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Written by Christian A. | 14 March 2012



Uniondale, NY --
Overshadowed by last night’s loss were the milestones set by Matt Moulson and John Tavares, who both scored their 30th goals of the season.

It’s very fitting that they would both hit the milestone on the same night. Both started with the Islanders the same year and have risen to fame playing on the same line as one another. Not to mention, they’ve known each other longer than they’ve been playing together.

For Moulson it was his third straight season reaching the 30-goal plateau, while for Tavares it was the first time in his career.

“I’ve always said, it’s more of a credit to the guys I play with,” Moulson said about reaching the milestone. “I’ve had the opportunity to play with Johnny for the last couple years, and PA, and Okie over the last three seasons.  They’re great players and I’m not the type of guy that does a lot on my own. It’s got to be in the right place and those guys get puck there, so it’s a testament to that. Johnny is one of the best players in the league and it’s pretty easy playing with him and getting goals.”

Tavares was quick to compliment Moulson on his latest achievement.

“Since he got here three years ago no one expected a lot from him and…he’s come through a lot to get where he’s at,” he said about his friend and line mate. “Just his consistency and his ability to come through when we need him and…do a lot of little things. He blocks a lot of shots and he takes a beating in front of the net, but he sacrifices and that’s why he gets rewarded.”

The 21-year-old center said Moulson has helped relieve pressure off him when he’s in a tough matchup.

“He’s so great at getting his stick on pucks,” Tavares said. “Whether it’s in battles and especially in front. I know when I’m able to draw some pressure I can find him in front of the net and he’s going to be there to put them away. That’s what he’s been so good for me for is helping me relieve pressure when I’m seeing tough matchups and he’s able to capitalize on the open space.”

The 30-goal mark is a career high for Tavares, one that will likely be broken in the next several games, and one of the few bright spots to come out of last night’s game.

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Written by Christian A. | 14 March 2012



Uniondale, NY --
Even with John Tavares scoring two goals and Travis Hamonic having a three-point night, the Islanders could not pull out a win and fell to the Washington Capitals 5-4 in the shootout.

The Islanders had a 4-1 lead before the Capitals scored three unanswered goals to tie the game in the third period. The loss marks the eighth time this season that the Islanders have blown a lead of two or more goals and ninth time they’ve lost when leading after two periods.

“We were playing a really good game tonight,” said a frustrated Travis Hamonic, who scored a goal and two assists in the loss. “It seemed they got a late one and then one early one to start the third. Maybe the wheels didn’t come off, but we got on our heels and just kind of down hill from there.”

“We know we should have had it locked up and we got to win this game,” He added later.

The Islanders opened the scoring at the 8:56 mark, scoring a wacky goal on Caps starting Michal Neuvirth. Matt Moulson’s shot went wide of the net, caromed off the glass, bounced off Neuvirth and into the net. Tavares was originally credited with the goal, but a scoring change was later made giving Moulson his 30th of the season.

Travis Hamonic added a second goal for the Islanders and Tavares added to the lead in the second period. Mike Knuble scored for the capitals at the 9:33 mark of the second period, 28 seconds after Tavares scored to cut it to a three-goal lead. Tavares made it 4-1 less than two minutes later. It was his 30th goal of the season and a new career high for the 21 year old.

But things took an all to familiar turn for the Islanders as the second period came to a close.

Alexander Ovechkin scored with less than a minute left. Then, Dmitry Orlov scored 1:51 into the third period to make it a one-goal game. Ovechkin tied the game midway through the period with his second goal of the night.

Matt Hendricks completed the Capitals’ comeback in the shootout scoring in the eight round to win the game.

“The last three periods of the last three games…it’s really unacceptable the way we’ve come out and not play the game we played during the forty minutes,” Tavares said. “We got to compete harder in those areas late in the game, play with confidence, play our game, and we’ve been in those situations before and we’ve won hockey games, so I don’t know why these last three have been like that.”

Islanders’ head coach Jack Capuano did night like his teams decision making late in the game,

“It’s your discipline and your decision making with the puck and that’s what hurts you,” he said after the game. “You have to make intelligent decisions when you have the puck on your stick and you have to recognize who your up against. We talked about (Alexander) Ovechkin all night and he was able to get a couple of chances and when he did it was in the back of the net.”

Capuano was specifically referencing both Ovechkin goals, which the Islanders allowed to make his way to the net undetected or gave him two or three chances after his initial shot.

“We had this one in good control, we were playing really good hockey, and [we] kind of eased up a bit and they put a couple in and they kept coming,” Moulson said. “I don’t know if there is one particular thing that lead to them scoring. I don’t really know exactly what the break down was, but it seems like we let up a little bit and they came back. They’re a good offensive team and put a couple in.”

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Written by Christian A. | 13 March 2012



The Islanders will host the Washington Capitals tonight for the final time this season at the Nassau Coliseum.

Coming into tonight’s game, the Isles won have two the three matchups between the two teams. They won 5-3 back on November 5 and again defeated the Capitals, this time 3-0, on January 17. The only loss to the Caps came back on February 28, when they fell 3-2 in overtime at the Verizon Center.

The Caps and Islanders are headed in two different directions as the season winds to a close. The Capitals are trying to recapture the lead in the Southeast Division, while the Islanders are again playing for pride in the final 13 games of the season.

The Islanders saw the playoff hopes dashed after dropping two straight games against the New Jersey Devils. The Islanders were blown out 5-1 at the Prudential Center on Thursday night. Then blew a late 1-0 lead allowing the Devils to win in the final two minutes of the game.

They followed that up by losing to the New York Rangers in overtime, 4-3, on Sunday night.

The Islanders will start Evgeni Nabokov Vs. Caps and will be without PA Parenteau, who is out with an upper body injury.

Below is the Islanders lineup for tonight:

Moulson-Tavares-Okposo
Grabner-Nielsen-Bailey
Ullstrom-Cizikas-Niederreiter
Martin-Reasoner-Pandolfo

Washington has won three straight games, defeating the Lightning 3-2, the Bruins 4-3 and the Maple Leafs 2-0.

Below is the Capitals expected lineup according the Islanders website:

Forwards: Johansson-Laich-Ovechkin

Chimera-Perreault-Semin
Hendricks-Beagle-Troy Brouwer
Knuble-Aucoin-Ward

Defensemen: Alzner-Carlson
Schultz-Wideman
Orlov-Hamrlik

Goaltenders:
Vokoun, Neuvirth

Pre-Game Reading

The Islanders are trying to keep their chins up during the final weeks of the season, even though they aren’t making the post season. (Newsday)

Fans started to receive their season ticket renewal letters and they are not happy. According to season ticket holders, prices are going up next season and with another playoff-less season coming to a close fans have had enough (Islanders Point Blank)

Lighthouse Hockey has you covered with some more pre-game reading. (Lighthouse Hockey)

Jesse Spector looks into the numbers relating between fighting and concussions and how the 3% number is not accurate. (Sporting News)

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Written by Christian A. | 12 March 2012



The Islanders fell to the New York Rangers 4-3 at Madison Square Garden last night. Here are the morning headlines from the loss:

Gaborik’s OT Goal Snaps Rangers’ 3-Game Skid - Associated Press

Gaborik’s OT Goal Lifts Rangers Past Islanders - Newsday

Isles’ Penalty Kill Lets Them Down - Newsday

Haley Back to Give Isles Physical Presence - Newsday

Rangers Beat Islanders - NY Daily News

Rangers Defeat Islanders in OT - NY Post

More One-Goal Leads, Lost - Lighthouse Hockey

Rangers 4, Islanders 3, OT - New York Islanders

Six Seconds of Separation - New York Islanders

Rangers 4, Islanders 3, OT - New York Rangers Blog

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Written by Christian A. | 11 March 2012

Hours after Mike Halmo signed an entry-level contract with the Islanders, the Owen Sound Attack forward laid a devastating hit to Nail Yakupov, junior hockey’s top prospect.

The hit came with 8:43 left in the second period as Yakupov crossed into the slot, going one-on-one with an Attack defender. The defender was able to tap his stick and Yakupov lost control of the puck. At that moment Halmo came from the other end side and caught Yakupov with his elbow.

Here is the hit:

From watching, when Yakupov lost control of the puck, he seemed to reach for it just as Halmo came in and laid the hit, leaving him in a more vulnerable position. Halmo also seemed to throw out his elbow at the last second when he saw Yakupov closing in.

After the game Sarnia head coach Jacques Beaulieu said that Halmo deserves to be suspended.

"I thought it was blatantly dirty, Beaulieu told the Canadian Press. "Nail took alot of stitches to the face, it's all marked up. Halmo didn't hit anything else, but his head. We've got to take these hits out of out game and protect our kids."

Back in January of 2010 Halmo was suspended five games for a hit to the head on Michal Jordan. 

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Written by Christian A. | 10 March 2012

Tracy Lynn Kraus is a fellow Isles fan who I’ve crossed paths with during my time cover the team the past two years. Over that time I’ve gotten to know her and her mission to help fight Leukemia after her, soon to be, 4 year old niece Aubri was diagnosed with the disease last year.

From here I’ll let Tracy explain the rest:

On July 27, 2011 Aubri was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Hearing the news was like a kick in the stomach. No child in our family had ever been diagnosed with a life threatening illness and I had never really given it much thought. As far as I knew all of my 11 nieces and nephews were healthy and happy kids. Until that day. It’s been a difficult time for the family but together we know we can help her win her battle.

While my niece fights the battle against leukemia in her tiny body we need doctors and scientists to battle it in laboratories, finding better treatment methods and, one day, a cure. Although the cause of leukemia remains unknown, recently developed treatments and steady advances in research bring us closer to a cure every day. These research advances were only achieved as a result of contributions made by companies, foundations and individuals such as you.

I will be completing the St. Anthony’s Olympic Distance Triathlon in honor of Aubri and all those fighting blood cancers. My goal is to raise $4,000 by March 15, 2012 (Aubri's 4th birthday!) and every single dollar donated brings me closer to that goal! Thank you for your support in this important endeavor!

At the moment she is 98 percent of the way to her goal. She has raised $3,927 at the time of this posting.

The hockey community is a tight one and has been know to rise to the occasion for a good cause. Help a fellow Islander fan reach her goal by donating just a few dollars to help fight disease that affects so many.

There are five more days left to donate and if you’d like to you can click here to do so. Also help spread the word to your friends, family and neighbors.

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Written by Christian A. | 10 March 2012



Update: The Islanders have recalled Michael Haley on emergency basis this afternoon. The move was made because Casey Cizikas will miss tonight's game with the flu. 

The Islanders and Devils will wrap up their three game set tonight at the Coliseum. New Jersey downed the Islanders, 5-1, Thursday night at the Prudential Center and the Isles will look to salvage the mini three game series.

Ilya Kovalchuk dominated the Isles last time around, netting his 13th career hat trick. Patrik Elias and David Clarkson also scored in the win and Andrew MacDonald scored the Islanders lone goal in the game.

Anders Nilsson will start in net for the Islanders. The Swedish goaltender has a 3.02 goals against average and .896 save percentage in three appearances. Nilsson received his first NHL victory last Sunday when he shut out the Devils.

Dylan Reese will be in tonight and Milan Jurcina will be a healthy scratch. Matt Martin will miss tonight’s game with the flu.

Pre-Game Reading

Dee Karl has a great one-on-one piece with Isles GM Garth Snow and head coach Jack Capuano. (Hockeybuzz)

Travis Hamonic talked to Newsday’s Arthur Staple about what it’s been like to play with a cage on and how thankful he was to not have been more seriously hurt. "I feel maybe God had something to do with turning my head at the last second. There's no telling what can happen when you take a puck in the eye.” (Newsday)

Lighthouse Hockey takes a look at some of the Islander prospects taking part in NCAA playoff action. (Lighthouse Hockey)

Matt Mouslon and Frans Nielsen are among the three-dozen hockey players supporting the You Can Play Project. Moulson said that it’s an important message to get out and that he’d welcome an openly gay athlete. "If you have a guy that can help you, I don't care if he's gay or straight, I'm going to treat him the same way as a teammate. We're a family inside the locker room. I don't think it matters about anyone's sexual orientation." (ESPN New York)

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