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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 69

Isles 4, Bruins 2

Tim Thomas stopped the Islanders’ first 28 shots, but even the Vezina Trophy candidate could not contain the red-hot Islanders.  Matt Moulson scored with two seconds to play in the middle period and the Isles jumped on the Boston Bruins early in the third for goals by Michael Grabner and Jack Hillen as they went on to defeat the Boston Bruins 4-2 before 12,119 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Islanders finish their five game homestand with a 4-0-1 record and extended their point streak to six straight games (4-0-2).

Bruins Grab a 2-0 Advantage
Nathan Horton scored his 20th goal of the season when he converted a rebound of a Milan Lucic shot at 16:29 of the first to give the Bruins the lead.  It was the first goal Al Montoya has allowed in the first period in his eight home starts.  Zdeno Chara scored on a 5-on-3 power play at 13:02 of the second to double the Bruins’ advantage.  The Bruin Captain, who was booed throughout by the Coliseum crowd, now has 12 goals on the season, including seven on the power play.

Turning Point of the Game
Brad Marchand took an interference penalty off a big hit on Joshua Bailey with 1:15 to play in the second period.  The Isles made him pay, when Matt Moulson scored his team-leading 29th goal with just 2.0 seconds left on the second period goal off a nice passing play with John Tavares and PA Parenteau.  It was Moulson’s 20th goal on home-ice this season, tying Steven Stamkos, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Kesler for the NHL lead.   The goal capped a second period in which the Isles outshot Boston 18-12.

Third Period is All Isles
Michael Grabner’s 28th goal tied the game for the Isles just 1:28 into the third.  Grabner leads all NHL rookies in goals, and remains one behind Matt Moulson for the team lead. It was Grabner’s 21st point since the All-Star Break.  24 of Grabner’s 28 goals have come at even-strength; Bobby Ryan (27) and Steven Stamkos (26) are the only players with more. Jack Hillen then got the game-winning goal when his shot from the point was deflected into the goal by Bruins defensemen Dennis Seidenberg. It was Hillen’s 4th goal of the season.  Hillen, who had seven shots on goal, matching his career high, also made a big defensive play on the Bruins’ David Krejci.  PA Parenteau was awarded a goal with ten seconds to play when he was tugged from behind with the Bruins’ net empty.  It was his 16th goal of the season. 4-2 Final.

Offensive Juggernaut
There are only 16 players in the NHL with at least 28 goals and the Isles have two of them: Moulson 29 and Grabner 28.  Philadelphia is the only other Eastern Conference team to have two 28-goal scorers; Anaheim, Chicago and Vancouver also have two.

The Isles are 4-0-2 in their last six games; it is their longest point streak of the season.  They last had a six game point streak from October 24 –November 2, 2009 (also 4-0-2).  They have not had a longer point streak since they went 5-0-2 over seven games from February 19 – March 5, 2007.

Strange Stats of the Day
PA Parenteau was awarded a goal without being credited for a shot on goal in the game.  Certainly helps the shooting percentage, although the off-ice officials confirmed with NHL officials that this was appropriate.

Al Montoya now shares the team lead in wins (7); all of these wins have come since February 13th.

The Isles are 4-0-2 in March.  It’s the first time since 1982 (5-0-1) that they have earned points in their first six March games, and match the third-best point streak to start March in club history.  The Isles earned points in the first 11 games of March 1981 and in the first seven games of March 1975.

The New York 49’ers
The Islanders are 12-5-3 since the All-Star Break and are 22-14-5 in their last 41 games.  Their 49 points from December 16-March 11 equals Boston for the most points in the Eastern Conference:

It's the first time that they have managed at least 49 points in a 41 game span since 2007.

Boston 39 22 12 5 49
NY Islanders 41 22 14 5 49
Washington 36 21 9 6 48
Tampa Bay 37 21 12 4 46
New Jersey 37 22 13 2 46
Buffalo 36 20 12 4 44
Philadelphia 34 21 12 1 43
Montreal 37 19 13 5 43
Pittsburgh 35 18 11 6 42
Carolina 39 18 15 6 42
Toronto 38 17 15 6 40
Florida 39 14 16 9 37
NY Rangers 36 16 17 3 35
Atlanta 36 11 17 8 30
Ottawa 36 12 18 6 30

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

•    Blake Comeau has 115 career points (51-64-115), more than any healthy Islander.

•    Frans Nielsen has 114 points (33-81-114)

•    Kyle Okposo assisted on both Grabner’s and Hillen’s goals and now has 112 points (43-69-112)

•    John Tavares assisted on Moulson’s goal and now has 110 points (48-62-110). He is the second youngest player in Islander history (Bryan Trottier) to record 100 career points.

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

With two points tonight, Matt Moulson has 103 career points; however, his first ten points came as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. Veteran defender Radek Martinek assisted on the winning goal. He has 99 career points, all as an Islander.

Home and Road
The Isles are 27-32-10, and are 16-15-5 at home.  They are 23-22-7 under Jack Capuano, including 22-14-5 in the last 41.  Their 64 points is five more than they managed in the entire 2008-09 season; they remain one point behind last season’s pace.   They are within five games of NHL .500 for the first time since that were 4-9-3 after a shootout loss in San Jose on November 11th.

The Bruins are 38-21-9, and are 22-9-4 on the road.  Their 22-9-4 road record matches Detroit for the best in the NHL.  The Bruins, however, are winless in their last four games (0-2-2).

Fort Rarely Lose
The Isles are 6-1-1 in their last eight at home; they have outscored the opposition 29-14 in those eight games. Since the All-Star Break, the Islanders are 8-3-1 at home.  The Isles are over .500 on the season at home for the first time since they were 2-1-1 after they lost to Montreal on October 29.

Sharing the Wealth
The Isles are 22-14-5 in their last 41 games, and all six goalies that the Isles have used this season have wins during that stretch (Montoya 7, DiPietro 4, Roloson 4, Poulin 4, Koskinen 2, and Lawson 1).

In the Nets
Al Montoya made 26 saves as he improves to 7-2-2 with a 2.01 goals against average and a 92.7% save percentage. Montoya has made ten starts for the Isles; he has allowed two goals or fewer through two periods in all ten of them.  He is now tied with Rick DiPietro for the team lead in wins (7).

Tim Thomas was spectacular at times for Boston, making 38 saves.  He is 29-9-8 on the season.

Power Plays
The Isles went 1-3 on the power play while the Bruins went 1-4. The Isles are 4-13 on the power play over the last five games.  They have killed 26 of 30 power plays over the last eleven.  The Bruins’ goal on the 5-on-3 was their first after going 0-19 in the previous eight games.

In the Circle
The Islanders had a strong third period in the circle, winning 13-of-19; overall they won 27 of 62 (44%) face-offs.   Zenon Konopka won nine of 15.

Hit ... Hit…
Matt Martin had four hits; he now has 256 hits, just seven behind Tuomo Ruutu for second place in the league.  Martin is 42 hits behind league-leader Cal Clutterbuck and is just behind Clutterbuck (4.656 to 4.655) for the league lead in hits per game.

Missing Men
Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit, Doug Weight and Rick DiPietro remain out.    Trevor Gillies served the fourth game of his 10-game suspension.  The Isles have lost 481 games to injury and 20 games to suspension this season.

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 151 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 81-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 49 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

Cappy’s First 52
Jack Capuano is over NHL .500 with a 23-22-7 record. Only four other coaches in Islander history who coached at least 50 games have at least a .500 record (Al Arbour, Peter Laviolette, Steve Stirling, and Ted Nolan).

Season Series Stats   
The Bruins still lead the season series two games to one and four points to two. The Isles went 1-1-0 at home against Boston; they are 7-5 against the Bruins at the Coliseum over the last six seasons.  However, this was only the Isles’ third win in their last 13 games overall against Boston (3-9-1). The teams will meet again on April 6th in Boston.

Happy Anniversary
31 years ago today (March 11, 1980):  In the first game after the acquisition of Butch Goring, the Islanders defeated Colorado 4-1 to begin their season-ending 12-game unbeaten streak.

All-time, the Isles are 8-9-2 on this date. They are 2-7-1 on this date since a Pat Lafontaine overtime goal gave Jeff Hackett a 3-2 win over New Jersey in 1989; both wins have come against the Bruins.

Up Next
Saturday, March 12 @ New Jersey 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The Islanders and Devils meet for the second time this week and the fifth time this season on Saturday night in New Jersey.  Both teams will be looking for their second win in as many nights as the Devils won in overtime in Atlanta on Friday.  The Isles defeated New Jersey 5-1 on December 23rd in Jacques Lemaire’s return.  The Devils have been red-hot for nearly two month, going 21-3-2 in their last 26 games.

New Jersey has not allowed a first period goal in fifteen straight games; it’s the second longest streak in NHL history (Ottawa 1927-28).   The Devils, who have also not scored a goal in eight straight first periods, are the first team since the 1936-37 Blackhawks to have such a streak.  (Thanks, Elias Sports Bureau)

And Finally…
Let’s correct an error and fix an omission from Tuesday’s Skinny.  The Butch Goring trade occurred during the late-night hours of March 10 (not March 11 as noted).  A Los Angeles Times story noted that Billy Harris found about the deal while watching The Tonight Show.

Matt Martin failed on his penalty shot attempt Tuesday.  The Isles are 2-4 this season on penalty shots with Frans Nielsen scoring twice on the road and Michael Grabner also being stopped at home.  The Isles have not scored on a home penalty shot attempt since Tim Connolly did so on March 21, 2000 vs. Pittsburgh, failing 15 times since then:

•    Dave Scatchard 2/27/01 New Jersey Brodeur Failed
•    Brad Isbister 2/10/02 Minnesota Roloson Failed
•    Brad Isbister 10/15/02 Nashville Vokoun Failed
•    Dave Scatchard 11/12/02 Ottawa Prusek Failed
•    Miroslav Satan 10/10/05 Florida Luongo Failed
•    Robert Nilsson 3/4/06 Philadelphia Nittymaki Failed
•    Sean Bergenheim 3/31/06 Pittsburgh Caron Failed
•    Richard Park 10/27/07 Carolina Grahame Failed
•    Kyle Okposo 10/10/08 New Jersey Brodeur Failed
•    Doug Weight 10/25/08 Carolina Ward Failed
•    Sean Bergenheim 2/26/09 Toronto Toskala Failed
•    Doug Weight 10/31/09 Buffalo Lalime Failed
•    Kyle Okposo 1/19/10 Pittsburgh Johnson Failed 
•    Michael Grabner 2/13/11 Pittsburgh Johnson Failed
•    Matt Martin 3/8/11 Toronto Riemer Failed

(Thanks to Chris King for reminding me of this)

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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