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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 38

Oilers 2, Isles 1

Gilbert Brule and Dustin Penner scored 1:55 apart, chasing Nathan Lawson just 5:17 into play and the Edmonton Oilers then road the goaltending of Devan Dubnyk to a 2-1 victory over the Islanders before a sellout crowd of 16,839 at Rexall Place. It’s Edmonton’s 217th consecutive home sellout. The Oilers break their seven-game winless streak (0-5-2) while stopping the Islanders’ three-game winning streak.

Slow Start

Brule gave the Oilers the lead at 3:22 of the first period, converting a rebound of an Andrew Cogliano shot, but the Isles appeared to catch a break when Dubnyk shot the puck over the glass just nine seconds later.  However, Dustin Penner scored shorthanded for Edmonton to give the Oilers a 2-0 advantage. It was Edmonton’s 5th shorthanded goal of the season and 4th allowed by the Isles.

Enter Kevin Poulin

Following the second goal, Capuano pulled Lawson, who had made just one save, and replaced him with 20 year old Kevin Poulin.  Poulin, making his NHL debut, was perfect the rest of the way, making 19 saves.

Isles Get One Back

Blake Comeau returned to the lineup after missing Monday’s game and just seconds after an Islander power play expired, he scored his ninth goal of the season, off a pass from former Oiler Rob Schremp.  Comeau’s goal came at 13:00 of the second period.
Power Play: Lots of Shots, but no Goals
The Isles had three third period power plays but failed to convert, including on a 1:39 5-on-3.  2-1 Final.

From The Elias Geniuses

The Isles played two goaltenders who have never won an NHL game.  It’s the second time this season that an NHL team has done that. On October 13, Nashville dressed Anders Lindback and Mark Dekanich.

Home and Road

Edmonton is 13-19-7, 7-11-3 at home. The Isles are 12-20-6, 5-13-3 on the road. 9 of their 12 wins have come in three distinct three-game win streaks. They are now 8-10-3 under Jack Capuano, including 7-2-1 in the last ten.  It’s their best stretch since a 9-3-1 stretch in late 2009/early 2010.

In the Nets

Dubnyk made 30 saves, including 15 when the Isles were on the power play to reach NHL .500.  He’s 3-3-5 on the season.  Kevin Poulin ends the night as an NHL record holder.  He played 53:43 before vacating the net for an extra attacker; he has played the most time of any goalie in NHL who has never allowed a single goal.

22 Shots Against

The Isles allowed only 22 shots.  They have allowed 22 or fewer four times this season and are 0-3-1 in those games.  They are 0-4-1 in road games that they allowed 22 shots or fewer since winning at Madison Square Garden and holding the Rangers to 19 shots on November 19, 2007.

Power Plays

After going 4-4 on the power play in the last two games, the Isles were 0-7 with the man advantage and allowed a shorthanded goal.  Edmonton had only one power play attempt, which the Isles killed, so they are a perfect 8-8 on the penalty kill in the first three games of this season-long five game road trip. 

In the Circle

The Isles won 39 of 59 (66%) face-offs.  Zenon Konopka was perfect, winning all 11 draws he took, while Rob Schremp won 13 of 18. 

Missing Men
Mike Mottau is out for the season. Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo, Doug Weight, Trent Hunter and Radek Martinek remain out.  Frans Nielsen missed his first game of the season with a groin strain while Rick DiPietro (adductor muscle) and Mark Eaton joined them on the injured list.  The Isles announced on Thursday that Eaton, who played 50:49 in the first two games of this road trip, is out indefinitely with a hip injury. Blake Comeau returned from injury and Trevor Gillies saw 4:07 of ice-time in his first game in the last 9. The Isles have now lost 226 man-games to injury.

Moulson Extends Streak

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 120 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 50 game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 18 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. The Oilers have two players, Tom Gilbert and Andrew Cogliano, who have played every game for the past 3 ½ seasons.

Battle of #1’s

It was the first meeting of John Tavares and Taylor Hall, the #1 overall picks in the last two NHL entry drafts.  Tavares, who had recorded six points in the prior two games, was held pointless, recording 4 shots on goal while winning 11 of 20 face-offs.  Hall played 19:56, including a game-high 18:55 at even strength and finished with three shots on goal.

Getting Younger All the Time
The Isles, who as recently as Saturday had a 41 year old on their roster, dressed only three players over 30: Jon Sim, Trevor Gillies, and Zenon Konopka (30 years, 4 days), and they saw less than 22 minutes of ice-time combined.  With Kevin Poulin in the lineup, the Isles now have three players who were born in the 1990’s (Travis Hamonic and John Tavares are the others; Tavares remains the youngest player on the team)

Season Series Stats   
The Oilers win the only meeting of the season series between the teams that competed for the Stanley Cup in both 1983 and 1984.   The Isles have not won in Edmonton since 2003 (0-3-0).  The Oilers’ win deprived the Isles of a rare Alberta sweep.  The Isles have swept consecutive games in Alberta only once in their history, in October 1982.

A Much Faster 15
The Isles were 5-18-5 on December 15th; their 15 points were the fewest in the NHL.  Since then, the Isles are 7-2-1, earning them 15 points in that stretch.

Happy Anniversary

30 years ago today (January 6, 1981):  Mike Bossy was 2 ½ weeks away from 50 goals in 50 games.  With defenses keying on him, it was John Tonelli’s time to play goal scorer.  Tonelli tied the club record with five goals and Bossy added a club record six assists as the Isles beat Toronto 6-3 at the Coliseum.  The Isles are 8-8-0 all-time on this date.

1,500 Club

This was the 1,501st road game in Islander history.  The Isles are 538-752-211 all-time on the road.  The Isles will also play their 3,000th game on this road trip (next Sunday in Chicago).  Their 1,500th home game will be on January 15th against Buffalo while their 1,500th Nassau Coliseum game will be on January 20th against Washington (each NHL team played two neutral site games in 1992-93 and 1993-94). 

Up Next
Saturday, January 8- Islanders @ Colorado 3:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 2:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The Isles and Avalanche play the second-half of their season series on Saturday afternoon in Denver.  The Isles defeated Colorado 5-2 at the Coliseum on October 16th, extending a remarkable run against the Avalanche.  The Isles are 6-0-2 against Colorado since being shutout 1-0 by Patrick Roy on November 16, 2001.
This is the 4th game of the season-long road trip and the first of a weekend matinee set of back-to-backs.  The Isles will finish the trip in Chicago on Sunday.
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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