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The Skinny

Eric Hornick of MSG Plus brings you the skinny on the Islanders-Hurricanes matchup on Friday, March 18

Saturday, 03.19.2011 / 9:57 AM ET / News
By Eric Hornick
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The Skinny
Game 72
Carolina 3, Isles 2 (OT)

Joni Pitkanen scored with 1:02 to play in overtime as the Carolina Hurricanes rallied from a 2-1 deficit late in the third period to defeat the Islanders 3-2 before 17,686 at RBC Center in Raleigh.  With the victory, Carolina ties Buffalo for eighth place in the East, although the Sabres still have two games in hand.  The Isles have earned points in eight of their last nine games (4-1-4).  The Isles are 10 points behind the 8th place Sabres.

Battle of the Rookies
After Michael Grabner was stopped twice on breakaways, Carolina’s Jeff Skinner gave the Canes the lead at 16:33 of the first.  Frans Nielsen tied the game, converting a rebound of a Grabner shot 79 seconds later. Radek Martinek earned an assist on the goal for his 100th career point.  It was Nielsen’s 10th goal; after scoring five of his first seven goals shorthanded, his last three goals have been scored at even-strength.

Isles Get the Only Goal in the Second
Grabner got on the board at 3:10 of the second period off a Nielsen faceoff win.  It’s his 29th goal of the season, tops among NHL rookies, and second to Matt Moulson on the squad.   Grabner has 25 goals at even-strength; only Bobby Ryan (27) and Steven Stamkos (26) have more in the entire NHL.  No rookie has scored 25 even-strength goals since 2005-06, when Alex Ovechkin potted 28 of his 52 goals at even-strength.

Late Cane Goal Knots the Score
Hard work by Carolina, combined by bad luck for the Islanders tied the game at 15:23 of the third. Erik Cole beat Al Montoya for his 20th goal of the season after Nielsen’s clearing attempt appeared to be interfered with by referee Ian Walsh.  It ‘s the 4th time in his career, but first since 2007-08 that Cole has tallied twenty times in a season. It’s the 4th goal of Cole’s career against the Islanders, but his first since 2007.  Cole’s goal avoided a rare one-goal regulation win for the Isles; they remain 1-12 in games decided in regulation by a single tally.

Pitkanen Wins It
Joni Pitkanen’s first goal in 45 games banged off the post and behind Montoya for the winning goal.  It’s the Isles’ 24th one-goal loss this season (11-12-12). They are 10-12 in extra time, including 7-7 in games decided by an overtime goal. Pitkanen figuring in the scoring is usually a good sign for Carolina: the Canes are 17-4-5 when he earns a point.  3-2 (OT) Final.

Top 5
The Islanders have five players with at least 17 goals: Moulson 30, Grabner 29, Tavares 26, Comeau 20, and Parenteau 17.  The quintet has combined for 122 of the Islanders’ 196 goals (62%) this season.

9 Shots for Grabner
Grabner finished the game with a career-high nine shots.  It’s the most shots by an Islander since Bill Guerin had ten, also against Carolina, on October 25, 2008 at the Coliseum and the most by an Islander in a road game since Trent Hunter had nine on November 10, 2005 in Philadelphia.  He now has 197 shots on the season; with three more he will give the Islanders three players (Moulson and Tavares) with 200 shots in a season for the first time since 2006-07 (Blake, Satan and Yashin).  No Islander rookie has recorded 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 29 (2010-11)

Grabner needs three goals 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. Denis Potvin 209 (1973-74)
4. Michael Grabner 197 (2010-11)

Grabner would need to average 3.9 shots per game to break Bossy’s record.

Battle for the Calder
Both Grabner and Skinner each had a goal and an assist.  Grabner continues to lead all rookies in goals (29—most by a rookie since Bobby Ryan had 31 two seasons ago), while Skinner leads in points (52).  Along with San Jose’s Logan Couture and Flyer goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, they are two of the leading contenders for the Calder Trophy, which was last won by an Islander when Bryan Berard did so in 1997.

Second-Half Surge
The Islanders are 12-6-5 since the All-Star Break and are 22-15-7 in their last 44 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 had a goal and an assist.  He now has 116 points (34-82-116).

•    Blake also has 116 career points (52-64-116).

•    John Tavares’ three-game point streak ended.  He has 114 points (50-64-114). 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 112 points (43-69-112).

•    Veteran defender Radek Martinek’s assist give him 100 career points (20-80-100), all as an Islander.  He is the 18th defenseman in Islander history to record 100 career points.

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

Home and Road
The Isles are 27-33-12, and are 11-18-7 on the road.  They are 23-23-9 under Jack Capuano, including 22-15-7 in the last 44.  Their 66 points is five more than they managed in the entire 2008-09 season; they are two points behind last season’s pace.  

The Canes are 33-29-10, and are 19-12-4 at home.  Carolina, who started 22-16-6, is 11-13-4 in their last 28 games.

Sharing the Wealth
The Isles are 22-15-7 in their last 44 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 made 32 saves. He is now 7-3-4 on the season.  This was Montoya’s 13th start for the Isles; he has allowed more than three goals in regulation only once.  He remains tied with Rick DiPietro for the team lead in wins (7).  Montoya has started eight straight games (5-1-2); he is the first Islander to do so since Joey MacDonald made 17 straight starts (8-8-1) from November 3-December 8, 2008. 

Cam Ward continues his remarkable career run against the Isles.  Ward, who made 35 saves, including 28 in the first two periods, is now 13-2-1 in his career against the Isles.

Power Plays
The Islanders went 0-4 on the power play while the Canes were 0-2.

In the Circle
The Islanders won 38 of 64 (59%) face-offs.  John Tavares was the Islanders’ best, winning 14 of 21.

Missing Men
Mike Mottau, Trent Hunter, Kevin Poulin and Mark Eaton are out for the season. Mark Streit and Doug Weight remain out.    Trevor Gillies served the seventh game of his 10-game suspension.  The Isles have lost 500 games to injury and 23 games to suspension this season.   Rick DiPietro backed up Montoya, while Jesse Joensuu was recalled from Bridgeport.  Nathan Lawson and Justin DiBenedetto have been assigned to the Sound Tigers.

Matt Moulson, the Isles’ reigning ironman, has played in all 154 games since joining the team last season.  Zenon Konopka is the only other Isle to have played every game this season; his 84-game streak includes the final 12 games last season for Tampa Bay. Travis Hamonic has now played 52 NHL games (all consecutive); he has the longest consecutive game streak on defense for the Isles. 

Cappy’s First 55
Jack Capuano is back to NHL .500 with a 23-23-9 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).

Half-Full or Half-Empty
The Islanders have earned points in seven of their last nine road games.   However, they have only won three of those games [3-4-2].  Eight of the nine games have been decided by a single goal, with the exception being Tuesday’s loss at the Garden.   The Isles are 0-1-2 on their current five game road trip.

Season Series Stats
Carolina leads the season series three games to none and six points to one. The Hurricanes have beaten the Isles five straight over the last two seasons, with a Coliseum battle on tap for April 2nd.  The Isles do not have a regulation win over Carolina since January 22, 2008, going 2-8-1 in that span.

Trouble Down South
The Isles are 4-9-3 vs. the Southeast this season: 1-1-1 vs Atlanta, 0-2-1 vs Carolina, 1-2-0 vs Florida, 2-1-0 vs Tampa and 0-3-1 vs. Washington.

Happy Anniversary (This One is Hard to Believe)
Brandon Sutter is an Assistant Captain for Carolina; he played 16:27 in the game tonight. 25 years ago today (March 18, 1986):  Brandon’s dad Brent had two goals and an assist as the Islanders pounded the rival Rangers 6-2 at the Coliseum. 

All-time, the Isles are 3-8-8 on this date and here’s the hard-to-believe part.  The Isles have not won on this date since that 1986 win, going 0-6-7 in 13 tries.

Up Next
Saturday, March 19 @ Florida 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The Islanders head to Sunrise, Florida to face the Panthers on Saturday night in the back-end of the back-to-backs. It’s the fourth and final meeting of the season between the teams; the Islanders defeated Florida 5-1 at the Coliseum on President’s Day after dropping two meetings earlier in the season.  The Islanders are 0-7-1 in their last eight trips to Sunrise.  Mike Dunham made 43 stops for the Islanders last victory: November 18, 2006, by a 4-1 score.

Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in “The Skinny” has been gathered from various sources.




1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47


J. Tavares 47 18 19 -6 37
K. Okposo 48 12 25 -9 37
B. Nelson 50 20 11 0 31
F. Nielsen 50 15 16 -2 31
M. Grabovski 50 9 15 1 24
J. Bailey 49 8 15 4 23
A. Lee 50 7 14 0 21
N. Leddy 50 3 17 -12 20
R. Strome 39 5 13 -8 18
N. Kulemin 50 5 9 6 14
J. Halak 12 11 4 .917 2.28
T. Greiss 13 6 2 .927 2.32
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