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The Opening Night Skinny

Friday, 10.4.2013 / 1:27 PM ET / News
By Eric Hornick
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The Opening Night Skinny
The Skinny returns all season long beginning Friday. Here is some Opening Night Skinny to get you started.


[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 6:30pm), 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN]

The Islanders begin their 42nd NHL season when they visit New Jersey.

It's the first of five meetings this season with New Jersey, who will be the only team to visit the Coliseum three times for the second straight season. The Isles won last season's series 3 games to 2 (and 6 points to 5), winning both games at Prudential Center; it’s the first time since 1998-99 that the Isles have swept the season series in New Jersey.

It’s the first time in five seasons that the Isles are opening on the road. The Isles are 10-22-8 in 40 previous road openers and are 9-21-10 on Opening Night (including 7-17-8 when they open on the road). The Devils will actually open their season on Thursday in Pittsburgh before returning to Newark for their home opener.

This is the second straight season that the Islanders have opened with New Jersey. The Devils edged the Islanders 2-1 at Nassau Coliseum on January 19 last season.

Opening Night Skinny:

This is the fifth time that the Isles have opened the season against the Devils and New Jersey has won the first four (1984 and 1992 at the Meadowlands, 2008 at The Rock and in January at the Coliseum). The Isles also opened the 1975-76 season with a 1-1 tie in Kansas City (the Devils' original home).

The Isles will be looking for their first win on Opening Night since 2007 (0-3-2); it is the longest current winless streak in the NHL. No current Islander played in that game, a 6-4 win in Buffalo in which Mike Comrie scored two goals and added two assists. The Isles are 1-7-2 in their last ten Opening Nights.

If Evgeni Nabokov gets the start on Friday night, he will end a streak just by playing. The Isles have used five starting goaltenders (Rick DiPietro-Joey MacDonald-Dwayne Roloson-Al Montoya-Evgeni Nabokov) in the five previous openers.

John Tavares is the 14th captain in Islander history. All-time, the Isles are 5-7-1 in their first game under a new captain, including 3-6-1 when the new captain starts a season. The Isles have had a new captain for the first game of every other season since 2005: 2005 (Alexei Yashin), 2007 (Bill Guerin), 2009 (Doug Weight), 2011 (Mark Streit).

Tavares is only the sixth Islander captain to be drafted by the team. Clark Gillies, Denis Potvin, Brent Sutter, Patrick Flatley and Bryan McCabe are the others, and all served in succession from 1977-1998. In fact, the Isles have an all-drafted leadership team as Andrew MacDonald and Kyle Okposo will serve as alternate captains.

This is the fifth time in club history that the Isles will open on the road, and then have their home opener the following night. The Isles are 1-2-1 in the road game (including losses in New Jersey in both 1984 and 2008) and are 4-0-0 in the home game. The Isles opened at home and then played the next night on the road in 1980, when they defeated Boston and Washington in their first two games as defending Stanley Cup Champions.

The Isles have been involved in three shutouts on Opening Night. Chico Resch blanked the Flyers in 1976, while the Kings (Stephane Fiset in 1996) and Panthers (Jose Theodore in 2011) turned the trick on the Isles.

And some other Skinny notes:

Chhh Chhh Changes

The Isles reached the 23-man roster limit on Monday. Of the 23 players on last year’s opening night roster, only 16 remain. Gone are Keith Aucoin, Brad Boyes, Rick DiPietro, Joe Finley, Radek Martinek, Marty Reasoner and David Ullstrom; they have been replaced by Josh Bailey (from injured list), Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Brock Nelson, Kevin Poulin, Peter Regin, Griffin Reinhart and Lubomir Visnovsky.

Of the 23 Isles on the active roster, Griffin Reinhart is the only one to have never played an NHL game. Brock Nelson appeared in one playoff game (Conference Quarterfinals Game 6) last spring and will be looking to make his regular season debut.

Youth Be Served

The Islanders 23-man roster consists of three players born in the 1970s (Eric Boulton, Evgeni Nabokov and Lubomir Visnovsky) and seven players born in the 1990s (Casey Cizikas, Matt Donovan, Travis Hamonic, Brock Nelson, Kevin Poulin, Griffin Reinhart and John Tavares). The other 13 players were born in the 1980s.

Reinhart is the only teenager on the roster and by far the youngest Islander; he’ll turn 20 in January. Fellow rookie Brock Nelson is the second youngest player -- he will turn 22 later this month.

Stability at the Top

Jack Capuano begins the season as the ninth-longest tenured head coach with his current team while Garth Snow begins the season as the 10th-longest tenured general manager with his current squad.

Of the nine New York head coaches/managers, only Tom Coughlin, Rex Ryan and Joe Girardi were appointed before Capuano, who assumed his role with the Islanders eight days before Terry Collins became the manager of the Mets.

Road Warriors

The Isles finished last season with the second-best road record in the East, behind only Pittsburgh. The Isles earned 32 points out of 48 possible road points; their .667 point percentage was the highest in franchise history. They finished above .500 on the road for the first time since 2006-07, and had their second-best record ever through 24 road games:

Most points in first 24 road games (all time):

• 34 in 1976-77 (15-5-4)

• 33 in 1980-81 (15-6-3)

• 32 in 2012-13 (14-6-4)

• 31 in 1978-79 (13-6-5)

• 28 in 1983-84 (13-9-2)

The Isles ended the regular season with a three-game road winless streak (0-1-2); it was the only time all season that they went three straight road games without a win.

Second to One

Jack Capuano ranks second on the all-time Islander list in both games coached (195) and wins (84). Capuano will coach his 200th game on October 12 in Nashville.

Most wins by Islander coaches:

1. Al Arbour 740

2. Jack Capuano 84

3. Terry Simpson 81

4. Peter Laviolette 77

5. Ted Nolan 74

Most games coached (Islanders):

1. Al Arbour 1,500

2. Jack Capuano 195

3. Mike Milbury 191

4. Terry Simpson 187

5. Scott Gordon 181

What a Pair!

John Tavares and Matt Moulson combined for 43 goals last season. Moulson assisted on 20 Tavares goals last season after assisting on 12 of his 31 goals in 2011-12. Tavares earned an assist on 10 Moulson goals last season.

Head of the Class

Islander Captain John Tavares has 249 career points; he is 56 points ahead of Matt Duchene for most among 2009 draft picks. No other player in that draft is anywhere close. Tavares also has more goals and more assists than any other player in that draft.

118 NHL Goals

Moulson has 118 career goals (112 as an Islander). While 262 players were selected before the Penguins chose Moulson in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, only 16 have more goals.

All–time Winners

The Islanders are nine games over .500 all-time (1371-1362-439 in 3,172 games). The Isles have finished every season since 1977-78 above .500 all-time.


John Tavares is the reigning Islanders’ ironman. Tavares has now played in 207 consecutive games.

Two other Islanders played in every game for the second straight season: Frans Nielsen and former captain Mark Streit have each played in 130 consecutive games.

Five more players played in every game last season: Kyle Okposo (now 113 consecutive games), Travis Hamonic (70), Matt Martin (61), Andrew MacDonald & Brad Boyes (48).

Longest Consecutive Game Streaks, Post Cup Era

Matt Moulson 10/3/2009- 4/4/2013 284

Richard Park 10/5/2006 – 2/18/2009 221

Bryan McCabe 10/7/1995-2/4/1998 220

Bryan Trottier 3/7/1981- 1/12/1984 219

Mariusz Czerkawski 12/23/1999 – 4/14/2002 215

John Tavares 10/16/10 – CURRENT 207

Career Wins, Active Goalies

1. Martin Brodeur 669

2. Roberto Luongo 348

3. Evgeni Nabokov 335

4. Nikolai Khabibulin 332

Career Wins

17. Roberto Luongo 348

18. Evgeni Nabokov 335

18. Gump Worsley 335

20. Nikolai Khabibulin 332

Career Shutouts, Active Goalies

1. Martin Brodeur 121

2. Roberto Luongo 62

3. Evgeni Nabokov 55

4. Tomas Vokoun 51

Career Shutouts

18 Clint Benedict 57

19 Evgeni Nabokov 55

20 Bernie Parent 54

20 Ed Giacomin 54

Career Goals as an Islander

21 Ray Ferraro 116

22 Matt Moulson 112

22 John Tavares 112

24 Benoit Hogue 105

24 Ed Westfall 105

Career Assists as an Islander

26 Steve Thomas 140

27 Mark Streit 139

28 Greg Gilbert 138

29 John Tavares 137

30 Frans Nielsen 136

31 Jason Blake 131

Career Games as an Islander (skaters)

39 Randy Wood 381

40 Frans Nielsen 367

41 Dave Scatchard 347

49 Shawn Bates 330

50 Josh Bailey 329

51 Eric Cairns 327

52 Alan Kerr 326

53 Brad Dalgarno 321

54 Kyle Okposo 319

55 Ray Ferraro 316

55 Steve Webb 316

55 Richard Park 316

58 Gerald Diduck 314

59 Mikko Makela 307

60 Gordon Lane 304

61 Arron Asham 300

61 Roman Hamrlik 300

63 Matt Moulson 293

64 John Tavares 291

65 Gordon Dineen 287

Career Points as an Islander

21 Jason Blake 258

21 Steve Thomas 258

23 John Tavares 249

23 David Volek 249

25 Ray Ferraro 238

31 Mikko Makela 219

32 Matt Moulson 214

32 Mark Parrish 214

34 Garry Howatt 213

34 Jean Potvin 213

36 Anders Kallur 211

37 Marty McInnis 198

38 Wayne Merrick 197

39 Frans Nielsen 196

40 Robert Goring 195

41 Jeffrey Norton 188

42 Kyle Okposo 185

43 Lorne Henning 184

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




J. Tavares 78 33 37 6 70
K. Okposo 79 22 42 -4 64
F. Nielsen 81 20 32 1 52
B. Nelson 81 26 14 -3 40
N. Leddy 81 5 35 -9 40
A. Lee 80 15 21 -2 36
J. Bailey 81 12 20 -7 32
C. Cizikas 80 8 21 4 29
R. Strome 71 8 20 -9 28
M. Grabovski 58 9 16 3 25
T. Greiss 23 11 4 .925 2.36
J. Halak 18 13 4 .919 2.30
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