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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 47

Sabres 5, Isles 3

Paul Gaustad scored just 15 seconds into the game and while the Islanders twice evened the score, the early goal proved to be a big difference as the Buffalo Sabres earned a split of the home and home series by defeating the Islanders 5-3 in front of 10,120 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

0-1, Again
Gaustad’s goal marked the ninth time in ten games that the Isles have allowed the opening goal and the 8th time that they have allowed the goal in the first five minutes. 

Two For Moulson, One For Ennis
Trailing 1-0 after one period, the Isles got two middle period goals by Matt Moulson sandwiching a Tyler Ennis goal for Buffalo.  Moulson’s goals, his 16th and 17th, gave him three goals in the home-and-home against Buffalo. The Isles have five players with at least 12 goals (Tavares-18, Grabner-14, Comeau-13  and Parenteau -12 are the others); the quintet have combined for 74 of the Isles’ 116 goals (64%) this season. 

You Are What Your Record Says You Are   
While the standings said that the Sabres entered the game at NHL .500 (21-21-5), they were 7-2-4 when tied after 40 minutes.  Two goals in the first four minutes helped Buffalo improve to 8-2-4 in those situations.  Nathan Gerbe, who scored twice in five seconds against the Isles on Friday, gave Buffalo a 3-2 lead at 1:48 of the third.  Gerbe assisted on a Tyler Myers goal that was confirmed by video review to at 3:51 to make it 4-2 Buffalo.   Gerbe now has five goals in the last six games.

Hillen Gets One Back…but Pominville Settles Matters
With the Isles pressing late in the third, Jack Hillen blistered one by Ryan Miller to make it 4-3.  It was Hillen’s second goal in as many games and his third in 6 games.  Hillen, who is now tied for the club lead in goals by a defensemen, had scored only 4 goals in 138 games prior to this hot streak.  Michael Grabner assisted on the goal, extending his point streak to six games, longest by an Islander this season.  Only one rookie, Colorado’s Kevin Shattenkirk has had a longer streak this season- he recorded a point in nine straight games. Jason Pominville’s empty net goal provided the final margin of victory for the Sabres. 4-3 Final.

Home and Road
The Sabres improve to 22-21-5 overall and 11-9-4 on the road. The win coupled with Florida’s loss, gives the Sabres sole possession of 10th place in the East.  They are six points behind 8th place Atlanta and have two games in hand.

The Isles drop to 15-25-7, including 8-11-4 at home. They are now 11-15-4 under Jack Capuano, including 10-7-2 in the last 19.  The Isles have lost three straight at home and are 1-4-1 in their last six on Coliseum ice.

In the Nets
Ryan Miller, who has started 25 straight games, made 31 saves as he raised his record to 20-14-4.  It’s the fifth straight season that he has won at least 20 games.  Rick DiPietro made 18 saves as his record dropped below NHL .500  (7-8-4).

Power Plays
The Isles went 1-4 on the power play, while Buffalo was 1-2. The Isles power play is now 3-23 (13%) in the last seven games at home.  (The Isles came into the game ranked 28th on the power play at home and 7th on the road.) The Isles have killed 29 of 34 (85%) over the last 12 games. 

In the Circle
The Isles had a winning game in the circle, winning 28 of 54 (52%) face-offs. Zenon Konopka won 9 of 12. 

The Streak Continues
The Isles outshot Buffalo 34-23.  They have been outshot in all 15 of their wins this season (15-10-5).  The Isles are 0-15-2 when outshooting their opponent this season.

Missing Men
Mike Mottau and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit, Doug Weight, Trent Hunter, Milan Jurcina and Rhett Rakhshani remain out; Nathan Lawson missed his first game; he expected to miss one-two weeks with an MCL sprain.  Trevor Gillies and Evgeny Nobokov (who has not reported) were healthy scratches. The Isles have now lost 300 man-games to injury.

Moulson Extends Streak
Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 129 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 59-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 27 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.

Busy Stretch
Tonight’s game was the third of five games in seven days for the Islanders, matching the club record.  It’s the 26th time that it has happened but the first time since it happened twice in the first 23 games of the 2007-08 season.

•    January 20  - Lost to Washington 1-2
•    January 21 – Won @ Buffalo 5-2
•    January 23-   Lost to Buffalo 5-3
•    January 25- @ Pittsburgh
•    January 26- Vs Carolina

Season Series Stats
The Isles still lead the season series two games to one (and four points to two), outscoring the Sabres 13-10.  The teams will play again on Sunday, February 13 in Buffalo.  Buffalo is now 8-3-1 in their last 12 overall, including 1-2-0 against the Isles.

Happy Anniversary
38 years ago today (January 23, 1973):   Craig Cameron became the first Islander to record a hat trick at the Coliseum as the Isles pounded the California Golden Seals 8-1. It was the most lopsided victory in the first two seasons of the Islanders’ existence.

All-time, the Isles are 7-6-0 on January 23rd, including losses in each of the last two seasons.

Up Next
Tuesday, January 25 Islanders @ Pittsburgh 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The Islanders play their final two games before the All-Star break when they play the first of two-games in two games on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.  This will be the third meeting of the teams this season, with each team holding an extra-time victory.  The Isles lost their final eight games at the Mellon Arena, and dropped their first game there 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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