Large crowds helping Isles win at home

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Winning at home wasn’t something the Islanders did very often last season.NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders

This year, winning at Nassau Coliseum has become a common occurrence and the Islanders have already matched their season total (13) from last year through the first 16 games at home of the 2014-15 campaign. The Isles are 13-3-0 and have won 10 of their last 11 at the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike.

The victories — both at home and on the road — have also brought back the fans in droves. The Islanders played in front of their seventh sellout of the season during their 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.  It was the fifth straight Saturday that Nassau Coliseum has been filled to capacity.

Attendance was excepted to go up with this being the Islanders final season at the Coliseum, but winning has certainly helped and the spike in attendance has helped the team win. The Islanders are 6-1-0 when they Coliseum is sold out.

The players haven’t been shy about crediting the crowd for their impact on the on-ice product.

“Absolutely,” Anders Lee said when asked if the team fed off the crowd on Saturday night. “We feed off each other and it’s real big that they’re always there. It was obviously evident tonight.”

Nassau Coliseum erupted when John Tavares scored from the slot late in the third period. When Lee scored the go-ahead goal 12 seconds later it felt as if the roof was going to blow off the 43-year-old building.

“You have the fans behind you, you have our crowd and that helps,” Johnny Boychuck said after the game. The comment came in response to a question regarding what changed for the Isles after the Lightning took the 1-0 lead. “For them to be cheering that loud and you just go out there and do it again, it’s a pretty good feeling.”

The Islanders have found plenty of different ways to win so far this season and it doesn’t appear the team will be cooling down, which will mean even more large crowds and sellouts as the year progresses.

It is a stark difference from years past when small crowds were the norm and when a spike in attendance usually meant a visit from large groups of opposing fans.

“You used to come here and most of your fans were cheering for your team when you’re the opposition,” Boychuk said. “But it’s nice to see the fans are coming back, especially it being the last year here and it’s just nice to have the backing of the fans.”

Isles rally to beat Lightning 3-1

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — A game is never until it’s over and the Islanders proved that Saturday night.


New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) celebrates his go-ahead goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with center Ryan Strome (18) and center Brock Nelson (29) and defenseman Travis Hamonic (3) during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Islanders defeated the Lightning 3-1.  Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Down 1-0 in the waning minutes of the third period the Islanders rallied to score two goals in 12 seconds to come from behind to beat the Tampa Bay Lighting 3-1 at Nassau Coliseum. An empty net goal at 18:49 rounded out the score for the Isles.

John Tavares tied the game at one at 17:03 firing a shot from the slot that beat Lighting starter Andrei Vasilevskiy. Twelve seconds later a shot from the point by Travis Hamonic was redirected in front by Anders Lee to give the Isles the 2-1 lead.

“That was fun,” Lee said after the win, grinning from ear-to-ear. “Great shot by Hammer and I was able to touch it enough to get it in. Obviously the comeback by the guys at the end of the game was awesome. Johnny getting us going and [Kulemin] finishing it off.”

Nikolay Kulemin potted the empty net goal at 18:49.

The Islanders and Lightning played a scoreless contest through the first 50:44 of the game. It wasn’t until the 9:16 mark that a team finally jumped on the board, and despite being heavily out-shot it was the Lightning’s Brett Connolly who scored first.

New York outshot the visiting Lightning 29-20 and finished the game with a 48-21 shots advantage.

“Sometimes you run into hot goalies and we did tonight,” Lee said about Vasilevskiy performance for Tampa Bay. “Even though we ended  up getting three at the end, he played a great game. Sometimes you’re going to run into guys like that.” To read more of this story, click here

Recap: Islanders 3 – Lightning 1

Recap: The Islanders won the second night of a back to back 3-1 over the Lightning in Uniondale, New York.

Need to know: After two scoreless first periods, the Lightning took a 1-0 lead in the third on a Brett Connelly goal. Then the Islanders broke through with three straight goals to win in the final five minutes.  John Tavares had his 13th goal of the season to tie the score at the 16:51 mark. Anders lee scored about 10 seconds later to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead and Nikolay Kulemin added a goal less than two minutes later for a 3-1 game.

Links: Gameview  | Recap

Next up: The Islanders host Montreal on Tuesday.

Game Recap: Islanders 2 — Red Wings 1

Recap: The Islanders ended a two-game road losing streak with the win in Detroit Friday.

Need to Know: Brock Nelson scored to tie it in the first period and assisted Anders Lee’s game-winner midway through the third period. Jaroslav Halak had 17 saves for the Islanders, who outshot Detroit, 32-18.

Petr Mrazek replaced Jimmy Howard in goal for Detroit after the first period with the score tied at 1. The Wings said Howard had a lower body injury.

The Red Wings have lost five in a row to the Islanders at Joe Louis Arena after winning the previous five.
For the first time in franchise history, the Islanders won 21 of their first 31 games of a season and they have also tied the club record for most wins in the first 15 home games (12-3-0).

In his last five road games, Jaroslav Halak has a 4-1-0 record with a 2.15 GAA and .924 save percentage.

Nine of the Islanders’ 22 wins this season have come in overtime, including a 3-2 shootout win over the Devils Monday. The Isles have yet to lose a game this season that’s gone beyond regulation.

Links: AP recap | Box Score

What’s Next: The Islanders host Tampa Bay Saturday at 7 p.m.

NBC Sports could add Isles games to broadcast schedule

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Are Islander games going to make it to a national television audience this season? There is a very good chance, according to a Newsday report.USATSI_8269261_110579513_lowres

The Islanders already had one game — their November 1 game in San Jose — on NBCSN and more could be scheduled.

“The NFL is going to go a whole season without flexing on Sunday Night Football,” NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood told Newsday. “But there’s a good chance they will flex into [another] Islanders game between now and the end of the season.

“We are plotting as we speak.”

Adding Islander games would make sense since the they are one of the hottest teams in the NHL at the moment and don’t look to be skewing from that anytime soon. Prior to the season NBC Sports said that things could change scheduling wise during the season.

“The schedule reflects that the Islanders did not make the playoffs last year,” a spokesperson for the network told Islanders Point Blank in July. “But the schedule is subject to change and allows for teams to play their way onto it later in the year.”

Game day: Islanders at Red Wings, 7:30 pm

Joe Louis Arena — Detroit, MI
TV: MSG Plus Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Red Wings… Detroit is a strong power play team. They enter the game withe the seventh ranked power play in the NHL and they are tied for second in the league for most power play goal with 27… Henrik Zetterberg leads the Red Wings in points. He has 26 (five goals, 21 assists) through 32 games this season. Pavel Datsyuk is second on the team, with 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists)… The Red Wings are 11-3-5 at Joe Louis Arena this season.

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The boys are back.

The Islanders will have Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic back in their defensive arsenal tonight when they take on the Detroit Red Wings in the first game of a back-to-back. Boychuk has not played since the Isles 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on November 26. Hamonic has not played since December 2 against the Ottawa Senators.

Jack Capuano will not make any changes to the forward lines. Josh Bailey will remain on the top line and Jaroslav Halak will start in net for the Islanders.

Bailey had played with the Isles top line for part of Monday’s win over New Jersey and has been practicing with them for the past two days.

The Islanders have gone 6-1-0 against the Red Wings dating back to the 2008-09 season and are 4-1-0 in the first game of back-to-backs. Last year’s visit to Detroit also produced this entertaining moment caught by HBO cameras (warning NSFW language):

Boychuk, Hamonic off IR

The Islanders have activated both Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic off injured reserve, the team announced.

The Islanders placed Boychuk on injured reserve on December 3 and Hamonic on IR on December 5.