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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 59

Isles 3, Kings 0

Al Montoya made 35 saves, including 17 in the second period, to become the first goaltender in Islander history to record a shutout in his first start with the team; Frans Nielsen scored a shorthanded goal and Matt Moulson potted two goals against his brother-in-law as the Islanders blanked the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 before a crowd of 13,119 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  The Isles’ win is their fifth in six games, as they hand Los Angeles their first regulation loss since January 20th, ending an 11-game King streak (8-0-3).

An Early Shorty
Kyle Okposo took a hooking penalty 4:04 into play, but it was the Islanders who would score on the ensuing power play as Nielsen converted a pass from Michael Grabner for his 7th goal of the season.  It’s the league-leading 5th shorty for Nielsen, who has scored more shorthanded goals than any Islander since Shawn Bates potted six in 2002-03.  Nielsen, who also shares the league lead in shorthanded points, is two shorties away from the Islander club record, set 30 years ago by Bob Bourne.

Bragging Rights
Matt Moulson hit the post in the first period, but beat Jonathan Quick in both the 2nd and 3rd periods for the game’s other goals. Moulson is now tied for 2nd place on the team with 23 goals; no other NHL team has three players with at least 23 goals.  Linemates PA Parenteau and John Tavares assisted on both goals.

Montoya Perfect
Al Montoya made 35 saves to match his uniform and record the shutout.  It was Montoya’s 5th NHL start and first since April 9, 2009.  Montoya, who also recorded a shutout in his first NHL start, has allowed only two goals in his four career wins as a starter.  He is 4-1 in five career starts and 5-1 overall.   3-0 Final.

Konopka keeps on Fighting
Zenon Konopka was involved in the game’s only fight, battling with Kyle Clifford.  The NHL’s most penalized player now has 205 minutes. He is the first Islander since Rich Pilon (291 in 1997-98) to reach 200 and the first forward since Mick Vukota (237 in 1993-94).  Konopka is only the 6th player in Islander history to post a 200 penalty minute season (Ken Baumgartner - 2x, Brian Curran-1x, Garry Howatt-3x, Pilon-2x and Vukota-6x).

Strange Stat of the Game
It’s the second time this season that the attendance was 13,119.  The same attendance was announced for the January 17th game against New Jersey.

It’s Been a Long Time Since…
…the Isles had such a lengthy streak of scoring at least three goals in a game.  Since being blanked in Pittsburgh on February 2nd, the Isles have scored at least three goals in each of their last eight games.   The last time the Isles managed at least three goals in 8 straight games came March 11-25, 2004.  They have not had a longer streak since scoring at least three goals in 10 straight games from February 27 to March 17, 1994.

Growing Up Together
The Islanders have had four players record their 100th career point, all of them in Islander uniforms, this season.

•    Blake Comeau leads the way with 109 points (47-62-109)

•    Frans Nielsen’s goal gives him 106 points (36-70-106)

•    Kyle Okposo has 105 points (41-64-105)

•    John Tavares’ two assists tonight also give him 105 points (47-58-105). He is the second youngest player in Islander history (Bryan Trottier) to record 100 career points.

Two injured players (Trent Hunter and Mark Streit) are the only others on the current roster to have recorded 100 points in an Islander uniform. 

Passing Duchene
With his two assists tonight, Tavares now has 105 career points, one more than Matt Duchene.  No other member of the 2009 draft class has more than 60 NHL points.  Tavares recorded his 5th multi-point game of February.  He is 5-10-15 in the 10 games since the All-Star Break.

John Tavares now has 51 points (23-28-51) on the season.  He is now tied-21st in the league in both goals and points.  Tavares is the first Islander to have consecutive 50 point seasons since Alexei Yashin, Miro Satan and Jason Blake all did so in 2005-06 and 2006-07.  He is the first Islander to do so in his rookie and sophomore seasons since Vladimir Malakhov did so in 1992-93 and 1993-94.

Home and Road
The Isles are 22-30-7, and are 11-14-4 at home.  They are 18-20-4 under Jack Capuano, including 17-12-2 in the last 31.  The Isles are 7-3-0 in February with four games to play; it’s their first 7-win month since January, 2010.

The Kings fall to 32-23-4, and are 15-14-3 on the road.  The Kings have one game left on their lengthy road trip, after which they will play 14 of their final 22 at Staples Center.  The loss ended a 9-game Kings point streak on the road, which was the second longest streak in team history.

In the Nets
Al Montoya records the shutout in his first start as an Islander, improving to 2-0 on the season.  He has allowed only three goals on 65 shots in his three appearances (1.33 GAA, 95.4 save percentage).  It’s the Islanders’ second shutout of the season (DiPietro shut out New Jersey on November 26th).  The Isles’ last seven shutouts have been recorded by six different goaltenders.

The Isles finally beat Jonathan Quick, who had allowed only 5 goals in beating the Isles four straight times.  Quick is 26-15-2 this season.

Power Plays
The Isles went 0-2 on the power play while the Kings were 0-3.  The Isles scored shorthanded for the 9th time this season, including three times in the last five games and four times in the last eight games.  It’s the first time since early in the 2008/09 season that the Isles have scored shorthanded goals with such frequency.

In the Circle
The Isles won 28 of 57 (49%) face-offs.  John Tavares won 9 of his first 10 and ten of 14 overall.  Michal Handzus won 10 of 15 for Los Angeles.

Missing Men
Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit, Doug Weight, Rick DiPietro, and Jeremy Colliton remain out. Trevor Gillies served the fourth game of his nine-game suspension while Matt Martin served the final game of his four-game suspension.  The Isles have lost 393 games to injury and twelve games to suspension this season. With Ty Wishart back in the lineup, Bruno Gervais was a healthy scratch.

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 141 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 71-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 39 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

Season Series Stats   
The teams split the season series, with each team winning on home-ice.  The Isles recorded their first win at home over Los Angeles since Tommy Salo blanked the Kings 1-0 on October 27, 1998; Joe Sacco had the game’s only goal.  The Isles had gone 0-5-1 in their last six games against the Kings at home, as well as 0-5-2 in their last seven vs LA overall.  In the Isles’ last win over Los Angeles (3-2 in LA on February 15, 2003), Garth Snow was in goal and Peter Laviolette was the Islander coach.

Happy Anniversary
32 years ago today (February 19, 1979):   Mike Bossy records his 100th career goal, in only his 129th game to set an NHL record for the fastest 100 goals as the Islanders pounded the Kings 8-3.

All-time, the Isles are 12-4-0 on this date, including shutout wins in 1983, 1994, 2003 and now 2011.

Up Next
Monday, February 21 Florida @ Islanders 1:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 12:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

It’s a President’s Day matinee as the Islanders host the Panthers in their final Monday game of the season (3-3-0).  The teams have met twice before this season and the Panthers have won both games.  Back on October 23rd, three John Tavares goals erased Florida leads, but Radek Dvorak had the game-winner in what was the first game of a 14-game Islander winless streak.  The Panthers also beat the Isles, 4-1 at the Coliseum in the 12th game of that streak.

The Panthers beat Tampa in a shootout on Saturday, and will head to Long Island six points ahead of the Islanders.

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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