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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 71

Rangers 6, Isles 3

Ryan Callahan scored midway through the second period to break a 2-2 tie and Marian Gaborik and Bryan McCabe added power play goals before the session was complete as the New York Rangers defeated the Islanders 6-3 before a sellout crowd of 18,200 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers improve to 4-1 in their last five games as they hand the Isles their first regulation loss (4-1-3) since February 25th.  The Isles remain 11 points behind the 8th place Sabres, who were blanked by Carolina tonight.

Rangers Score Twice in First
Sean Avery took a boarding penalty just 2:47 into play but it was the Rangers who would score on the ensuing power play as Brandon Prust scored his 11th goal of the season.  It was the Rangers’ 11th shorthanded goal, one ahead of the Islanders (and one behind league-leading Philadelphia).   Eric Christensen doubled the advantage with a power play goal at 14:52 of the period.  The Rangers outshot the Isles 21-12 in the opening period; it was the most shots on goal that the Isles have allowed in a period since the Devils had 21 on March 13, 2010. It was the first time the Isles had allowed two goals in the first period since February 17th vs Boston.

Isles Fight Back Early in the Second
The Isles’ beat stretch came in the first four minutes of the second period, when they took the only three shots, and scored twice.  It took until the intermission for Matt Moulson to be awarded his 30th goal of the season on a deflection of a Jack Hillen shot.  Moulson, who ties last season’s total, is the first Islander to have consecutive 30-goal seasons since Mariusz Czerkawski did so in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.  PA Parenteau then knocked a puck out of mid-air off a pass from John Tavares to knot the game.  It was PA’s 17th goal of the season.

Rangers Score 3 in 7:40
Callahan’s goal at 11:31 broke the deadlock and gave the Rangers the lead for good.  It was his 21st goal of the season, and his fifth in the last two games.  The Islanders ran into penalty issues shortly thereafter, and found themselves allowing two more power play goals.  Marian Gaborik scored his 19th goal at 15:09, and former Islander Captain Bryan McCabe had the back-breaking goal on a 5-on-3 goal with 49 seconds to play.  It was his first goal as a Ranger.  The Rangers took the final 14 shots of the session and had a 36-17 shot advantage through two periods.

One Each in the Third
Marian Gaborik scored his second goal of the game and his 6th in five games against the Isles, at 12:43, beating Nathan Lawson.  John Tavares got one back for the Islanders with 4:03 to play – it was his 50th career goal and 26th of this season.  Unfortunately, it was not enough.   6-3 Final.

3 x 26
Tavares’ goal gives the Isles three 26-goal scorers, joining Michael Grabner and Matt Moulson.  It’s the first time since 2006-07 that the Isles have had the players with at least 26 goals.  That season Jason Blake had 40, Miro Satan had 27, and Mike Sillinger had 26.

Top 5
Parenteau’s goal gives the Islanders five players with at least 17 goals: Moulson 30, Grabner 28, Tavares 26, Blake Comeau 20, and Parenteau 17.  The quintet has combined for 121 of the Islanders 194 goals (62%) this season.

End of the Seven-Pack
The loss is the Isles’ first in March, and their first in regulation over the last eight games.  The Isles had been 4-0-3 in their prior seven games marking the first time since 1981 (7-0-4) that they have earned points in their first seven March games; it was their longest point streak of the season.  They last had a seven game point streak from February 19 – March 5, 2007 (5-0-2).  They have not had a longer point streak since they went 5-0-3 over eight games from January 18- February 7, 2007.

Fast 50 (With Thanks to the Elias Sports Bureau—As Seen on MSG2)
John Tavares is now the youngest Islander to reach 50 goals, 22 days younger than Hall-of-Famer Bryan Trottier.  Tavares is 20 years, 177 days.  The next five youngest: Trottier (20-199), Pat LaFontaine (20-302), Mike Bossy (21-69), Brent Sutter (21-137) and Clark Gillies (21-305).  All but Sutter are now members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The A Team
The Isles’ top line had a big night offensively, with Parenteau, Moulson and Tavares each scoring a goal.  Parenteau added one assist while Moulson and Tavares each had two.  Jack Hillen was the only other Islander to record a point.

Second Half-Surge
The Islanders are 12-6-4 since the All-Star Break and are 22-15-6 in their last 43 games.

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 116 career points (52-64-116), more than any healthy Islander.

•    John Tavares scored his 50th career goal, added two assists and now has 114 points (50-64-114). He is the second youngest player in Islander history (Bryan Trottier) to record 100 career points. 

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

•    Kyle Okposo has 112 points (43-69-112).

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

With his assist tonight, Matt Moulson has 107 career points; however, his first ten points came as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. Veteran defender Radek Martinek has 99 career points, all as an Islander.

Home and Road
The Isles are 27-33-11, and are 11-18-6 on the road.  They are 23-23-8 under Jack Capuano, including 22-15-6 in the last 43.  Their 65 points is four more than they managed in the entire 2008-09 season; they are three points behind last season’s pace.  

The Rangers are 37-30-4, and are 16-16-3 at home.  Their win, coupled with a Sabres loss, leaves the Rangers alone in 7th Place in the East, two points ahead of Buffalo.

Sharing the Wealth
The Isles are 22-15-6 in their last 43 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 played the first two periods and made 31 saves. He is now 7-3-3 on the season.  This was Montoya’s 12th start for the Isles and the first time that he has allowed 2 goals in the first period, more than two goals in the first two periods and more than three goals in regulation.  He remains tied with Rick DiPietro for the team lead in wins (7).  Montoya has started seven straight games (4-1-2); he is the first Islander to do so since Dwayne Roloson started seven straight games (0-6-1) in early November.  Nathan Lawson, seeing his first game action in two weeks, stopped 10 of 11.

Henrik Lundqvist defeats the Isles for the fourth straight time.  Lundqvist, who made 25 saves, improves to 29-24-4 as he defeats the Isles for the 21st time (most of any goalie since 2005-06)

Power Plays
Special Teams paid a huge part in the game.  The Isles were 1-3 on the power play while the Rangers scored on their first three attempts, and went 3-5.  The Isles also allowed a shorthanded goal and scored a 4-on-4 goal.  It was their 10th 4-on-4 goal of the season, tying Buffalo for the NHL lead.

In the Circle
The Islanders won 25 of 58 (43%) face-offs.  Zenon Konopka was the Islanders’ best, winning 8 of 12.

Big Bang Theory
Matt Martin fought Michael Sauer in the third period. The Islanders out-hit the Rangers 33-29.

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 sixth game of his 10-game suspension.  The Isles have lost 495 games to injury and 22 games to suspension this season.

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 153 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 83-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 51 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

Cappy’s First 54
Jack Capuano is back to NHL .500 with a 23-23-8 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 Rangers lead the season series four games to one and eight points to two. The final meeting of the season will be at the Coliseum on March 29th.  The Rangers sweep the Garden portion of the season series, outscoring the Isles 15-5.  It’s the first time since 2003-04 that the Rangers have swept the Islanders at the Garden.  The Rangers particularly dominated the last two meetings, outscoring the Isles 13-5, and out-shooting the Isles 99-48.  The 99 shots are the most the Isles have ever allowed in a two-game period to the Rangers.  However, the Isles did manage a late power play goal, their first in the last 11 games against the Rangers.

Happy Anniversary
2 years ago today (March 15, 2009):  Peter Mannino made 40 saves as the Islanders defeat the Blackhawks 4-2 in Chicago. It was Mannino’s only win as an Islander, and to this point his only win in the NHL.

All-time, the Isles are 7-8-0 on this date; the Isles have played 8 straight road games on this date (2-6-0) since defeating the Devils at the Coliseum in 1994.  Al Arbour is the only man to ever coach the Islanders at the Coliseum on this date; he went 5-0-0.

Up Next
Friday, March 18 @ Carolina 7:00pm
[MSG+2 (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

After spending the first two games of their five game road trip in metro-New York (0-1-1), the Isles now head south for three games beginning Friday in Carolina.  The Hurricanes have won both games this season, and have now won four straight from the Isles over two seasons.  The Isles do not have a regulation win over Carolina since January 22, 2008, going 2-8-0 in that span.

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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