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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 76

Philadelphia 4, Isles 1

James van Riemsdyk scored three goals for his first career hat trick as the Philadelphia Flyers continued their recent success over the Islanders, beating the Isles 4-1 before 15,458 at the Nassau Coliseum.  It is the first time since late January that the Isles have lost consecutive games in regulation.

First, the Fights
There were two separate altercations in the first 21 seconds as Micheal Haley fought Daniel Carcillo off the opening faceoff and Zenon Konopka battled Sean O’Donnell. Konopka’s bout gave him an even 250 penalty minutes on the season.  He is the first Islander to reach that total since Rich Pilon in 1997-98. It is the sixth highest total in club history.  There was only lone fight in remaining 59:39 as Matt Martin fought O’Donnell with just under 8 minutes to play.  Martin also received a ten-minute misconduct for his trouble.  Martin, who led the Isles with six hits, now has 281 hits on the season (3rd in the NHL).

Flyers Strike Twice…Quickly
The Flyers grabbed a 2-0 lead in a 22 second span of the first period.  Jeff Carter beat Rick DiPietro off a face-off win by Claude Giroux, who was playing in his 200th NHL game, for his 34th goal of the season, and 19th in 38 career games against the Isles.  Van Riemsdyk then scored his first goal in ten games to give the Flyers a 2-0 advantage.

Comeau Gets the Isles on the Board
Blake Comeau got the Isles on the board at 10:28 of the opening period with his 21st goal of the season.  It’s the first time that Comeau has tallied 21 times in a single campaign since he did so for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL in 2005-06.  However, van Riemsdyk restored the two-goal difference at 13:25 when he converted a pass from Andrej Mezaros.  The Flyer defensemen appeared to intentionally shoot the puck wide of the net and it came out the other side, where “JVR” was waiting to bang it home.

Hat Trick
Following a scoreless middle period, van Riemsdyk completed his hat trick, and the scoring, with a power play tally midway through the third period.  It was his 19th goal of the season, and fifth in 10 career games against the Islanders. 4-1 Final.

The loss mathematically eliminated the Islanders from playoff contention.

Top 5
The Islanders have five players with at least 18 goals: Grabner 31, Moulson 30, Tavares 27, Comeau 21, and Parenteau 18.  The quintet has combined for 127 of the Islanders’ 206 goals (62%) this season. At least one of the five has scored a goal in every game this month – 13 in all.

200 Shot Club
Michael Grabner had two shots on goal and now has 211 shots on the season; breaking a tie with Denis Potvin for third place in Islander history among rookies. The Islanders now have three players (Moulson 213 and Tavares-217) with 200 shots in a season for the first time since 2006-07 (Blake, Satan and Yashin).  He is the first Islander rookie with at least 200 shots in a season since David Volek had 229 in 1988-89.

Grabner’s Chase of the Record Books

Most Goals by an Islanders Rookie
1. Mike Bossy 53 (1977-78)
2. Bryan Trottier 32 (1975-76)
3. Michael Grabner 31 (2010-11)

Grabner needs one goal to tie Trottier for second place on the all-time rookie goal scoring list.

Most Shots on Goal by an Islanders Rookie
1. Mike Bossy 235 (1977-78)
2. David Volek 229 (1988-89)
3. Michael Grabner 211 (2010-11)
4. Denis Potvin 209 (1973-74)

Grabner would need to average 4.1 shots per game to break Bossy’s record.

Rookies Who Have Led Isles in Goals
1. Billy Harris - 28 in 1972-73,
2. Mike Bossy - 53 in 1977-78,
3. Trent Hunter -25 in 2003-04 (tied with Mariusz Czerkawski)
4. Kyle Okposo-18 in 2008-09.

Grabner currently has the team lead with 31.

Second-Half Surge
Despite the loss, the Islanders are 14-8-5 since the All-Star Break and are 24-17-7 in their last 48 games

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

Frans Nielsen has 118 points (35-83-118), tops among healthy Islanders.
• Blake Comeau’s goal gives him 117 career points (53-64-117).
John Tavares now has 115 points (51-64-115). He is the youngest player in Islander history to record 50 goals and the second youngest player (Bryan Trottier) to record 100 career points. 
Kyle Okposo’s has 113 points (44-69-113).
• Veteran defender Radek Martinek earned an assist on Comeau’s tally; he has 101 career points (20-81-101)

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 has 106 career points; however, his first ten points came as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

Career Years
A number of Islanders are either close to or have assured themselves of career years in key offensive categories: (Unless otherwise noted, the career high was set last season)

Set New Career Highs:
John Tavares: 27 goals, 34 assists, 61 points (24-30-54 last season), 4 GW goals (2)
PA Parenteau: 18 goals, 31 assists, 49 points (3-5-8)
Michael Grabner: 31 goals, 17 assists, 48 points (5-6-11), 5 SH Goals (0)
• Blake Comeau: 21 goals, 21 assists, 42 points (17-18-35), 4 pp goals (2 in 2008-09), 69 games (63)
Frans Nielsen: 31 assists (26),42 points (38), 6 SH goals (1)
• Andrew Mac Donald:  4 goals, 23 assists, 27 points (1-6-7)
Josh Bailey: 4 pp goals (3 -- twice)
• Jack Hillen:  4 goals, 16 assists, 20 points (3-12-15)
• Zenon Konopka: 76 games, 7 assists, 9 points (74 games, 3 twice , 7 in 2005-06)
Matt Moulson: 9 pp goals (8)
Milan Jurcina: 13 assists, 17 points (11 in 2008-09, 14 in 2008-09)

Tied Career High
Matt Moulson:  30-18-48 (30-18-48)

Approaching Career Highs
Frans Nielsen: 11 goals (12)
• Zenon Konopka: 250 penalty minutes (265)

Home and Road
The Isles are 29-35-12, and are 16-17-5 at home.  They are 25-25-9 under Jack Capuano, including 24-17-7 in the last 48.  Their 70 points is nine more than they managed in the entire 2008-09 season; they remain two points behind last season’s pace. 

The Flyers are 45-19-10, and are 24-9-4 on the road.   The 24 road wins match a Flyer team record, set in 2002-03.  They now have 100 points on the season; it the first time that they have done this in 74 games since the 1985-86 season.

Sharing the Wealth
The Isles are 24-17-7 in their last 48 games, and all six goalies that the Isles have used this season have wins during that stretch (Montoya 8, DiPietro 5, Roloson 4, Poulin 4, Koskinen 2, and Lawson 1).

In the Nets
Rick DiPietro, playing for just the second time since February 2nd, made 18 saves but drops to 8-11-4 on the season.  He is tied with Al Montoya for the team lead in wins.  DiPietro is 127-128-33 on his career, with a 7-13-0 record against the Flyers.

Calder Trophy candidate Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves to improve to 27-11-6.

Power Plays
The Islanders went 0-4 on the power play while the Flyers were 1-1.  The power play is 0-8 in the last two games and 1-18 in the last five games, while the penalty killer have allowed goals in three straight games for the first time since December 16-22.

Power Shortage
The Isles have been held to one goal in consecutive games for the first time since November 20-21.

Shutting Down the Flyers
The Islanders held the Flyers to 22 shots, their fewest against the Isles since having only 17 on November 17, 2007.  It’s the fewest Flyer shots at the Coliseum since April 2, 2006 (when they also had 22).

Lots of PIMs
Konopka has 250 penalty minutes while Martin has 128.  It’s the first time since the 1997-98 season that the Isles have had at least two players with at least 128 penalty minutes. (Pilon 291, Bryan McCabe 145, Paul Kruse 138).

In the Circle
The Islanders won 33 of 56 (59%) face-offs.  Frans Nielsen won 9 of 13.

Nice to See the Barn (Nearly) Full
The crowd of 15,458 was the third-largest of the season at the Coliseum.

Missing Men
The Isles announced on Friday that Andrew MacDonald would not play again would not play this season due to a hip injury. Mark Streit, Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin and Mark Eaton are also out for the season, while Doug Weight remains out.    Trevor Gillies is eligible to play but was a healthy scratch.  The Isles have lost 525 games to injury and 25 games to suspension this season.

Missing Mac
The Isles are 1-12-3 in games that Andrew MacDonald has missed this season.

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 158 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 88-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 56 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

Cappy’s First 59
Jack Capuano drops to NHL .500 with a 25-25-9 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). Capuano has earned 59 standings points – more than any coach in Islander history who did not start the season behind the bench.

March to the Finish
The Isles are 6-3-4 in March with two games to play.  The 16 points in March is one shy of the 17 that they earned in 2005-06.  They have not earned more than 17 points in March since 1988 when they earned 19 points in March.

Season Series Stats
The Flyers continue their recent dominance over the Isles. The Islanders are 1-16-4 against Philadelphia since February, 2008. This season the Flyers have won all five meetings, with three of the five games being decided by a single goal.  The Flyers won all three Coliseum tilts this season and are 10-1 in their last 11 trips to Long Island (Isles are 1-8-2 in same stretch).

Happy Anniversary
33 years ago today (March 26, 1978):  In the makeup of a game snowed out six weeks earlier, the Islanders rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Minnesota North Stars 6-3 at the Coliseum.  Bob Nystrom scored two goals and added three assists while Bob Bourne also added a pair of goals.  The game was played on Easter Sunday; the Isles did not play another Sunday home game until 1990 and would not win another game on Easter Sunday until Pat LaFontaine ended the Easter Epic at 1:58 in the morning of Easter Sunday 1987.

All-time, the Isles are 8-7-1 on this date.

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

The Islanders head to Newark for the final meeting of the season with the Devils. The Isles won the first two meetings of the season, but the Devils have taken the last three meetings, including a pair of 3-2 victories this month (in a shootout at the Coliseum and in overtime at The Rock).  New Jersey has outshot the Islanders 155-100 shots over the five games.

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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