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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 32

Isles 5, New Jersey 1

Josh Bailey scored two first period goals and Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves as the Islanders spoiled Jacques Lemaire’s return to the bench, defeating the Devils 5-1 before 13,312 at the Prudential Center in Newark.  The Isles sweep a set of back-to-backs for the first time this season and extend their point streak to four, matching the season high set in October.

A Bailey Period
Josh Bailey had two great chances against the Lightning on Wednesday.  In the first 5:39 on Thursday, he had two goals, converting a Jamie Langenbrunner giveaway for the first goal and then adding the Isles’ first power play goal on the road since November 4th in Ottawa.  It’s the second time in his NHL career that Bailey has scored twice in a game; he also scored twice on March 21, 2009 in Ottawa.

Tavares Makes it 3-0
John Tavares then made it 3-0 for the Isles with his 10th goal of the season coming at the 11 minute mark of the opening session as he converted a rebound of a Travis Hamonic shot.   Tavares has now five points in the last four games (2-3-5); it’s his second streak of at least four games this season (5-game streak in October). The Devils called timeout and then settled down but the opening session ended 3-0 Isles, with New York holding an 8-6 shot advantage.

Rollie’s Time
The remainder of the game belonged to Dwayne Roloson; the Isles were outshot 29-6 over the final two periods.  Travis Zajac got the Devils on the board early in the second period but any hopes for a Devils comeback were short-circuited when Frans Nielsen scored on the rebound of a Bailey shot while the Isles were shorthanded midway through the second period. Bailey’s three point game was the second of his career (1/9/2010 in Phoenix). Blake Comeau scored early in the third period to complete the scoring.  5-1 Final.

Home and Road
The Isles are now 8-18-6, 3-11-3 on the road. The Devils are 9-23-2, 5-9-2 at home. With the win, the Isles now hold a two point lead over New Jersey; the Isles have also played two fewer games. The Devils were held to one goal for the fourth straight game (all losses); they are 1-9-0 in their last 10.

In the Nets
Dwayne Roloson makes 34 saves for the second straight night; he has allowed two goals or fewer in 9 of his 17 starts.  The Isles finally scored more than two goals for him.  They had scored 2 goals or fewer in 12 straight Roloson starts (1-10-1).   Martin Brodeur, who has never had a losing season in the NHL, drops to 5-16-1.  It’s the first time in his career that he has played a complete game and allowed at least five goals on fewer than 17 shots.

The Isles outscored the Devils 1-0 in the third period. This ends a streak of 29 consecutive games in which they did not outscore 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.

The Isles also break a 12-game road winless streak (0-10-2), winning for the first time since October 18th in Tampa. It’s their first regulation road win since March 9th in Vancouver, ending a 22-game streak in which the opposition gained at least one point (19-0-3 vs. the Isles)

The Isles sweep a set of back-to-backs for the first time since March 13-14, 2010. 

The Isles were held to 14 shots, fewest since April 7, 2009 in Carolina.  It’s the first time that the Isles have scored at least 5 goals on 16 shots or fewer since scoring 5 on 15 shots on October 20, 2003 vs. Toronto.  It had not happened on the road they scored five goals on 16 shots on November 30, 1990 at the Meadowlands.

Power Plays
The Isles scored on their only power play attempt.  They have now tallied four times in the last six games with the extra man. The Devils went 0-4 on the power play; it’s the first time in five games that the Isles have not allowed a power play goal.

Nielsen’s goal is his third shorthanded goal of the season, and the first time he has scored shorthanded while not attempting a penalty shot.  It’s the 4th shorthanded goal of the season for the Isles (Milan Jurcina has the other) and the 3rd allowed by New Jersey.  He is the first Islander since Sean Bergenheim in 2008-09 to have at least three SH goals in a season.

As Seen on MSG+2!
Nielsen is the first Islander since Shawn Bates to score at least three shorthanded goals in a season on the road. Bates managed four in 2002-03, scoring in Philadelphia, Florida, Tampa and Toronto.

In the Circle
The Isles had a tough night in the circle, winning 26 of 56 (46%). Zenon Konopka won 9 of 13.  Travis Zajac won 10 of 17 for the Devils.

Missing Men
Mike Mottau is out for the season. Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo, Doug Weight, Trent Hunter and Rick DiPietro remain out.  With Radek Martinek still banged up, Bruno Gervais and Jack Hillen returned to the line-up as the Isles dressed 7 defensemen for the first time this season.  Trevor Gillies was a healthy scratch while Matt Martin missed the second of his two-game suspension.  The Isles have now lost 184 man-games to injury.

Moulson Hurt
The Isles played most of the game with only ten forwards as Matt Moulson was injured on a high hit by Anton Volchenkov in the first period and did not return.  Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 114 games since joining the team last season.  Frans Nielsen, Zenon Konopka, Blake Comeau are the only other Isles to have played every game this season. James Wisniewski is the only Islander defenseman to not miss a game due to injury this season; he has played the most consecutive games on defense for the Isles: 30.

Dropping the Gloves
Zenon Konopka had two fights, with Adam Mair in the first period and with Dave Clarkson late in the game.  Konopka now had eleven fights; only George Parros (12) has had more.

Season Series Stats   
The Isles lead the season series two games to none, and four points to zero.  The next meeting will be on January 17th, an MLK Day matinee as the Coliseum.  The win is the Isles’ first in Newark since March 21, 2008; they had gone 0-6-0 under Scott Gordon in New Jersey over the past two seasons, and were outscored 26-8.  It’s the first time the Isles have ever tallied five times at The Rock; they last scored five in New Jersey on November 2, 2006 at the Meadowlands.

Happy Anniversary
32 years ago today (December 22, 1978):  In one of the memorable games of Bryan Trottier’s career, Bryan tallies five goals and three assists as the Isles pound the Rangers 9-4 at the Coliseum.  Trottier’s six points in the second period set an NHL record for points in a period.

In their history, the Isles are 14-10-2 on this date.

Up Next
Sunday, December 26- Montreal @ Islanders 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The Isles play their traditional Boxing Day game when they entertain Montreal on Sunday.  It’s the third meeting of the season between the teams; the Canadiens swept a home-and-home from the Isles in October that dropped the Isles’ record to 4-4-2.

If you have been following Isles Tuesday Night Trivia on Twitter/Facebook, you already know that the Isles have won four OT games on Boxing Day – more than any other day in their history.

And Finally….
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!  Have a happy and safe holiday.

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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