New York Islanders @ Anaheim Ducks
Earning points against 9-of-11 Western Conference opponents this season, the Isles look to extend success with win over Ducks
Friday, 01.06.2012 / 12:00 AM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
(Answer from 01/03: Marty Reasoner. Reasoner has played 25 games vs. the Canes, half of Rolston’s team-leading total. Staios has played 23 games, Jurcnia 22, and Streit and DiPietro each played 19.)
Last Game: 4-3 SOW @ CAR
Season Series: 0-0-0 of 1
|Team Record: 10-22-6
Last Game: 3-1 L vs. SJS
Season Series: 0-0-0 of 1
The Islanders have yet to play their 38th game of the season, just short of the midway point of the season. So when the stats are broken down and Moulson, the Islanders first line winger, has already posted 18 goals and 14 assists for 32 points it's pretty exciting.
The Islanders current Iron Man posted career-highs in goals (31), assists (22) and points (53) last season, but with his nose for the net and his sheer determination - as well as some unbelievable chemistry with his linemates - Moulson is on pace to smash all of his old records.
"Matty Moulson is a guy that works hard in practice and it pays dividends," Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said. "When you have the work ethic like he has and you have the desire to go to the dirty areas and get to the net, the puck is going to find you."
Moulson has also stepped-up his two-way game, improving his plus-minus from a -10 last season to a +3.
Call him Modest Moulson?
"I don’t look too far ahead at the stats," he said. "I just try to score as many as I can and help the team win. I’ve been fortunate to get some great plays by the guys I’ve been playing with. So I’ve never really looked ahead to the end result, I just look to the next game. Getting wins is the most important thing right now."
| State of the Ducks
With four Anaheim Ducks players scoring more than 70 points last season, including Corey Perry who rang in just two shy of 100, the Ducks finished 2010-11 fourth in the Western Conference. Where that team is this season is somewhat of a mystery, even to Ducks General Manager Bob Murray.
According to the Ducks website, prior to Thursday night's game, the Ducks GM spoke to two local papers (OC Register and LA Times) about the state of his team and made it known that all but the two of his players with no-trade clauses are available for trade.
Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry are still the Ducks top two scorers, but their mid-season numbers have dropped considerably from this time one year ago.
There are still some interesting comparisons. The Isles and Ducks rank 14th in their respective conferences. Matt Moulson is the only Islander to score more goals than Perry (15 goals) and Selanne has more points (11 goals, 25 assists for 36 points) than John Tavares, the Islanders leading scorer (34 points).
Set to face the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Friday night, the Islanders are feeling positive, and they should.
The Islanders have earned points in 9-of-11 games against Western Conference opponents this season, going 5-2-4. That stat line is just one of many reasons the Islanders are working their way up the standings.
"We’re getting more and more confident as a group defensively," said Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic. "That’s carrying over to games and it’s making a big difference."
The Islanders special teams have been rock solid. In the last eight games, the Islanders have allowed just one power play goal against for a 93.3 percent success rate. In the last six games, they've scored on 50 percent of their power play opportunities (7-of-14).
Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has also been a key factor in this turnaround. Not only has the Isles netminder led them to three straight victories, he’s recorded a 2-1-0 record against Western Conference opponents this season. He's made six straight starts, and could receive his seventh Friday night.
The Ducks are just one of three teams that rank lower in the standings than the Islanders this season. However, Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano warned that's not a reason for the Isles to take it easy.
"When you have the top two lines that they have, they have the ability to strike at any time," Capuano said. "There are a lot of people that call their top line, the best line in hockey. There’s a reason why Corey Perry did what he did last year (scoring 50 goals and 48 assists for 98 points)."
Since the 2004-05 lockout, the Islanders have posted a 3-2-1 record against Anaheim and are 11-7-4-1 all-time. If the Isles continue to have special teams success and can keep Perry, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf at bay, they could extend their current win streak to four games.
The Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders could wind up with the worst records in their respective conferences.
While frustration continues to mount for the Ducks, the Islanders have picked up a bit of steam.
Looking to win four straight for the first time in nearly a year, visiting New York tries to hand Anaheim an eighth loss in nine games Friday night.
The Islanders (14-17-6), whose 34 points are one better than Carolina for the fewest in the East, moved out of the basement Tuesday by defeating the Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout.
New York's Matt Moulson notched his team-leading 18th goal, Frans Nielsen scored his second in 22 games and Kyle Okposo had the equalizer with 1:30 remaining in regulation. John Tavares assisted on all three goals - he has seven points during the team's three-game win streak - before Nielsen and P.A. Parenteau scored in the shootout. (Continue Reading)
When the Isles and Ducks faced off last Dec. 16, the Islanders were a fraction of themselves. Though the Islanders acquired just five players since then, on Friday night the Isles will dress just 10 players who played in last year's contest. On the other end, the Ducks lineup remains relatively unchanged with the same top two forward lines, five-of-six defensemen returning and the same starting goaltender.
In that game last December, the Islanders recorded three goals in 99 seconds (PA Parenteau, Blake Comeau and Matt Moulson). That lead was cut to two-goals in the second period by Joffrey Lupul and finally a one-goal differential 1:30 into the third period by Jason Blake. Though the Islanders wouldn't score in the final 40 minutes, they hung on for a 3-2 victory.
IslandersPower Play %: 19.8%
Penalty Kill %: 82.4%
Home Record: 8-9-3
Road Record: 6-8-3
Goals For: 88
Goals Against: 116
DucksPower Play %: 16.2%
Penalty Kill %: 83.3%
Home Record: 7-12-1
Road Record: 3-10-5
Goals For: 88
Goals Against: 127
Check out the Islanders depth chart following Head Coach Jack Capuano's morning availability.
Ducks (Expected) LineupsForwards: Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry, Hagman-Koivu-Selanne, Blake-Cogliano-Bonino, Belesky-Pelley-Parros
Defensemen: Sbisa-Visnovsky, Beauchemin-Fowler, Lydman-Brookbank
Goaltenders: Hiller, Ellis
Expected scratches: Gordon, Smith-Pelly
Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said of the Ducks, who ranks 14th in the league after finishing 4th in the Western Conference last season: "They’re (the Ducks) just not having the luck you need to win hockey games. They’re getting some bad bounces. But they work extremely hard and they have the firepower. We’re going to have to bring our A game (Friday) night. Records don’t mean anything. Anybody can beat anybody on any given night and they definitely have a high-powered team, especially a couple guys they have on the back end that like to join the rush. I’ve watched them and they're dangerous."
Cory Wright contributed to this report