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The Skinny: Sharks 4, Islanders 3

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
“The Skinny”  

Game 68
San Jose 4, Isles 3

Rookies Anders Lee and Brock Nelson each scored goals, but a late Islander rally fell short as the San Jose Sharks held on for a 4-3 victory over the Islanders before a crowd of 13,218 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  The Isles are 1-8-1 in their last ten home games (including 1-7-1 in their last nine games at the Coliseum).
The Scoring:

1st Period
13:27    SJS    Matt Nieto (10) Wrist shot - ASST: Logan Couture (26), Patrick Marleau (32) 1 - 0 SJS    
14:46    SJS    Jason Demers (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Marty Havlat (7), James Sheppard (12) 2 - 0 SJS    

2nd Period
00:32    NYI    Anders Lee (6) Backhand shot - ASST: Frans Nielsen (27), Kyle Okposo (40) 2 - 1 SJS    
09:32    SJS    Joe Thornton (10) Wrist shot - ASST: Brent Burns (17)     3 - 1 SJS    
17:02    NYI    Brock Nelson (12) Tip-in - ASST: Matt Donovan (9), Josh Bailey (21) 3 - 2 SJS    
18:15    SJS    Marty Havlat (7) Wrist shot - ASST: James Sheppard (13) 4 - 2 SJS    

3rd Period
19:38    NYI    Frans Nielsen (21) Backhand shot - ASST: Kyle Okposo (41), Anders Lee (3) 4 - 3 SJS

The Skinny:  
Kyle Okposo had two assists, giving him five helpers in the last two games; he now has a team-leading 67 points on the season (which is tied-6th in the NHL)…Colin McDonald’s point streak ended at four games; McDonald, along with Matt Martin and Ryan Strome, went -3 on the night…San Jose’s win gave them temporary possession of the Pacific Division lead, but Anaheim recaptured the Division lead with a win over Colorado…There was only one penalty called in the game; the Isles did not have a power play opportunity for the first time since March 16, 2013 at Florida…It’s the 9th time this season that the opponent has had only one power play…Anders Lee now has 7 goals in his first 10 NHL games; he is 4-3-7 in his last five games; he has four multi-point games in eight games this season and has at least one point in 7 of 10 career games.  Only 24 NHL rookies have more goals than Lee, who made his season debut on February 27th.…Antii Niemi improves to 153-73-32 in his NHL career; he has the best winning percentage of any active NHL goalie…Frans Nielsen’s 6th attacker goal was his 21st goal of the season; he is now 21-27-48 on the season with both his goals and points representing new career highs. Nielsen also had a career-high 8 shots on goal (matching Michael Grabner on 10/15/13 vs. Buffalo for the season-high by an Islander)…The Sharks are 8-1-1 in the first 10 games of a 12-game stretch in which they are facing only Eastern Conference opponents; San Jose is 20-6-3 this season against the Eastern Conference… The Isles are 4-13-5 in their last 22 home games… It is only the third time in franchise history that they have won as few as 9 of their first 34 home games (7-23-4 in 1972-73 and 8-21-4-1 in 1999-2000)…The Isles are eight games under NHL-.500 at home for the first time since ending the 2000-2001 season with a 12-27-1-1 Coliseum record.

The Shots:
Isles     11-11-16=38
Sharks 12-7-7=26

The Isles have been outshot only twice in the last 12 games.

Home and Road
The Islanders are 25-34-9 overall, 9-17-8 at home (including 0-1-0 at Yankee Stadium) and 16-17-1 on the road. The Isles are 4-10-2 in their last 16 games.

San Jose is 44-17-7 overall; they are 25-4-4 at home and 19-13-3 on the road. The Sharks have won 5 straight games and will be looking for their fourth 6-game win streak of the season on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

By Division
The Isles are 6-15-3 in Division games and are 19-19-6 in games against other divisions. They are 8-6-3 vs. the Atlantic Division, 7-5-1 vs. Central Division, and 4-8-2 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 sixth of eight consecutive games against non-divisional opponents. The Isles are 2-3-1 in this stretch.

In the Nets
Evgeni Nabokov made 22 saves in his first career appearance against the Sharks.  Nabokov is 12-14-6 on the season.

Antii Niemi made 33 saves for San Jose as he improves to 33-13-6 on the season.

Power Plays
The Islanders did not have a power play opportunity while San Jose was 0-1.  

The Isles are 16-8-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 9-26-5 when they do not.  The Isles are 14-18-4 when they allow at least one power play goal and 14-16-5 when they do not.  

The Isles were 7-65 in the last 16 games on the power play and have allowed eight power play goals in 27 times short over the last seven games.

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 11-90 in their last 23 games.

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 22-10-3 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 3-24-6 when they do not.  

Comeback Kids
The Isles are 10-9-7 when they score first and are 15-25-2 when they allow the opening goal.  The Isles have allowed the first goal in 23 of their last 30 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 (263) and wins (109).

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.    Al Arbour 1,500
2.    Jack Capuano 263
3.    Mike Milbury 191
4.    Terry Simpson 187
5.    Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.    Al Arbour 740
2.    Jack Capuano 109
3.    Terry Simpson 81
4.    Peter Laviolette 77
5.    Ted Nolan 74

They Said It
Kyle Okposo: “I thought we played a pretty good game….Anders is on a tear and playing pretty well for us…Right back at it tomorrow; we’ll try to get two points.”
Evgeni Nabokov: “They're experienced and they're disciplined, that's the bottom line.  I thought we played well, but they're not an easy team to play against."
Joe Thornton: "Nabby was a great teammate and one of the best goalies in Sharks history. He's a great teammate and a great friend, but I was glad to score on him"

They Tweeted It
@kupkrazy Anders Lee and Brock Nelson make me feel good for the future. #Isles
@tsnscottcullen Islanders LW Anders Lee 6 G, 3 A in 8 GP; C Frans Nielsen 3 G, 2 A in past 4 GP; RW Kyle Okposo 2 G, 6 A in past 7 GP
@_legohead_ Kyle Okposo is joint 5th in NHL points, and has 8 points in 8 since Tavares was injured #isles

The Coach
“Great effort from our guys tonight…(San Jose) is one helluva hockey team.  We worked hard tonight as a group.”

The Isles are now 6-8-1 in the front-end and 5-7-2 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 14 previous sets of back-to-backs, they have earned 4 points three times, 3 points once, 2 points four times, 1 point twice and no points on four occasions.  

This back-to-back set concludes on Saturday vs. Buffalo.

Leading Ice Men
Travis Hamonic led the Isles with 23:36 of ice-time; Jason Demers led San Jose with 22:26.

The Isles are 15-17-6 when MacDonald leads in ice-time, are 10-12-3 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 29 of 54 draws (54%). Casey Cizikas won 8 of 11 for the Isles; James Sheppard won 8 of 15 for San Jose.

Heavy Hitters
The Isles out-hit San Jose 32-19; Colin McDonald led the Isles with seven hits while Mike Halmo added six. Matt Martin had 5 hits his 297 hits lead the NHL by a wide margin.  He had now recorded at least 200 hits in four straight seasons.  

There were no fights. The Isles have received 28 fighting penalties this season: Martin (10), Boulton (8), Carkner (5), McDonald (2), Hamonic (2) and Okposo (1).

Giving Up the Body
The Isles were credited with 10 blocked shots.  Frans Nielsen and Calvin deHaan each had two blocks.

Back To All-Time .500
The Islanders fall back to all-time NHL .500 (1396-1396-448 in 3,240 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.

Thomas Hickey is the Islanders’ reigning ironman.  He has played 69 consecutive regular season games, and is the only Islander to have played in every game this season.  

Missing Men
John Tavares is on injured reserve. Michael Grabner missed the game with a concussion. Eric Boulton missed his 4th straight game. Matt Carkner and Radek Martinek were scratched for the 4th straight and 15th straight game. Newly-signed Kevin Czuczman was also scratched.

The Isles have lost 166 games this season due to injury.  

Career Wins, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 686
2. Roberto Luongo 369
3. Evgeni Nabokov 347
4. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Wins
17. Rogie Vachon 355
18. Evgeni Nabokov 347
19. Gump Worsley 335
20. Nikolai Khabibulin 333

Career Shutouts, Active Goalies
1. Martin Brodeur 124
2. Roberto Luongo 67
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    98
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 82
38    Frans Nielsen    81
38    Wayne Merrick    81
38    Dave Scatchard    81
41    Marty McInnis    79

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    Frans Nielsen    164
24    Zigmund Palffy    163
25    David Volek    154
26    Kyle Okposo    154    
27    Mariusz Czerkawski 150
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     433
31    Jason Blake      426

34    Wayne Merrick  411
35    Jean Potvin    402
36    David Volek     396
37    Josh Bailey     392
37    Bert Marshall    392
39    Travis Green     388
40    Kyle Okposo     386
41    Anders Kallur     383
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
22    Jason Blake    258
22    Steve Thomas    258
24    Kyle Okposo     252
25    David Volek    249
26    Frans Nielsen     244
27    Ray Ferraro    238

Season Series Stats
The teams split the season series 1 game to 1 (The Sharks earned three points to the Isles’ two).

The Isles rallied from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 shootout win on December 10th at the SAP Center.  That win breaks Islander four game winless streaks vs. the Sharks both overall (0-2-2 since a comeback victory on President’s Day 2008) and in San Jose (0-3-1 since Garth Snow blanked the Sharks 3-0 on February 19, 2003).

This was the Sharks’ first trip to Long Island since October 29, 2011, when the Sharks got an overtime goal by Brent Burns to defeat the Isles 3-2.  The Isles are 1-5-2-2 in their last 10 home games against the Sharks.

Happy Anniversary
8 years ago tonight (March 14, 2006): Rick DiPietro set a career high win his sixth straight win, as the Isles pounded the Devils 6-1.

All-time, the Isles are 7-9-2 on March 14, although they are 4-2-0 in their last six.

On The Farm
Bridgeport is 26-28-2-4 on the season after a 7-0 loss to Manchester on Friday night.

The 3-game in 3-day weekend continues with home games on Saturday vs. Worcester and Sunday vs. Adirondack.

Up Next
[MSG-Plus (Isles Pre-game at 6:30), 88.7 WRHU-FM, 103.9 WRCN-FM]

Former Islander coach Ted Nolan leads the Buffalo Sabres to the Coliseum on Saturday night.  It is the first meeting of the teams since Nolan became the interim Sabres coach on November 13th.

The teams met on October 15th at the Coliseum; then-Sabre Thomas Vanek scored the deciding goal in a shootout victory for Buffalo.  Overall the Isles are 1-2-3 in their last six games against the Sabres, including three shootout losses.  However, Ryan Miller, now with St. Louis, was in nets for all five Sabre wins.  No other Sabre has been in a goal for a win over the Isles since Patrick Lalime was between the pipes for a Columbus Day win in 2008.

The Sabres have dressed 38 skaters and used three goalies so far this season.  This is the middle of three meetings between the teams this season; they will also face each other in the season finale.

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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