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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 49

Carolina 4, Isles 2

All-Star Captain Eric Staal scored two goals and added an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Islanders 4-2 at icy Nassau Coliseum. Bad weather and bad roads limited attendance to 4,976.  The Isles have lost three straight and are 1-5-0 in their last six games.

0-1 Again
The Isles have been playing from behind for most of January.  After an apparent Canes goal just 19 seconds into play was erased after video review, Carolina grabbed the lead later in the first period on a Zach Boychuk tally. Boychuk finished the night +3, his best ever rating. It is the eleventh time in 12 games that the Isles have allowed the opening goal and a league-leading 32nd time in 49 games this season (4-24-4).  Despite being outplayed for large stretches, the Isles escaped the first period trailing 1-0.

Grabner Gets His 15th
With the teams playing 4-on-4 to start the second period, Michael Grabner tallied for the 15th time this season at the 31 second mark.  Frans Nielsen and Andrew MacDonald earned assists.  Grabner hits the all-star break with six goals in seven games; he is 4th among all NHL rookies in goals.

Double Staal
Eric Staal scored twice in the second period to give Carolina a 3-1 lead. Staal, who now had 25 goals on the seasons, recorded 10 shots on goal.  He is the first Islander opponent to do so in exactly one year; Alex Ovechkin had 10 last January 26th against the Isles.  Staal now has 14 goals in his last 14 games against the Isles.

A Sutter Should Lead Them
Carolina assistant captain Brandon Sutter put the game away with his 11th goal of the season with just under five minutes to play in the third.  It’s the second goal of Sutter’s career against the team that his father Brent once captained; Brandon has points in all six career games that he has played against the Isles.

A Marker for A-Mac
Andrew Mac Donald scored his first goal since December 17, 2009, ending a 68-game goal drought, on a 4-on-4 situation late in the game to make the score 4-2, but the Isles could get no closer as the Isles finish January with a 4-8-1 record.  4-2 Final.

2-For-2 in 4-on-4 (Strange Stat of the Night)
Both Isles goals came in 4-on-4 situations. The Isles have outscored their opponents 8-4 in 4-on-4’s this season. Entering play today, no NHL team had scored more than 7 goals in 4-on-4’s.  

Home and Road
The Canes improve to 25-19-6 overall and 12-11-4 on the road.  They hit the All-Star break one point behind 8th place Atlanta.

The Isles drop to 15-27-7, and are 8-12-4 at home. They are now 11-17-4 under Jack Capuano, including 10-9-2 in the last 21.  With the Devils also losing, the Isles remain two points ahead of New Jersey.

In the Nets
In recent years, few goaltenders have given the Isles more trouble than Cam Ward. Ward made 23 saves to record his 22nd win of the season and second against the Islanders. Ward is now 12-2-1 in his career against the Isles.

Rick DiPietro made 28 saves but drops to 7-9-4.  He is 0-2 against Carolina this season, having allowed 11 goals.

Power Plays
The Isles went 0-2 on the power play, while Carolina was 0-4. Since scoring three times in Colorado on January 8th, the Isles power play is 4-28 (14%) in the last ten games.  The Isles have killed 36 of 41 (89%) over the last 14 games.  Since opening the season with 5 power play goals in their first two games, covering 13 opportunities, the Isles are 10-89 (12%) at home with the extra man.

Milestone Night for Zenon
Zenon Konopka fought with Tyler Bodie early in the second period.  It was his 16th fight of the season. Konopka leads the NHL with 158 penalty minutes, passing Tim Jackman’s 155 minute total two seasons ago. He now has more penalty minutes than any other Islander forward since Mick Vukota had 237 of his club record 1,879 penalty minutes in 1993-94.

Martin Keeps Banging
Matt Martin led the Isles with six hits.  He now has 172, which places him 4th in the NHL.  All three players ahead of Martin have played at least nine more games than Martin.

Top 5
The Isles have five players with at least 12 goals (Tavares-18, Moulson-17, Grabner-15, Comeau-13 and Parenteau-12); the quintet has combined for 75 of the Isles’ 118 goals (64%) this season. 

Cy Grab?
In addition to his goal, Grabner also assisted on MacDonald’s goal. He now had 21 points, including 15 goals (15-6). Grabner also leads the team in +/- at +2. Matt Moulson had twelve more goals than assists (30-18) last season and is (17-12) this year.

In the Circle
The Isles won 30 of 57 (53%) face-offs. Konopka won 7 of 10 for the Isles. 

Missing Men
Mike Mottau and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit, Doug Weight, Trent Hunter, Milan Jurcina and Nathan Lawson remain out. Trevor Gillies was a healthy scratch. The Isles have now lost 314 man-games to injury.

Moulson Extends Streak
Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 131 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 61-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 29 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles.

Busy Stretch
Tonight’s game was the fifth 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-  Lost @ Pittsburgh 1-0
•    January 26- Lost to Carolina 4-2

Season Series Stats
The Canes lead the season series two games to none (and four points to none); they have outscored the Isles 11-4. Carolina has won eight of the last ten games between the teams.

Happy Anniversary
29 years ago today (January 26, 1982):   The Isles won the 3rd game of their 15 straight wins as they defeated the Penguins 9-2 at the Coliseum.  The win was punctuated by the fastest 4 goals and fastest 5 goals in Islander history:

FASTEST FOUR GOALS: ........1:38
John Tonelli (2:30), Bryan Trottier (2:46 & 3:31), Duane Sutter (4:08)

FASTEST FIVE GOALS: ......... 2:37
Duane Sutter (1:31),John Tonelli (2:30),Bryan Trottier (2:46 & 3:31), Duane Sutter (4:08)

Two years earlier, on January 26, 1980, Gordie Howe made his second and final visit to the Coliseum as the Islanders defeated Hartford 3-2.  It is the only penalty-free game in Coliseum history and one of only two the Isles have ever played. All-time, the Isles are 9-10-1 on this date.

Up Next
Tuesday, February 1 Carolina @ Islanders 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The Islanders resume play after the All-Star break when they begin a two-game road trip in Atlanta.  The teams have played twice this season, with the Thrashers winning both games, once in regulation and once in overtime.  Atlanta has won three straight over the Islanders; no Atlanta team has beaten the Islanders four straight times since the Flames won the first four meetings of the expansion cousins in 1972-73.

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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