Steve Stirling said it best this morning: "There's no better way for us to welcome our fans back, to thank them for hanging in there with us, than by playing our best game and delivering a great win."
And so Saturday's home opener against the Carolina Hurricanes (FSNY, Bloomberg 1130) is about the Islanders and their fans. The players know what to expect.
"I've played many games in every building," said captain Alexei Yashin. "In the big games, like at openers and in the playoffs, our fans are as loud as any teams' fans. I would expect we'll hear them on Saturday."
Now it's the Islanders' job to keep the building loud for two and a half hours. Here are your game notes.
AGAINST THE 'CANES
The Islanders have a lifetime record of 39-41-9-0 vs. the Carolina Hurricanes. At the Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders are 20-20-4-0 and their record on the road against the Hurricanes is 19-21-5-0.
In the 18 years as the Hartford Whalers, the Islanders had a record of 28-23-9-0 (16-9-4-0 record at home and 12-14-5-0 at the Hartford Civic Center) and since the franchise moved to Carolina following the 1996-97 season, they are 11-18-0-0 (4-11-0-0 at home and 7-7-0-0 in Carolina) against the Hurricanes.
In 2003-04, the Islanders were 2-2-0-0 against the Hurricanes, with both wins coming on the road at the RBC Center. New York defeated Carolina, 6-4 on April 2 and 3-2 on January 23, while the Hurricanes won both game in New York, winning 3-2 on March 27 and 2-0 on November 26 at the Nassau Coliseum.
October 5 at Buffalo - The Islanders lost to the Buffalo Sabres, 6-4, in the 2005-06 season opener on Wednesday at the HSBC Arena. Alexei Zhitnik, Alexei Yashin, Jason Blake and Chris Campoli scored, while Brent Sopel and Mike York each had two assists for the Islanders, who are 1-6-3 in their last 10 openers and 8-17-8 overall. Daniel Briere led the Sabres with two goals and one assist, while Maxim Afinogenov scored twice and J.P. Dumont added a goal and an assist. DiPietro, who was the game's No. 2 star, made 33 saves in the loss for the Islanders, while Miller stopped 22 of 26 for the Sabres. The win was the Sabres' first against the Isles' since the 2003-04 season, snapping a six-game losing streak.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER FOR CAMPOLI
With over 50 friends and relatives in attendance, rookie defenseman Chris Campoli made it a night to remember as he scored his first NHL goal on his first shot at 6:40 of the first period.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Campoli is the fourth player since 1990 to make his NHL debut for the Islanders and score a goal in his first game.
|10-5-05||Chris Campoli||6-4 loss at Buffalo|
|10-2-99||Jorgen Jonsson||4-2 loss at Tampa Bay|
|10-7-95||Todd Bertuzzi||4-4 tie at Boston|
|10-16-90||Greg Parks||4-1 win vs. Winnipeg|
FORMER BENCH BOSS RETURNS
Former Isles head coach Peter Laviolette enters his second season with the Hurricanes. Laviolette was named the 11th head coach in franchise history on December 15, 2003. He won his first game as head coach with Carolina as the Hurricanes defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1, in overtime on December 18, 2003. Under Laviolette, Carolina posted a 20-22-6-4 record in its final 52 games of the 2003-04 season.
The Islanders are 2-1 against their former coach and in 2003-04, clinched their third straight post-season appearance with a 6-4 win over the Hurricanes at RBC Center on April 2, 2004.
NILSSON AND NOKELAINEN MAKE PRO DEBUT
In addition to Chris Campoli, forwards' Petteri Nokelainen and Robert Nilsson made their NHL debuts on Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres. Nokelainen had a little over two minutes of ice time and was scoreless and a minus-one with two penalty minutes, while Nilsson had 17:33 minutes of ice time and recorded two shots and was a plus-one.
The Islanders have a lifetime record of 20-10-1-1 in home openers. The Islanders are 2-2-0-1 in their last five home openers and are 5-4-0-1 in their last 10. With their 2-1 win over Florida to open the home portion of the 2003-04 season, the Islanders will be looking to win back-to-back home openers for the first time since 1996 and 1997. The Islanders opened the 1996 season with a 5-1 win over Philadelphia (10/12/96) and posted a 3-0 win over Toronto (10/4/97).
HOME OPENER NOTES
The Islanders will be playing the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time in a home opener.
In the previous 32 home openers, the Islanders have outscored the opponent, 118-89. The Islanders have averaged more than a goal a game more in their home opener than their road opener (3.68-2.42). In 33 road openers, the Islanders have been outscored, 116-80.
The largest margin of victory for the Islanders in a home opener was a 9-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 14, 1982.
The Islanders have three shutouts in the home opener, winning 7-0 over Los Angeles (10/11/75), 9-0 over Pittsburgh (10/14/82) and 3-0 over Toronto (10/4/77). The nine goals against Pittsburgh was the most the Isles have scored in a home opener.
The Islanders have been shut out three times in their home opener, losing twice to Philadelphia (6-0 on 10/13/73 and 3-0 on 10/14/95) and were blanked by Calgary, 2-0, October 14, 2000.
The Islanders have played three played three overtime games in the home opener in franchise history, winning 7-6 over Chicago (10/13/84), losing, 5-4 to Detroit (10/13/01) and tying Philadelphia, 3-3 (10/14/89).
The most goals the Islanders have allowed in a home opener is six, which has happened four times, with the most recent by New Jersey in 1993 (10/16). The other three times the Islanders have allowed in six goals in a home opener was to Pittsburgh (6-3 loss on 10/13/90), Chicago (7-6 OT win on 10/13/84) and Philadelphia (6-0 loss on 10/13/73).
The Islanders have recorded two hat tricks in the home opener with Bryan Trottier recording three goals and two assists in his first home game as an Islander in a 7-0 win over Los Angeles on October 11, 1975 and Butch Goring scoring three goals in the Isles' 9-0 win over Pittsburgh on October 14, 1982.
TOUGH TO BEAT AT HOME
The Islanders had a record of 25-11-4-1 at home during the 2003-04 season. The Islanders ranked first in the East and third in the NHL in home wins. The 25 wins and 55 points at home were the most in 19 years (1985-86 season). During the 2003-04 campaign, the Islanders had a nine-game unbeaten streak (6-0-3-0) in February marked the longest streak since the 1989-90 season.
Tonight is the Islanders' first home game of the 2005-06 season. Dating back to the 2003-04 season, the Islanders are 3-1-1-0 in their last five home games and 4-3-2-1 in their last 10.
The Islanders are 0-1-0-0 on the road this season, scoring four goals and allowing six. Dating back to the 2003-04 season, the Islanders are 2-3-0-0 in their last five road games and 4-5-0-1 in their last 10. In 2003-04, the Islanders had a 13-18-7-3 record on the road.
LEADING AFTER TWO
The Islanders are unbeaten in 52 games (44-0-8-0) when taking a lead into the third period. The streak is the longest active streak in the NHL. During the 2003-04 season, the Islanders were 26-0-5-0 when leading after two periods. The Islanders outscored their opponent, 87-61 in the third period in 2003-04. The streak began on December 28, 2002 with a 3-0 win vs. Carolina.
In 2003-04, the Islanders had a record of 27-6-5-1 when they scored the first goal of the game. They were 11-23-6-3 when their opponents scored first.
The Islanders were 1-7 on the power play on Wednesday at Buffalo. During the preseason, the Islanders converted on 10 of 71(14.1%) power play opportunities in seven games. The Islanders, who had the ninth-most power play chances in the league, ranked 21st in the league in power play efficiency. The Islanders scored a power play goal in each of their seven preseason games. In the first game, the Islanders scored a season-high three power play goals on 11 chances in their 5-1 win over the Rangers on September 20. The Islanders had a season-high 15 power play chances vs. the Flyers on Sept. 21.
The Islanders killed off 10 of Buffalo's 12 power play opportunities on Wednesday. The Islanders successfully killed off 44 of 52 power play chances (84.6%) in seven preseason games. The Islanders allowed a power play goal in six of their seven preseason games. The Islanders allowed a season-high three power play goals in their 5-3 loss to the Flyers on September 27 and did not allow a power play goal in their 3-2 loss to the to the New Jersey Devils on Sept. 25.
Sunday, October 9, Islanders Iceworks, Syosset (10 AM)
Monday, October 10, Nassau Coliseum (9:15 AM)
Tuesday, October 11, Nassau Coliseum, TBD
Wednesday, October 12, Nassau Coliseum (10:30 AM)
Thursday, October 13, Game-day skate at MCI Center, Washington, DC (11:30 AM)
Friday, October 14, Place and Time, TBA
Saturday, October 15, Game-day skate at Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, Pa. (11:30 AM)
Monday, October 10 vs. Florida, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, October 12 at Washington, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 15 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, October 19 at New York Rangers, 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 20 vs. New York Rangers, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 22 at Montreal, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, October 25 vs. Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 27 at New York Rangers, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 29 vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.
The Islanders have no injuries to report.
The Islanders currently have 22 players on the roster, two goaltenders, seven defensemen and 13 forwards. The oldest player on the team is Garth Snow (36), while the youngest is Petteri Nokelainen (19).
Asham 22 games to 300
Blake 6 assists to 100
DiPietro 19 games to 100
Kvasha 15 points to 200
Lukowich 26 games to 400
Sopel 5 assists to 100
Yashin 8 goals to 300
26 assists to 400
York 2 goals to 100
25 games to 400
Zhitnik 3 points to 400
Of the 22 players on the roster, three players were selected by the Islanders in the first round, including goaltender Rick DiPietro who was taken first overall in the 2000 Entry Draft. The two other players that were selected by the Islanders in the first round are forwards Robert Nilsson (15th overall in 2003) and Petteri Nolelainen (16th overall in 2004).
Three key off-season acquisitions recorded points in Wednesday's 6-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Alexei Zhitnik scored a goal, while Brent Sopel and Mike York recorded two assists each in their Islanders' debuts.
The Islanders are unbeaten in their last two home games (1-0-1) dating back to the 2003-04 season. The last time the Islanders lost a home game was to the Carolina Hurricanes on March 27, 2004 (3-2).
Alexei Yahshin scored his first goal of the season in Wednesday's season-opening loss to the Sabres. Yashin was tied for the team lead in preseason scoring with three goals and one assist. He also was tied with Alexei Zhitnik for the team lead in goals during the preseason.
Arron Asham is expected to make his 2005-06 debut tonight after missing all of the preseason with a rib sprain. Asham recorded 24 points (12+12) and 92 penalty minutes in 79 games in 2003-04.
Of the 22 players on the Islanders' opening night roster, seven players were drafted by the Islanders, (three first-round picks, one third-round pick, one seventh-round pick, one eighth round-pick and one ninth-round pick), while ten were acquired via trade and five were signed as free agents.
The Islanders are 3-3-1 lifetime when playing on October 8. The only time the Islanders have played at home on October 8 was during the 1997-98 season, when they dropped a 6-3 decision to the Washington Capitals.