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The Skinny

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 78

Isles 6, Rangers 2

Following an injury to Frans Nielsen, the Islanders exploded for four second period goals as they pounded the Rangers 6-2 before a sellout crowd of 16,250 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  Nielsen, the NHL leader in shorthanded goals was knocked out of the game on a hit by Ranger star Marian Gaborik late in the first period. It was the Islanders’ second sellout crowd of the season.

Prospal Strikes First
The Islanders had the better of the play early in the game, but Vinny Prospal capitalized on a rebound of a Marian Gaborik shot to beat Al Montoya for the only goal of the first period and the Rangers’ first in 127:46.  The Rangers spent most of the second-half of the period and the early part of the 2nd power play, including two 5-on-3’s. Over one 12:05 stretch, the Rangers spent all but 1:31 on the power play but were outscored 2-0.

Two Sets of Two
Blake Comeau and Radek Martinek scored 33 seconds apart to turn the game around early in the 2nd period.  It was Comeau’s 22nd goal of the season – the most that he has had since his next to last season in Juniors.  Martinek’s goal was his third of the season, and 21st in 449 career games.  It’s only the third time in his career that Martinek has scored three times in a season.  Later in the session the Isles scored twice in 76 seconds as Jesse Joensuu and PA Parenteau beat Henrik Lundqvist. The four goals were scored in an 11:20 span.  It was the first time that the Isles have scored four goals in a period since doing so in both the 1st and 2nd periods against the Penguins on February 11th. “The King” would exit after the second period, having allowed four goals on 22 shots. 

The Isles have now outscored their opponents 87-79 in the second period this season.

Moulson Ties Grabner
With Michael Grabner at the hospital welcoming his son Aidan (who was born during the game), Matt Moulson tied him for the club lead with his first goal in 7 games.  Trevor Gillies then made it 6-1 at 14:00 when he deflected home Dylan Reese’s shot.  It’s  only the third time all season that the Rangers have allowed six goals (and the second time at the Coliseum).  Brandon Dubinsky added a late goal for the Rangers; the first time in five games that they have scored two goals.  6-2 Final.

Fight Night
There were several fights, all in the third period with the outcome already decided. Jack Hillen challenged Brandon Dubinsky; it was Hillen’s first NHL fight. Sean Avery tried to pick a fight with Travis Hamonic; instead he fought Michael Haley. Zenon Konopka battled Brandon Prust and Dylan Reese had it out with Ruslan Fedotenko. Five players were given misconducts in the final 14 seconds.  In all, there were 62 penalty minutes for the Islanders and 60 penalty minutes for the Rangers.

The Islanders have now had multiple fights in their last game with each of their four division rivals.

Reese’s Pieces
Dylan Reese had three assists, matching his career total in 41 games. 

Konopka Sets Personal Record
Zenon Konopka had a major penalty and three minors.  The 11 penalty minutes gives him 266, one more than he had for Tampa last season. It’s the highest penalty total by any NHL player since Daniel Carcillo had 324 in 2007-08.  Carcillo and Peter Worrell (354 penalty minutes in 2001-02) are the only players to have more penalty minutes than Konopka in the last 13 years.  He is the first Islander to reach that total since Rich Pilon in 1997-98.

Top 5
The Islanders have five players with at least 19 goals: Grabner 31, Moulson 31, Tavares 27, Comeau 22, and Parenteau 19.  The quintet has combined for 130 of the Islanders’ 213 goals (61%) this season. At least one of the five players has scored a goal in 14 of the last 15 games.

Leading Man
Frans Nielsen, who leads the NHL in shorthanded goals (7) and points (8), played 5:06 before leaving with an injuryNielsen 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; Nielsen currently has 7 shorties and 6 in other situations.

200 Shot Club
The Islanders have three players (Tavares 223, Moulson 222 and Grabner 211) 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)

Grabner would need to average 6.1 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 is tied for the team lead with 31.

Second-Half Surge
The Islanders are 15-9-5 since the All-Star Break and are 25-18-7 in their last 50 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 has 120 points (37-83-120), tops among active Islanders.
• Blake Comeau has 117 career points (53-64-117).
John Tavares assisted on Moulson’s goal and has 116 points (51-65-116). 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 has 114 points (44-70-114).
• Veteran defender Radek Martinek had a goal and an assist; he now has 103 career points (21-82-103)

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 had two points tonight to give him 108 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, 35 assists, 62 points (24-30-54 last season), 4 GW goals (2)
PA Parenteau: 19 goals, 32 assists, 51 points (3-5-8)
Michael Grabner: 31 goals, 17 assists, 48 points (5-6-11), 5 SH Goals (0)
• Blake Comeau: 22 goals, 21 assists, 43 points (17-18-35), 4 pp goals (2 in 2008-09), 73 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, 17 assists, 21 points (3-12-15)
• Zenon Konopka: 78 games, 7 assists, 9 points (74 games, 3 twice , 7 in 2005-06); 266 penalty minutes (265)
Matt Moulson: 31 goals, 19 assists, 50 points (30-18-48 last season) 9 pp goals (8)
Milan Jurcina: 13 assists, 17 points (11 in 2008-09, 14 in 2008-09)

Approaching Career Highs
• Radek Martink 16 points (17 in 2005-06 and 2006-07)

Home and Road
The Isles are 30-36-12, and are 17-17-5 at home.  They are 26-26-9 under Jack Capuano, including 25-18-7 in the last 50.  Their 72 points is 11 more than they managed in the entire 2008-09 season; they are four points behind last season’s pace. 

The Rangers are 41-32-5 and are 23-16-1 on the road.

Sharing the Wealth
The Isles are 25-18-7 in their last 50 games, and all six goalies that the Isles have used this season have wins during that stretch (Montoya 9, DiPietro 5, Roloson 4, Poulin 4, Koskinen 2, and Lawson 1).

In the Nets
Al Montoya, starting for the first time since signing his new contract, made 25 saves to defeat the team that drafted him for the first time.  Montoya is now 9-4-4 on the season; he leads the club in wins. Montoya has allowed 2 goals or fewer in 10 of his 16 starts.

Henrik Lundqvist made his 22nd consecutive start for the Rangers but falls to 33-26-5 on the season.  Chad Johnson played the final period in his first NHL action this season.

Power Plays
The Islanders went 0-2 on the power play while the Rangers were 0-8.  The power play is 0-12 in the last four games and 1-22 in the last seven games, while the penalty killers have stopped 25-of-28 in the last seven games, while scoring four shorthanded goals.  The Rangers are 0-16 on the power play in their last five games.

It’s the first time since April 4, 2008 that the Isles have been perfect on at least eight penalty kills in a game (also against the Rangers).

Lots Of Plusses
Three Islanders: PA Parenteau, Travis Hamonic and John Tavares were +4 on the game.  It’s the first time since March 25, 2003 in Chicago that the Isles had four players who were +4 or better.  It had not happened at the Coliseum since March 29, 1997 against Boston.

Party Like It’s 19-92!
The four-goal winning margin is the largest for the Islanders over the Rangers in over 19 years, dating back to a 6-2 win over the Blueshirts on February 20, 1992.

Lots of PIMs
Konopka has 266 penalty minutes while Martin has 145.  It’s the first time since the 1997-98 season that the Isles have had at least two players with at least 145 penalty minutes (Pilon 291, Bryan McCabe 145).

In the Circle
The Islanders won 29 of 66 (44%) face-offs. 

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 missed the game awaiting the birth of his baby.  The Isles have lost 543 games to injury and 25 games to suspension this season.

Youth Group
The six Islander defensemen entered the night with only 745 games of NHL experience, with 448 of those games belonging to Radek Martinek. 

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 160 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 90-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 58 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

An 18 Point March
The Isles earned 18 points in March, going 7-4-4.  It’s their most points in March since they earned 19 in March, 1988.

Season Series Stats
The Rangers win the season series four games to two and eight points to four.  The Isles won 2 out of 3 at the Coliseum, outscoring the Rangers 17-12, but lost all three games at Madison Square Garden, where they were outscored 15-5.

Happy Anniversary
23 years ago today (March 31, 1988):  Denis Potvin played his final regular season home game as the Islanders clinched the Patrick Division with a 7-3 victory over the Capitals.  All-time, the Isles are 9-8-0 on this date.

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

The Carolina Hurricanes come to Long Island three points behind the Rangers and Sabres for the final playoff berth.  The Canes have won all three games between the teams this season and are 6-0-1 over the last four seasons at the Coliseum.

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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