Anders Lee was named Rookie of the Month for February.
Lee tallied 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in the month.
Overall, Lee has 20 goals and 13 assists in 58 games. He ranks in the top five for rookies in goals (third), points (fifth), and plus-minus (fourth).
Lee is bound to get a ton of consideration for the Calder Trophy. To me, Anders and Nashville’s Filip Forsberg are the two to contenders, and I think it will be a battle to the finish. When you consider that Lee’s season started in Bridgeport and how far his game has progressed in a matter of months, it’s really been an incredible journey. Let’s hope he can sustain in down the stretch and into the postseason.
The Islanders dropped their final game of February to the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 5-3.
Chad Johnson, who had not allowed more than two goals in his last four starts, surrendered five on 41 shots (.878 save percentage).
“If you don’t execute, if I don’t make the saves, they’ll capitalize on the power play,” said Johnson said after the game. “It’s very disappointing.”
The penalty kill, which had killed 21 of the last 22 opponents’ power plays, also faltered. The Isles surrendered two power play goals in five Carolina opportunities.
“Kulie scores a big goal and we’re right there, as bad as we played up to then,” Jack Capuano told reporters. “Two power-play goals is big. You can’t give up two and expect to win.”
Johnson does get a little reprieve here, because the first goal was pretty clearly directed in with the heel of Jay McClement’s skate, but allowed to stand. And you’re not going to win many games that you get outshot 41-24. Still, the Islanders survived the Hurricanes’ early pushes and had an opportunity to claw back from a two goal deficit.
When Nikolay Kulemin scored to cut the Carolina lead to 3-2, the result was still very much in doubt. But Carolina’s fourth goal was a soft one. Andrej Nestrasil slapped the puck on net and I think Johnson will tell you himself that he should have handled it. But it slipped through his pads behind him to a charging Brad Malone, who deposited the puck into an empty net. That goal, with just 2:14 left in the second, was the back breaker. And it was followed by a power play tally by Michal Jordan with just under eight seconds left that didn’t leave much doubt.
Both Johnson and the PK have been much better of late. The unfortunate reality is that both struggled so mightily throughout the season that it’s easy to be discouraged when they have a slight set back. I’m willing to chalk this one up to fatigue from a schedule that has been just plain bonkers the last two weeks (although, in fairness, Carolina played on Friday and traveled), but the Isles could have used to be bailed out by one or both of either their goaltender or their special teams. Unfortunately, neither came through.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
The Islanders’ locker room was as quiet as ever on Saturday night.
The 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes is one the Islanders want to quickly forget considering the lackluster performance they put on in front of a sold out Nassau Coliseum. The Isles allowed 41 shots on net through three periods, while only registering 24, and the Hurricanes led in shots attempted 70-46.
The Islanders, who are now preparing for a four game road trip, played sluggishly and allowed the Hurricanes to out work them for most of the 60-minute affair.
“It certainly wasn’t a very good game,” John Tavares said. “We obviously played slow, we looked flat and execution was very poor. Disappointing to end the homestand this way… Give them credit, they came hard and looked like the more desperate team tonight. To read more of this story, click here
Recap: The Islanders fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 in the final home game before they depart on a four-game road trip.
Need to Know: The Islanders started the game off sluggishly, but jumped to the a 1-0 lead 11:47 into the first period. The home club remained in the lead until the 17:41 mark when Jay McClement was able to direct the puck in off his skate. The goal was reviewed, but the war room in Toronto determined it was a good goal.
Justin Faulk gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead 1:26 into the second period and McClement scored his second goal of the game at 9:50. Nikolay Kulemin was able to cut the deficit to 3-2 with an impressive goal at 15:11 of the second, but Brad Malone swung the momentum back in Carolina’s favor with a goal less than three minutes later. Michal Jordan scored a power play goal with 7 seconds left in the second period.
John Tavares tallied his 30th goal of the season midway in the third to make it a 5-3 game.
Chad Johnson made 36 saves in the Islander loss and the Isles only recorded 24 shots on net. The -17 shot differential was the largest the Isles have had this season.
Links: AP Recap| Box Score
What’s Next: The Islanders will travel to Dallas on Tuesday to take on the Stars at 8:30 p.m.
Cal Clutterbuck had the goal winning goal on Friday night, but he had to put the puck in the net twice to get credit for it.
It looked as though Clutterbuck had given the Islanders a two goal advantage just over four minutes into the third period, but the on-ice officials waved it off claiming Brock Nelson had made “incidental contact” with Karri Ramo.
With the score still 1-0 in the final minute, Clutterbuck banked a shot off Calgary d-man Dennis Wideman and into an empty net. It turned out to be the game winner after the Flames broke up Jaro Halak’s shut out bid with 20 seconds to play.
Clutterbuck really played a complete game on Friday. Had the waved off goal counted, it would have been a reward for a great job crashing the net by both Nelson and Cal. Brock was obviously checked into Ramo, and thankfully, the missed call didn’t end up mattering. But the non-goal and getting his own rebound off the post to hit the empty net were both a great second effort that the Isles needed to get them over the final hump.
Additionally, I think he’s been one big reason the PK has picked it up as of late. I’m not the biggest Clutterbuck-on-the-PK advocate. For whatever reason (and this could be my eyes lying to me), it has seemed like he has struggled in that role since last season. That said, he was a revelation on the kill against the Flames, as the Isles pressured Calgary’s point men well and never really let them get set up.
Recap: Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak set a franchise record with his 33rd victory this season and came within 21 seconds of his fifth shutout as the Islanders moved back ahead of the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.
Need to Know: The Islanders’ Ryan Strome scored a power-play goal with 8:21 left in the first assisted by John Tavares and Travis Hamonic. It was the first power-play goal against Calgary in 13 games.
Cal Clutterbuck, who had a goal disallowed in the third period, scored an empty-netter with 42 seconds left after hitting the post on an open net.
The Flames’ Josh Jooris scored with 21 seconds to go.
Halak, who surpassed Billy Smith, Chris Osgood and Rick DiPietro in the Islander record book, had 26 saves. That included one on Michael Ferland’s penalty shot with 6:20 remaining in the first.
Tavares went scoreless for a season-high fourth straight game.
The Islanders outshot the Flames 39-27. . .Flames goalie Karri Ramo had 37 saves.
Before Friday, the Islanders were 2-for-25 on the power play in their previous nine games. They were 1-for-4 Friday. … The Islanders killed off all three Calgary penalties.
Before Friday, the Islanders were 32-6-1 when scoring at least three goals. They have scored five 13 times in 2014-15, tied for third most in the NHL.
Links: AP recap | Box Score
What’s Next: The Islanders end their four-game home stand Saturday against Carolina at 5 p.m.
The Islanders will host the Calgary flames at 7 p.m. at Nassau Coliseum. The game will be broadcast on MSG plus 2, along with WRHU 88.7 FM and LI News Radio 103.9 FM.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
Tonight will be the first game of a back-to-back for the Islanders. Up first is the Calgary Flames (33-24-4).
The Islanders (40-20-2) have gone 3-1-0 in their last four games against the Flames at the Coliseum. The Islanders defeated Calgary earlier in the year in a 2-1 victory in January. John Tavares scored twice in the win.
Calgary will be without defenseman Mark Giordano due to an upper body injury. Even without Giordano, the Isles know that the Flames are tough team to play against and one that is in the playoff hunt out west.
“They’re a good team,” Josh Bailey said. “They’re obviously in a similar position where they’re fighting for playoff positioning. Two teams playing for a lot, so it should be fun. I think we’re going to have to bring our best here to win tonight.”
The Islanders will have Jaroslav Halak in net and Frans Nielsen will play tonight as well.