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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 39

Isles 4, Colorado 3 (OT)

20-year old John Tavares scored 3:52 into overtime to give 20-year old goaltender Kevin Poulin a win in his first NHL start, as the Islanders rallied from an early 2-0 deficit, built a 3-2 lead, survived a 6th attacker goal at 19:56 of the third and defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 before a crowd of 15,171 at Pepsi Center. The Isles improve to 3-1 on their longest road trip of the season, while is now 2-5-2 in their last nine games.

Slow Start
After holding Edmonton without a goal in his NHL debut on Thursday, Poulin allowed two in the first 1:47.  Milan Hejduk’s 12th goal of the season came just 45 seconds into play; David Koci’s first goal 1:02 later doubled the Av’s advantage.  After allowing the two goals on the first four shots, Poulin settled in and stopped 33 of 34 the rest of the way.

It’s a Power Play Goal  x2
The Isles rebounded in the first period with two power play goals.  Jeremy Colliton, who had scored only one goal in 42 previous NHL games and hadn’t played in the league since the 2008-09 season, scored at 5:52; Blake Comeau’s 10th goal of the season at 12:59, his second in two games, erased the Avalanche advantage.  Colorado outshot the Isles 12-9 in the opening period.

Power Play Goal #3
Colliton, playing an NHL game in front of his parents for the first time in his career, gave the Isles a 3-2 lead 3:17 into the second with his second power play goal of the game.  Colliton was leading Bridgeport with 5 power play goals at the time of his recall.  Each team had 11 shots in the middle session.

Hold on…Hold on….
The Isles protected the lead until 19:56 of the third, when Hejduk’s second goal, this one off a goal mouth scramble, earned Colorado a point and sent the game into overtime.  The Avs outshot the Isles 12-5 in the third.

Overtime is Our Time…Again
John Tavares played hero again in the extra session, making a beautiful move out of the corner and then beating Craig Anderson for the winning goal.  It’s the third overtime goal of the season for Tavares and his 14th overall, tying Matt Moulson for the club lead.  4-3 Final.

Won’t Need This Stat Again for Awhile
For the second straight game, the Isles dressed two goaltenders who had never won an NHL game.  They are the second NHL team to do so this season. On October 13, Nashville dressed Anders Lindback and Mark Dekanich.

Home and Road
The Isles are 13-20-6, 6-13-3 on the road. They are now 9-10-3 under Jack Capuano, including 8-2-1 in the last 11.  It’s their best stretch since a 9-3-1 stretch in late 2009/early 2010 and matches their best 11 game stretch since their season-opening 11-1-1-1 stretch in October/November 2001. Colorado is 21-15-6, 11-8-3 at home.

In the Nets
Poulin made 34 saves to record his first NHL victory. Craig Anderson finished with 23 saves for Colorado.  Poulin (20 years, 271 days) is the first 20 year-old to win an NHL game since Chris Mason did so for Columbus on April 11, 2009 and is the youngest to do so since Mason did so at 20 years, 266 days on February 19, 2009 in Toronto.

Power Plays
For the third time in four games, the Isles were essentially perfect on the power play, converting three times in four opportunities.  The only power play that they did not score on lasted only four seconds.  The Isles are 7-15 on the power play on the road trip (46.7%). Colorado failed on all three of their attempts; the Isles remain perfect (11-11) on the penalty kill in the first four games of this season-long five game road trip. 

It’s the second time this season that the Isles scored 3 power play goals in a game; they did it on Opening Night vs. Dallas. It’s the first time that they had scored three power play goals in a road game since March 15, 2009 in Chicago ; another Islander goalie Peter Mannino made his first NHL start in that game.

It had been a long time for the Isles between multiple power play goal games against Colorado. It was the first time since October 10, 1999 (Butch Goring’s first win as Isles coach). They hadn’t scored multiple power play goals in Denver since John Tonelli and Mike Bossy scored against Chico Resch on March 20, 1981 – just days after he had been traded to the Colorado Rockies.

In the Circle
The Isles won 34 of 64 (53%) face-offs.  Zenon Konopka had another strong game on draws, winning 11 of 17.

Missing Men
Mike Mottau is out for the season. Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo, Doug Weight, Trent Hunter and Radek Martinek, Mark Eaton and Rick DiPietro remain out.  Frans Nielsen missed his second game of the season with a groin strain while Trevor Gillies was a healthy scratch. The Isles have now lost 235 man-games to injury.

Moulson Extends Streak
Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 121 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 51 game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 19 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.

2009 Draft Redux
It was the third career meeting of John Tavares and Matt Duchesne, taken 1st and 3rd overall in 2009.  Tavares now has two goals against Colorado while Duchesne is pointless against the Isles. Duchesne is 40-55-95 in his career while Tavares is 38-44-82.

Wrong Number?
John Tavares shares a uniform number with Islander Stanley Cup hero Butch Goring; perhaps he should be wearing #23, the retired uniform number of Islander legend and overtime hero Bob Nystrom.   Tavares set an Islander club record by recording his third overtime goal of the season.  Tavares is the 6th Islander to record at least three career overtime goals; Pierre Turgeon is the only one to have scored four.  Tavares is one overtime goal shy of the NHL record of four, shared by several players – most recently Daniel Sedin in 2006-07.   He is tied with Atlanta’s Dustin Byfuglien for the NHL lead.

Getting Younger All the Time
The Isles, who as recently as last Saturday had a 41 year old on their roster, dressed only three players over 30: Jon Sim and Zenon Konopka (30 years, 6 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).  The average age of the 20 players dressed for this game was 25.07 years.

Jeremy Colliton scored his first NHL goal since potting his first NHL tally on April 15, 2006 against Pittsburgh. Only one other Islander played in both that game and this one: Bruno Gervais.

Race to 100
With his goal in this game, Blake Comeau now has 97 career points (41-56-97), one more than Kyle Okposo (39-57-96), two more than Frans Nielsen (29-66-95) and five more than Radek Martinek (19-73-92).  No player drafted by the Islanders has recorded 100 points in an Islander uniform since Scott Lachance reached the mark during the 1998-99 season.

Season Series Stats
The Islanders win the season series two games to none and four points to one. The Isles are 7-0-2 against Colorado since being shutout 1-0 by Patrick Roy on November 16, 2001.

Happy Anniversary
31 years ago today (January 8, 1980):  Chico Resch records a shutout as the Isles blank Vancouver 3-0 at the Coliseum. It’s the first of three shutouts in eight weeks for Resch, but the only one that resulted in a victory. (The other two were scoreless ties.)  The Isles are now 7-12-1 all-time on this date.

1,500 Club
This was the 1,502nd road game in Islander history.  The Isles are 539-752-211 all-time on the road.  The Isles will also play their 3,000th game on this road trip (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
Sunday, January 9- Islanders @ Chicago 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The road trip concludes on Sunday when the Islanders play the 3,000th game in their history as they face the Stanley Cup Champions for the only time this season at the United Center in Chicago.

Blake Comeau has fond memories of the team’s last meeting; in the first game after the Olympic break last March, Comeau recorded a hat trick in a 5-3 Islander win.

The Isles have dominated the series in recent years, winning six straight games, including three straight in Chicago.  They’ve outscored the Hawks 30-12 in that stretch.  The Hawks last win vs. the Isles came on December 10, 2002 at the Coliseum.

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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