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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 61

Leafs 2, Isles 1

Phil Kessel scored an unassisted goal with less than five minutes to play and James Reimer made 28 saves as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Islanders 2-1 before 19,459 at Air Canada Center as they handed the Isles only their 4th loss in twelve games since the All-Star Break.  The Leafs are 7-2-2 in their last 11 games.

MacArthur Gives Leafs the Lead
Clark MacArthur scored the only goal of the opening session, beating Al Montoya midway through the session for his 18th goal of the season.  The Islanders lost Milan Jurcina in the first period with a groin injury after he was hit by Mike Brown.  He did not return.

Moulson Gets It Back
If the first half of the month belonged to Michael Grabner, the second half has belonged to Matt Moulson.  The Islanders’ leading goal scorer tallied on the power play at 8:09 of the second period for his 27th goal of the season and sixth in the last three games.  He is the 12th player in the NHL to score 27 goals this season. Moulson also extended his point streak to four games; Andrew MacDonald earned the only assist.  The Isles have now scored 65 second period goals, and allowed 65 goals in the middle session as well.

Kessel Wins it
Phil Kessel scored an unassisted tally with 4:41 to play in regulation for his 23rd goal of the season.  It would turn out to be his 4th game-winning goal of the season. Kessel has nine goals in 18 career games against the Islanders. The Leafs are 7-3-2 in games tied after 40 minutes while the Isles are 5-9-3.  2-1 Final.

A Pair of Misconducts
There were no fighting majors in the game but both Travis Hamonic and Zenon Konopka drew misconducts.  Hamonic now has 87 penalty minutes, which leads all Islander defensemen by a wide margin while Konopka’s 219 penalty minutes lead the NHL.

Two with Ten
Matt Moulson (10-3-13) joins Grabner (10-5-15) as Islanders with ten goals this month.  John Tavares is 5-11-16 in February.

Trio Grande (with Apologies to Bossy, Trottier and Gillies)
They don’t even play on the same line, but Moulson (27), Grabner (25) and Tavares (23) have combined for 75 goals – one of the highest totals for three teammates this season:

•    Vancouver: Kesler/D Sedin/Burrows 82  (entering Tuesday game with Montreal)

•    Anaheim:Perry/Ryan/Selanne 77

•    Philadelphia: Briere/Carter/Giroux 76

•    Isles: Moulson/Grabner/Tavares 75

•    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.

Streak Stopper
By scoring only once, the Isles end a 9-game streak in which they had scored at least three goals in each game.  It’s their longest such streak since they scored at least three goals in 10 straight games from February 27 to March 17, 1994.

Strange Stats of the Night
The loss is the 1,300th in Islander history (1306-1300-415).  The loss ends an Islander three-game road winning streak, with all three wins coming in either overtime or a shootout.

Border Crossing
This was the final game outside of the US for the Islanders this season.  The Islanders were 3-4-0 in Canada this year, with all three wins coming in overtime or shootouts.

Home and Road
The Leafs improve to 26-27-7, and are 14-11-6 at home. 

The Isles are 23-31-7, and are 11-17-3 on the road.  They are 19-21-4 under Jack Capuano, including 18-13-2 in the last 33.  The Isles are 8-4-0 in February with two games to play; it’s their first 8-win month since November, 2008.

In the Nets
James Reimer made 28 saves to beat the Islanders for the 2nd time this season and improve to 9-4-2.

Al Montoya made 23 saves, but drops to 3-1.  He has allowed only six goals on 110 shots in his four appearances (1.41 GAA, 94.5 save percentage).  He is 5-2 in seven career starts and 6-2 overall.

Power Plays
The Isles went 1-6 on the power play while the Leafs were 0-3.

In the Circle
Continuing a recent trend, the Islanders struggled in the faceoff circle, as they won 21 of 55 (38%) face-offs.  Zenon Konopka won 6 of 10 for the Isles but Josh Bailey went 0-7.

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. Radek Martinek missed the game with an upper body injury.  Trevor Gillies served the six game of his nine-game suspension.  The Isles have lost 410 games to injury (the equivalent of five players missing all 82 games) and 14 games to suspension this season. Rob Schremp was a healthy scratch.

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 143 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 73-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 41 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

Season Series Stats   
The Leafs lead the season series two games to one, and five points to two, with the teams splitting the season series in Toronto.  The final meeting of the season series will be at the Coliseum on March 8th.

Happy Anniversary
With Jiggs filling in for Howie this week, it seems appropriate to have an Eddie Westfall anniversary fact.

36 years ago today (February 22, 1975):   Ed Westfall scores the second (and final) hat trick of his Islander career as the Isles beat Montreal 7-6 at the Forum. It’s the Isles’ first-ever win in Montreal and their only win there in regular season play in their first six seasons. Billy MacMillian scored the winning goal, breaking a 6-6 tie with 5:25 to play.  Buried in the agate of that game—minor penalties to David Lewis and Billy Smith at 7:52 of the second period for an altercation with current Ranger general manager Glen Sather (who received a double minor on the play).

All-time, the Isles are 10-4-3 on this date with their loss in Toronto ending a five game unbeaten streak on this date (4-0-1) that went all the way back to 1990!

Up Next
Thursday, February 24 @ Philadelphia 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The road trip concludes on Thursday in Philadelphia.  The Wachovia Center has been an unfriendly place for the Islanders in recent years; Scott Gordon never won there (0-6-1) and the Isles are 0-10-1 in their last 11 visits since a win on the penultimate day of the season set up the Easter Epic in 2007.

The Flyers have won all three games this season, but both Coliseum meetings have been one-goal games.  The Flyers defeated the Islanders 6-1 in Philadelphia in October with Frans Nielsen’s shorthanded penalty shot goal being the only Islander tally.

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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