are 14-14-5 when MacDonald leads in ice-time, are 7-10-2 when Hamonic leads, and are 0-1-0 when Okposo leads.
In the Circle The Islanders won only 7 of 21 draws in the first period and 30 of 72 in the game. Casey Cizikas won 10 of 16 draws for the Isles but his teammates won only 20 of 56; Sidney Crosby won 16 of 22 for the Penguins.
Heavy Hitters The Isles out-hit Pittsburgh 22-14. Cal Clutterbuck led the Isles with four hits. Matt Martin added one hit; his 253 hits lead the NHL by a wide margin. He had now recorded at least 200 hits in four straight seasons. Matt Martin fought Tanner Glass in the third period. The Isles have been involved in 20 fights this season: Martin (7), Boulton (5), Carkner (5), McDonald (2), and Okposo (1).
Giving Up the Body The Isles were credited with 8 blocked shots. Andrew MacDonald led the way with three blocks, as he extended his NHL-leading total to 175.
Five Over All-Time .500 The Islanders fall back to five games over all-time NHL .500 (1392-1387-446 in 3,225 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.
Ironmen Frans Nielsen is the Islanders’ reigning ironman. He has played 183 consecutive games, and is one of four Islanders to have played in every game this season. Other ironman streaks: Andrew Mac Donald (154), Matt Martin (114), and Thomas Hickey (54).
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 154 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 Lubomir Visnovsky and Evgeni Nabokov remain on injured reserve. Travis Hamonic missed his sixth game with an upper body injury. Matt Carkner and Eric Boulton were scratched for the second straight game. The Isles have lost 141 games this season due to injury.
Nobody Beats the Viz The Isles were 19-12-4 last season and are 3-3-2 this season with Lubomir Visnovsky in the lineup. They were 5-5-3 last season and are 18-22-5 this season without him in the lineup.
Career Goals as an Islander 15 Mariusz Czerkawski 145 16 John Tavares 135 17 Jason Blake 127
28 Mikko Makela 95 28 David Volek 95 30 Randy Wood 94 31 Kyle Okposo 93 31 Greg Gilbert 93 31 Garry Howatt 93 34 Travis Green 92 35 Butch Goring 87 36 Tomas Jonsson 84 37 Wayne Merrick 81 37 Dave Scatchard 81 39 Marty McInnis 79 40 Michael Grabner 78 40 Miroslav Satan 78 42 Frans Nielsen 77 43 Claude Lapointe 76
Career Assists as an Islander 16 Ed Westfall 181 17 John Tavares 177 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 161 25 David Volek 154 26 Mariusz Czerkawski 150 27 Travis Green 145 28 Kyle Okposo 144 29 Steve Thomas 140
Career Games as an Islander (skaters) 24 Eddie Westfall 493 25 Radek Martinek 479 26 Gerry Hart 476
32 Dave Langevin 422 33 Frans Nielsen 420 34 Wayne Merrick 411 35 Jean Potvin 402 36 David Volek 396 37 Bert Marshall 392 38 Travis Green 388 39 Anders Kallur 383 40 Randy Wood 381 41 Josh Bailey 377 42 Kyle Okposo 371 43 Dave Scatchard 347 44 Alexei Yashin 346 45 Mark Parrish 345 46 John Tavares 343 47 Marty McInnis 337
Career Points as an Islander 16 Ziggy Palffy 331 17 John Tavares 312 18 Mariusz Czerkawski 295
24 David Volek 249 25 Ray Ferraro 238 25 Frans Nielsen 238 27 Travis Green 237 27 Kyle Okposo 237 29 Kenny Jonsson 232
Season Series Stats The Penguins win the season series 3 games to 1 (and 6 points to 3). It’s the seventh straight season that the Pens have won the season series. Had Brandon Sutter not hit the empty net in the final seconds, all four games this season would have been decided by a single goal. Pittsburgh outscored the Isles 16-13, including 5-1 on their respective power plays.
Happy Anniversary 41 years ago tonight (1-23-73): The most memorable game the Isles have played on this night might have been the first. On the night that President Nixon announced the end of the war in Vietnam, leading to wild cheers inside the Coliseum, Craig Cameron scores the Islanders first-ever home ice hat trick as the Isles beat California 8-1. Howie Rose was at that game and recalled “I remember one of the Islanders, Craig Cameron, skating around in a circle, banging his stick on the ice in jubilation.” All-time, the Isles are 7-8-0 on this date, having gone 0-4-0 since a win in 2004.
On The Farm Bridgeport is 15-22-1-4 on the season. Anders Lee leads Bridgeport (and is tied for the AHL rookie lead) with 16 goals. Ryan Strome leads the team (and all AHL rookies) in assists (27); he also leads the Sound Tigers in points (36). Bridgeport begins a 3-game in 3-day weekend in Portland on Friday.
Up Next SATURDAY, JANUARY 25th —ST.LOUIS AT ISLANDERS 1:00PM [MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 12:30pm), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]
The Islanders and Blues meet for the final time in the regular season as they complete the season series at the Coliseum.
St. Louis handed the Isles one of their worst defeats of the season, beating the Isles 5-1 at Scottrade Center in early December.
It will be the Blues’ first appearance at the Coliseum since a 5-2 Islander win on March 5, 2011. The Isles are 2-0-2 in their last four at home against St. Louis, who last won at the Coliseum in regulation back in 2004.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since January 21, 1982. Information contained in “The Skinny” has been gathered from various sources. Follow Eric @ehornick on Twitter.