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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 77

New Jersey 3, Isles 2

Andy Greene beat Rick DiPietro from the left face-off circle with 4:56 to play  as the Devils spoiled a two-goal third period from Frans Nieslen and defeated the Isles 3-before 16,252 at the Prudential Center.  The Devils, who avoided playoff elimination with the victory, handed the Isles their third consecutive regulation loss for the first time since late January.

Two Early Fights
For the second straight game, there were two early altercations as Zenon Konopka fought David Clarkson and Matt Martin squared off with Jay Leach.  Konopka’s bout gave him an 255 penalty minutes on the season.  He is the first Islander to reach that total since Rich Pilon in 1997-98.

Kovy Scores First
In between the fights, Ilya Kovalchuk tallied his 28th goal of the season.  It was the Devils’ first goal in 178:12, ending their longest scoreless streak since moving to New Jersey.

It’s  J-o-s-e-f-s-o-n
Jacob Josefson made it 2-0 when he scored early in the second period.  It was Josefson’s eighth NHL point; four of them (2-2-4) have come against the Isles.

Frans Time
The Devils protected the 2-0 lead until midway through the third period when Frans Nielsen scored two goals to tie the game.  Nielsen picked off an errant Devil pass at 9:38 and converted an unassisted shorthanded goal.  4:06 later, he scored again off a goal mouth scramble to tie the game.  The shorthanded tally was Frans’ 7th of the season, tying Bob Bourne’s club record set 30 years earlier.  It’s his first two-goal game of the season and gives him a career high 13 goals; he has four goals and two assists in the last six games. 

Greene Wins It
It took longer to confirm Nielsen’s goal (via video review) than it took for the Devils to regain the lead for good at Greene’s winner came just 80 seconds after Nielsen’s second goal.  The Isles continued to pressure, but could not get even.  3-2 Final.

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’ 208 goals (61%) this season. It is the first time in 14 games this month that one of the five has not scored a goal.

Leading Man
Frans Nielsen now leads the entire NHL in shorthanded goals (7) and points (8).  Only seven NHL teams have more shorthanded goals than Nielsen.  The Isles lead the NHL with 14 shorthanded goals; it’s the most that they have had as a team since they scored 17 in 2001-02.

Nielsen is the first NHLer since Mike Richards two seasons ago to record seven shorties, equaling the most by any player since the NHL lockout. No player since expansion has managed to score 7 shorthanded goals while having fewer than 7 in all other situations.

Missing Michael
The Islanders played with Michael Grabner, who was at the hospital awaiting the birth of his first child.  Grabner, who was scratched in four of the first 11 games, had played 65 straight games.

200 Shot Club
Michael Grabner had has 211 shots on the season; it’s the third-highest total for a rookie in Islander history. The Islanders now have three players (Tavares 218 and Moulson 216) with 200 shots in a season for the first time since 2006-07 (Blake, Satan and Yashin).  Grabner 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 5.0 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 14-9-5 since the All-Star Break and are 24-18-7 in their last 49 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’s two goals give him 118 points (37-83-120), tops among healthy Islanders.
• Blake Comeau has 117 career points (53-64-117).
John Tavares 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 assisted on Nielsen second goal and now has 114 points (44-70-114).
• Veteran defender Radek Martinek 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:13 goals (12) 31 assists (26),42 points (38), 7 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: 77 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
• Zenon Konopka: 255 penalty minutes (265)

Home and Road
The Isles are 29-36-12, and are 13-19-7 on the road.  They are 25-26-9 under Jack Capuano, including 24-18-7 in the last 49.  Their 70 points is nine more than they managed in the entire 2008-09 season; they are four points behind last season’s pace. 

The Devils are 35-36-5, and are 19-15-3 at home

Sharing the Wealth
The Isles are 24-18-7 in their last 49 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, starting consecutive games for the first time December 9th-11th, made 17 saves but drops to 8-12-4 on the season.  He is tied with Al Montoya for the team lead in wins.  DiPietro is 127-129-33 on his career, with a 13-11-3 record against the Devils.  DiPietro is 1-6-0 in his last seven starts.

Martin Brodeur made 27 saves to improve to 22-24-3 as he tries to avoid the first losing season of his career.  It is career victory #624 (tops in NHL history); he has defeated the Islanders 48 times, more than any other opponent.

Power Plays
The Islanders went 0-2 on the power play while the Devils were 0-5.  The power play is 0-10 in the last three games and 1-20 in the last six games, while the penalty killer have killed 17-of-20 in the last six games, while scoring four shorthanded goals.

Shutting Down the Devils
The Islanders held the Devils to 20 shots, matching their fewest against the Isles since having only 16 on November 2, 2006. Ilya Kovalchuk had 8 of the Devil shots.

Lots of PIMs
Konopka has 255 penalty minutes while Martin has 135.  It’s the first time since the 1997-98 season that the Isles have had at least two players with at least 135 penalty minutes. (Pilon 291, Bryan McCabe 145, Paul Kruse 138).

In the Circle
The Islanders won only 18 of 43 (42%) face-offs.  Frans Nielsen won 6 of 10.

Missing Men
Mark Streit, Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin Doug Weight, Andrew MacDonald and Mark Eaton are all out for the season, while Milan Jurcina and Bruno Gervais also missed the game with injuries.  Michael Grabner was awaiting the birth of his baby so Trevor Gillies played for only the 2nd time in the last 21 games.  Dylan Reese and Mark Katic returned to the squad to replaced Jurcina and Gervais.  The Isles have lost 534 games to injury and 25 games to suspension this season.

Youth Group
The six Islander defensemen entered the night with only 739 games of NHL experience, with 447 of those games belonging to Radek Martinek.  Five current Devils had more experience than the entire Islander defense.

Missing Mac
The Isles are 1-13-3 in games that Andrew MacDonald has missed this season.

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 159 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 89-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 57 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb
The Isles started March 6-1-4, but have lost three straight to fall to 6-4-4 with one game 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.

No Hitter
The Islanders out-hit the Devils 7-6.

Season Series Stats
The Devils win the season series four games to two and eight points to six.  The Devils won 2 out of 3 in both Uniondale and Newark, with one win in each site coming in overtime.  The teams met three times this month and the Devils won all three games by a 3-2 score.

The Isles were outshot 90-58 in their three games in New Jersey this season (14-35 on December 23rd, 15-35 March 12th and 29-20 tonight). 

Happy Anniversary
31 years ago today (March 30, 1980):  Butch Goring recorded his first hat trick with the Islanders and offset a hat trick from Quebec’s Real Cloutier as the Isles defeated the Nordiques 9-6 at LeColisee.  Goran Hogosta, who played 9 minutes for the Isles in 1977-78 to combine with Billy Smith for a shutout, was in goal for Quebec.

All-time, the Isles are 4-9-1 on this date, but have dropped seven straight (0-7-0) since a 2-1 win in 1993.

Up Next
Thursday, March 31 Vs New York Rangers 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The Islanders return home to face the Rangers for the final time this season, with the Rangers having already won the season series, by taking four of the five meetings.  The Rangers have outscored the Isles 25-16 this season, including 21-10 in the last four games.

Both teams will be coming off 1-goal losses on Wednesday night.  The Rangers lost to Buffalo 1-0 and dropped into 8th place in the Eastern Conference.  Henrik Lundqvist has had a strong season for the Rangers; he has recorded the last 18 Ranger win against the Isles.  Kevin Weekes (4/6/2006) was the last Ranger other than Lundqvist to defeat the Isles.

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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