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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 60

Isles 5, Panthers 1

For the second straight game, it was the “Matt and Montoya Show”.  Matt Moulson took over the club lead by tallying three times for his second career hat trick, and Al Montoya made 20 saves and came within 9:26 of a second consecutive shutouts as the Islanders beat the Florida Panthers before the third-largest crowd of the season (13,729) at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  The Isles improve to 8-3-0 since the All-Star Break as they beat the Panthers for the first time this season.

Two for Moulson in the First
Moulson scored two goals 7 ½ minutes apart in the opening session.  Travis Hamonic earned assists on both goals, while PA Parenteau and John Tavares also had helpers. Less than a minute after Moulson’s second goal, the Panthers’ Stephen Weiss was ejected for a vicious elbow against Radek Martinek.

Martinek Strikes Back
Martinek responded to the elbow by scoring with just three seconds left on the major power play to give the Isles a 3-goal advantage early in the second period.  Josh Bailey upped the lead to 4-0 at 6:41 of the session when he beat Tomas Vokoun.

Santorelli Breaks the Shutout
Midway through the 3rd period, Mike Santorelli scored his 17th goal of the season to break Montoya’s shutout.  Montoya had not allowed a goal in his first 110:34 as an Islander starter.

Matt Moulson hit the empty net at 17:23 of the third to complete his hat trick and take over the club lead in goals with 26, one more than Michael Grabner and three more than John Tavares.  The Isles are the only NHL team that has three players with at least 23 goals.  Moulson’s 26 goals leave him tied for 12th in the NHL.  5-1 Final.

Hamonic Drops the Gloves
Travis Hamonic was ruled to be the instigator of a fight with Steve Bernier in the second period.  Hamonic, who finished with 21 penalty minutes, now has 77 penalty minutes, which leads all Islander defensemen by a wide margin.

Strange Stat of the Game
Matt Moulson and John Tavares have combined for 49 goals this season after combining for 54 a year ago.  The 103 goals over two seasons are eight more than a more heralded set of linemates (Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) have managed for the Hawks in the same period.  (Thanks to Islander fan Neil Mairs for the idea.)

Trio Grande (with Apologies to Bossy, Trottier and Gillies)
They don’t even play on the same line, but Moulson (26), Grabner (25) and Tavares (23) have combined for 74 goals – one of the highest totals for three teammates this season:

•    Vancouver: Kesler/D Sedin/Burrows 82

•    Anaheim:Perry/Ryan/Selanne 77

•    Philadelphia: Briere/Carter/Giroux 75

•    Isles: Moulson/Grabner/Tavares 74

•    Tampa: Stamkos/St Louis/Lecavalier 73

The three have combined for 4 hat tricks (2 for Tavares, 1 for Grabner and Moulson).  It’s the first time that the Isles have had four hat tricks in the same season since they had five hat tricks in the 2002-03 season.

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 nine games.   The last time the Isles managed at least three goals in 9 straight games came in a ten game streak from February 27 to March 17, 1994.

…the Isles allowed only one goal in a two-game stretch.  It last happened on October 31-November 2, 2009 when the Isles shutout Buffalo 5-0 and beat Edmonton 3-1.

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.  His assist gives him 110 points (47-63-110)

•    Frans Nielsen’s assist gives him 107 points (36-71-107)

•    John Tavares’ assists gives him 106 points (47-59-106). He is the second youngest player in Islander history (Bryan Trottier) to record 100 career points.

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

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 106 career points, four more than Matt Duchene.  No other member of the 2009 draft class has more than 60 NHL points.  He is 5-11-16 in the 11 games since the All-Star Break.

Home and Road
The Isles are 23-30-7, and are 12-14-4 at home.  They are 19-20-4 under Jack Capuano, including 18-12-2 in the last 32.  The Isles are 8-3-0 in February with three games to play; it’s their first 8-win month since November, 2008.

The Panthers fall to 25-27-7, and are 13-16-1 on the road. 

In the Nets
Al Montoya improves to 3-0 on the season, making 20 saves.  He has allowed only four goals on 85 shots in his four appearances (1.23 GAA, 95.3 save percentage).  Montoya has allowed only three goals in his five career wins as a starter.  He is 5-1 in six career starts and 6-1 overall. The 21 shots allowed by the Isles are their fewest allowed at home since allowing 20 to New Jersey on January 18, 2010.

Tomas Vokoun made 32 saves for Florida, including 14 in the first period, when the Isles outshot Florida 16-3.

Power Plays
The Isles went 1-5 on the power play while the Panthers were also 1-5.

In the Circle
The Isles won 24 of 47 (51%) face-offs.  Zenon Konopka won 9 of 14 for the Isles.

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 fifth game of his nine-game.  The Isles have lost 401 games to injury and 13 games to suspension this season. With Matt Martin back in the lineup, Bruno Gervais and Rob Schremp were healthy scratches.

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 142 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 72-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 40 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

Season Series Stats   
The Panthers still lead the season series two games to one, with the teams splitting the season series on Long Island.  The final meeting of the season series will be in Sunrise, Florida on March 19th.

Happy Anniversary
17 years ago today (February 21, 1994):   Ron Hextall became only the second goaltender in Islander history to record consecutive shutouts as he blanked Washington 4-0.

All-time, the Isles are 9-11-0 on this date.  They have won their last five on February 21st (all at home), by a combined score of 18-3.

Up Next
Tuesday, February 22 @ Toronto 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The Islanders head to Toronto for the first game of a two-game road trip.  It’s the third meeting of the teams this season; John Tavares scored in overtime to give the Isles a 2-1 win in Toronto back on October 18th; the Leafs defeated the Isles 5-3 two weeks ago at the Coliseum in the game in which Kevin Poulin suffered a season-ending injury in warm-ups.

The Leafs enter the game four 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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