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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 64

Capitals 2, Isles 1 (OT)

Alex Ovechkin extended his own club record by scoring his eighth career OT goal at the 1:55 mark to cap a Washington rally as the Capitals, who were held off the board for the first 59:12, scored twice in a 2:43 span to defeat the Isles 2-1 before a sellout crowd of 18,398 at Verizon Center. 

Scoreless First
Much like Saturday on Long Island, the home team came out strong, as the Caps recorded the game’s first eight shots, but the period ended scoreless thanks to tremendous play by Nathan Lawson.

Moulson Gives the Isles the Lead
Matt Moulson scored the game’s first goal off a pretty passing play with PA Parenteau and John Tavares.  It was Moulson’s team-leading 28th tally; only eight players in the entire NHL have more goals. Moulson now has 58 goals as an Islander, tying playoff hero Shawn Bates for 45th place in Islander history.   Parenteau now had 25 assists while Tavares has 30, matching his rookie season total.  The Isles have now scored first in three straight games, but are 0-1-2 in those contests.

Nate Was Great
Nate Lawson made the lead hold up until the game’s final minute. Lawson finished with 40 saves.

Laich Gets the Caps Even
Brooks Laich, who started the Capital comeback on Saturday, tied the game at 19:12 of the third off a pass from newly-acquired Jason Arnott and send the contest into overtime.

The Great 8
Alex Ovechkin completed the Washington comeback with an unassisted highlight reel quality goal.  It was the 25th goal of the season for the Washington captain. It’s his league-leading 9th game winning goal of the season and he has also assisted on seven other winning goals.  He finishes the season series against the Isles with seven points (2-5-7) on nine Capital goals. 2-1 Final.

Strange Stats of the Night
The Isles are winless in four straight games (0-2-2); it’s the fifth time in club history and the first time since the first four games of last season that they have lost four straight one-goal games.   31 of the Isles first 64 games have been decided by 1 goal (10-12-9). Only Carolina and Florida (22 each) have suffered more one goal defeats than the Isles (21).

The Capitals won all four games this season, against four different Islander goalies (Roloson, DiPietro, Montoya and Lawson).

As Seen on MSG+: Who’s The New Guy
For the eighth time this season, the Islanders had a player make his NHL debut.  Justin DiBenedetto joins Nino Niederreiter, Travis Hamonic, Rhett Rakhshani, Nathan Lawson, Kevin Poulin, Mikko Koskinen and Mark Katic in appearing in their maiden NHL game.  The Isles had seven guys make their NHL debut last season.

Young Get Younger
The Isles defense corps had only 633 games of experience entering the game and Bruno Gervais (318) had more than half of it.    Three of the Isles defensemen (Travis Hamonic, Ty Wishart and Mark Katic) are NHL rookies; the average age of the 20 players that dressed was 24.46 years. 

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 110 points (47-63-110)

•    Frans Nielsen has 108 points (32-76-108)

•    John Tavares’ assist gives him 107 points (47-60-107). He is the second youngest player in Islander history (Bryan Trottier) to record 100 career points.

•    Kyle Okposo has 106 points (42-64-106)

With 229 points, Trent Hunter (injured) is the only player on the current roster to have recorded more points in an Islander uniform. 

Matt Moulson recorded his 101st career point; however, his first ten points came as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

Veteran defender Radek Martinek has 97 career points, all as an Islander.

What a Cy Young Race!
The Isles have two players who have scored 13 more goals than they have earned assists this season.  Moulson has 28 goals and 15 assists, while Michael Grabner has 25 goals and 12 assists.  Only one other Islander has even one more goal than assists, and it is Trevor Gillies, whose only point this season was a goal.

Home and Road
The Caps improve to 34-20-10, and are 18-8-7 at home.  The Caps are three points behind Tampa Bay, but the Lightning have played two fewer games.

The Isles are 23-32-9, and are 11-17-5 on the road.  They are 19-22-6 under Jack Capuano, including 18-14-4 in the last 36. 

In the Nets
Michael Neuvirth made 28 saves to beat the Islanders for the 3rd time this season and improve to 20-10-4 overall. His 20 wins tie the Capitals’ record for wins by a rookie goaltender, set by Bob Mason in 1986-87.  Mason’s rookie season would end early on Easter morning on a Pat LaFontaine goal in the 4th overtime.

Nathan Lawson, in his 9th NHL appearance, makes 40 saves to match his season high as he rebounded from his defeat to Boston on February 17th.

Power Plays
The Isles went 0-4 on the power play while the Caps were 0-2.  The Isles have not allowed a power play goal in the last three games (8-8) and have killed 15-16 over the last six games.  However, their power play has gone 2-27 in the last eight games.   The Isles went 0-17 on the power play against the Caps this season.

Washington, on the other hand, has now gone a club-record 40 straight games without scoring more than one power play goal in a game.

In the Circle
The Islanders won 36 of 67 (54%) face-offs.  Frans Nielsen won 9 of 15, while Zenon Konopka won five of his eight draws.

Missing Men
Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit, Doug Weight, Rick DiPietro, Radek Martinek, and Milan Jurcina remain out.  Trevor Gillies served the final game of his nine-game suspension.  The Isles have lost 436 games to injury and 16 games to suspension this season.  Justin DiBenedetto made his NHL debut – playing 12:46, with one shot and two hits.  He also drew the first penalty of the game.

Missing Milan   
The Isles are 0-3-1 in the last four games, and Milan Jurcina has played only 2:18 in that stretch, missing each of the last three games. The Isles have gone 20-13-3 when Jurcina plays and 3-20-5 in the 28 games that he's missed.

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 146 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 76-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 44 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

Season Series Stats   
The Caps win the season series four games to none, and eight points to one.  There were only 14 goals scored by the two teams combined in the four games and all four meetings were decided by a single goal.  The Isles have scored first 25 times this season (16-4-5) but three of those games have been against Washington (0-1-2). The Caps have gone 11-0-1 in the last twelve games against the Isles but five of the Capital wins have been in overtime or shootouts; 11 of the last 15 games between the teams have been decided by a single goal.

Boudreau Keeps Winning
Bruce Boudreau is now 175-76-38 in his coaching career.  His .671 winning percentage is tops among active coaches and tops among any coach in history with at least 250 games coached.  Boudreau had high praise for the Islanders after Saturday’s game: “They're going to be a really good team in the not-too-distant future.”

Happy Anniversary
31 years ago today (March 1, 1980): Six days after winning Olympic Gold, Ken Morrow makes his NHL debut.  Denis Potvin also returns to the Islanders lineup after missing three months with a thumb injury.  Despite the additions, the Isles lost to Detroit 4-3.  Morrow’s arrival allowed the Islanders to trade Dave Lewis to Los Angeles one week later (along with Billy Harris); the trade netted the Isles Butch Goring, the final piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle. 

All-time, the Isles are 6-10-1 on this date, including a 2-0 win over St. Louis in 1988.  Billy Smith recorded the shutout—his final one at the Coliseum. 

Up Next
Wednesday, March 2 Vs Minnesota 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The Islanders look to do something that they have not done since the lockout—defeat the Wild, when Minnesota visits on Wednesday night.  The teams have met five times in the last 4 ¾ seasons and the Wild have won all five games.  The Wild have not played on Long Island in 101 weeks (March 25, 2009) and the teams have not played at all since a 3-2 Minnesota win on November 20, 2009 in St. Paul.

Dynasty child Eric Nystrom returns to Long Island for the first time with Minnesota; he scored a goal as a Calgary Flame in his last Coliseum visit.

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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