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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 31

Isles 2, Tampa Bay 1 (overtime)

Dwayne Roloson needed it.  John Tavares, too.  In the end both earned what they needed as Tavares’ overtime goal, his first in ten games, gave Roloson his first victory since October 18th as the Islanders rallied for a 2-1 win over the Lightning before 7,324 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  The Isles conclude their three-game homestand with a record of 2-0-1.

Ryan Malone…again
Noted Islander nemesis Ryan Malone had the only goal of the first period, connecting with Trevor Gillies in the penalty box.  It was Malone’s 10th goal of the season and 8th on the power play.  Malone now has scored 18 of his 144 career goals against the Isles.  Tampa outshot the Isles 16-3 in the opening session; Josh Bailey, playing his first NHL game since November 21st had the Isles best chance of the session.  The Isles went the final 14 minutes of the period without a shot on goal.

PA Ties It
The Islanders started to get the better of the play in the second period.  With 13 seconds left in the session, they were rewarded when PA Parenteau took a pass from Tavares and beat Dan Ellis to knot the score. It was PA’s second goal in the last three games, and his 6th of the season. The Isles outshot Tampa 10-9 in the second period.  A scoreless third period, with the same 10-9 shot margin sent the game into overtime.

Overtime is Our Time
With 97 seconds left in the extra session, Tavares beat Ellis for the winning goal—his first since November 24th.  James Wisniewski earned his club leading 16th assist; he and Tavares now share the team lead with 18 points. Tavares has now 4 points in the last three games (1-3-4); it’s the first time since he had a 5-game point streak in October that he has recorded points in consecutive games. He also has had six shots on goal in each of the last two games.  2-1 Final.

… Particularly Against Tampa
The Isles have played four overtime games against Tampa in the last four seasons and have won them all:

8-Dec-07    @    Tampa Bay    3    2    Wot
16-Oct-08    @    Tampa Bay    4    3    Wot
21-Oct-10    @    Tampa Bay    3    2    Wot
22-Dec-10    Vs    Tampa Bay    2    1    Wot

Mike Sillinger, Trent Hunter, Matt Moulson and now John Tavares had the winning goals.

Home and Road
The Isles are now 7-18-6, 5-7-3 at home. The Lightning are 19-10-5, 9-8-3 on the road. With the win, the Isles get even in points with New Jersey and they have played two fewer games. The OT loss breaks Tampa’s four game win streak, but the Lightning have still earned points in six straight (4-0-2). Tampa could have tied Washington for the Southeast Division lead with a win; instead they tie Atlanta for second place.

In the Nets
Dwayne Roloson makes 34 saves to record his first win since October 18th.  It’s the 12th straight game that the Isles have scored 2 goals or fewer in a Roloson start (1-10-1). Dan Ellis drops to 9-5-5 on the season; he finished with 26 saves.

Third Period Streak Continues
The third period was scoreless.  They have now gone 29 consecutive games without outscoring their opponents in the final period.  This is the longest such streak in NHL history; the previous high was 23 by St. Louis in 2001 and Montreal in 2002.

Power Plays
The Isles had only two power play attempts and failed to score for the first time in four home games.  They are 3-61 with the extra man in the last 17 games.  The Lightning went 1-6 on the power play; the Isles have allowed a PP goal in four straight games, killing 17 of 22 in that stretch.

In the Circle
The Isles had a tough night in the circle, winning 28 of 62 (45%). Zenon Konopka won 9 of 14.  Former Islander Nate Thompson won 10 of 13 for Tampa.

Missing Men
Mike Mottau is out for the season. Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo, Doug Weight and Trent Hunter remain out. Rick DiPietro has been placed on injured reserve with soreness in his knee. Mark Eaton returned to the line-up; Bruno Gervais and Jack Hillen were healthy scratches while Matt Martin missed the first of his two-game suspension.  The Isles have now lost 177 man-games to injury.

At Least They Have Their Health
Two former Islanders, Nate Thompson and Sean Bergenheim, are among 10 Lightning players who have played every game this season.  While no Islander defensemen has played every game (Wisniewski has missed only two games due to a suspension), Tampa has five defensemen who have played at least 33 of their 34 games.

A First for Almost Everything…
The Isles won for the first time this season when:

•    Allowing the first goal (1-15-3)
•    Trailing after the first period (1-13-3)
•    Trailing after the second period (1-12-1)

… A Second For Tavares
John Tavares recorded his second overtime goal of the season; he scored his last overtime goal in Roloson’s last win (in Toronto in October).  He is the 14th player in Islander history to score multiple overtime goals.

Jurcina Steps Up
Milan Jurcina led the Isles with seven hits and also blocked three shots. The Isles are 2-0-1 since he returned to the lineup and are 6-4-3 in the 13 games that he has played.

Mighty Mac
Andrew MacDonald earned assists on both goals; it’s the first multiple-point game of his career. He was +2 on the night, and is now +1 on the season.  Matt Moulson and Tavares were also +2; it’s the first multiple “plus” rating of the season for either player.

Season Series Stats   
The Isles lead the season series two games to one, with each team earning four points.  The final meeting is March 22nd in Tampa Bay.  The Isles are 9-6-0 in the last 15 games against Tampa Bay.

Happy Anniversary
27 years ago today (December 22, 1983):  John Tonelli, Butch Goring and Anders Kallur all score shorthanded  as the Isles beat Washington 6-1.  It’s the first of three times in Islander history that they have scored three shorthanded goals in a game.

In their history, the Isles are 10-6-1 on this date.

Up Next
Thursday, December 23- Islanders @ Devils 7:00pm
[MSG+2 (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The Isles head to Newark for the first time this season as they face the Devils on Thursday night at the Prudential Center.  With their win tonight, the Isles (20 points in 31 games) climbed over the Devils in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Devils have 33 fewer points than they had on this date a year ago.  They were 26-8-1 at the time, and led the entire NHL with 53 points.

The Isles lead the season series one game to none, blanking the Devils at the Coliseum on Black Friday.  However, the Isles have gone 0-6-0 the past two seasons at the Rock, and have been outscored 26-8 in those games.

The Isles will be looking to break a 12-game road winless streak (0-10-2).  In the last ten of these games, they have scored only nine goals (and have been shutout three times).  This will be the back-end of the 7th set of back-to-backs for the Isles; they are 1-3-2 on back ends so far this season.

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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