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Five stats about the Islanders for people who haven’t been paying attention

Apr 18, 2013, 12:04 PM EDT

Isles Getty Images

The New York Islanders still have work to do in order to make the playoffs. Their last five games are all on the road, starting tonight in Toronto.

But their chances are good — 84.5%, according to Sports Club Stats.

So how are they doing it? Is it just John Tavares being really good?

It is not. (Though he is quite important.)

Here are five stats that may surprise people who haven’t been watching the Isles all year:

1. Brad Boyes has 31 points in 43 games. The 31-year-old who fell on hard times in Buffalo signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Isles in the summer. He’s since enjoyed an offensive resurgence. Granted, playing with Tavares and Matt Moulson has helped, but that’s still great value for the money he’s getting. Only 28 NHLers have more assists than Boyes (23).

2. Andrew MacDonald leads the team in average ice time (23:31). The 26-year-old defenseman is another bargain, with a cap hit of just $550,000. MacDonald is also out there against the opposition’s best players, according to Behind The Net. The Isles drafted him 160th overall in 2006.

3. The Isles don’t drop the gloves much anymore (now that Zenon Konopka has moved on). They’ve only got 15 fighting majors, tied for third fewest in the NHL. (Toronto leads, with 41.) Matt Martin has the most fights on the Isles, with seven.

4. The Isles have four defensemen with 10 points or more. Actually, they’ve got three d-men with exactly 10 points (MacDonald, Travis Hamonic, Lubomir Visnovsky), and then Mark Streit, who has 25 points. Hamonic’s another bargain, by the way. The 22-year-old has a cap hit of $875,000 and plays 22:41 per game, often paired with MacDonald.

5. Only five NHL goalies have faced more shots than Evgeni Nabokov (1,036). The 37-year-old (fourth-oldest goalie in the league) has a modest .911 save percentage, but there’s something to be said for a guy being able to stay healthy and play that much at his age.

  1. jkay1818 - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    coming from a rags fan, definitely respect what the Islanders are doing. They are a fun team to watch, and it’s fun to root against them again. For a long time i didnt care if they won or lost because it didnt really affect playoff positioning much. All their horrid years are paying off with their young draft picks coming together.
    4&5 sort of contradict one another, the article talks about how they have some key young Dmen and their ice time and 5 states how good Nabakov is( which he has been) since their D gives up so many shots a game.
    They def have some good offensive dmen, makes them scary on the PP, but the O is their real hero.

    • bcisleman - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      Isles do give up a fair number of shots BUT did you know the Rangers give up more? Isles rank 7th in most shots, NYR 6th.

      Nabby and the defense have greatly improved over the course of this surge which started on 3/24. A bigger factor not mentioned is the play of the Nielsen line. Frans, Josh and Kyle have been an important source of secondayr scoring and have done great work shutting down other teams top lines.

    • islesjb - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      How do 4 & 5 contradict each other?

      4 emphasizes that they have four different point producing defense-men and doesn’t make any mention about actual defensive play (ie shots against/blocked shots/ +/-)

      5 is just talking about how heavily the Isles have leaned on Nabby.

      In my opinion, there are two things that have contributed most heavily to the Isles late season surge.
      The first is the stellar play as of late from Nabokov. As the article mentions, his save % is a modest .911 on the season, but if you look at his save % for the month of April, it would be more like .945 (guessing). He hasn’t let up more than 2 goals in the past 10 or so contests and has made some spectacular saves along the way.
      The second key to the Isles success has been secondary scoring- something that they have not had in a number of years. Like last year, Tavares and Moulson are studs but the difference between last year and this year is that the Islanders are finally getting consistent scoring from the middle-six guys. Grabner has been a beast all year and now Okposo and Bailey are finally playing up to their high draft selections. Nielsen has been highly productive as well.

      Thanks for the coverage- this late season push is the most I have ever enjoyed watching the Isles or any team for that matter (wasn’t around for the 80’s unfortunately). WE WANT PLAYOFFS

  2. shannysux - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Kinda pointless to have cap hits when they are 17 mill away from the cap. Bargains $ wise sure, but the cap isnt even a concern for them

    • bcisleman - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      It isn’t now, but as the team improves it could make a big difference in player retention. Isles players seem to have the same spirit as those on Detroit who have been willing to make less to play together. Garth also has been very unsentimental about it. When players like Jason Blake and PA Parenteau have wanted more than he though they were worth, he let them walk. He was right about Blake. Book is still out on PA. Be interesting to see what happens with Streiter.

  3. jpelle82 - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    isles are winning with secondary scoring and good enough d and goaltending. here’s some better stats….they are giving up 1.5 goals against in april including games against potent #3 in the league tb offense and red hot washington. signature one goal win against boston too. boyes, tavares, and moulson have combined for 15 pts in 8 games in april and only 6 of the 24 goals the islanders have scored in those games. 25% of the production from the best line and the team has gotten pts in the last 8 games 6-0-2. not that this is terribly bad right now for that line but look out if tavares and company heat up again.

  4. newyorkislanderfancentral - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Obviously the writer has not been paying attention. This team has led or been tied entering the third period in all but six games this year. Two of those games they came back to earn points.

    This team should be chasing Pittsburgh for first.

    Problem was, blown third period leads.
    Problem fixed, 9-1-2.

    Boyes long slump, Tavares struggles for quite a while, Moulson’s slump. This is happening with defense and balanced scoring, not Tavares domination as Bailey and Okposo have gotten hot with Grabner doing it on a line that where his speed is features. It’s also happened because it’s defense can flat out skate unlike watching Staios, Mottau, Eaton and Jurcina lumber around and could not keep up.

    Look out when Joensuu get’s the rust off,. he was a top SEL player. Who knows out of Nelson, Niederreiter fight for a spot with Lee if this team makes playoffs which is still in big doubt.

    Snow was brilliant again. Strait, Hickey, Finley,Visnovsky. Hamonic settled down as did MacDonald from bounces earlier. Outside of Carkner everyone on this defense can skate.

    What a shock, Charles Wang did not make Snow use Thomas cap money to trade players. Same as always Snow kept everyone who can help and got Visnovsky of all people to resign.

    Prohockey talk will keep guessing, they know nothing.

    • Jason Brough - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      Did I criticize the Isles or something?

      • newyorkislanderfancentral - Apr 18, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        You don’t know anything about the team, what’s obvious is you have not been paying attention but not shy about slapping something together.

      • Jason Brough - Apr 18, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        Well, we can both agree PA Parenteau has been awesome, right?

    • islesjb - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      I don’t think it’s completely fair to say they’ve been guessing or not paying attention.

      The 5 things that Jason stated in the article are valid points (aside from maybe #3 on fighting majors which I don’t think has much relevance). The article wasn’t titled, “Everything There Is To Know About the Islanders Success.”

      Articles on PHT aren’t usually full in depth write ups so you can’t expect them to mention every aspect of the team. I guess in fairness the KO-Nielsen-Bailey line would make sense to mention in an article like this but I’m just happy the team is finally getting some coverage.

      • newyorkislanderfancentral - Apr 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        My friend, he knew nothing but how to link to fan blogs or stat sites.

        1. Has Brad Boyes scored since the 6-1 loss to Pittsburgh?
        2. How many shots were bouncing off MacDonald for goals during a big stretch of these 48 games?
        3. The fighting stat matters on a team that has Boulton never playing?
        4. Yes, the defenders scoring is important, but of course the writer needed the statistical argument and of course MacDonald’s salary.
        5. Nabokov’s shot against do not tell the recent story, many games he’s not been overworked.

        The article was slapped together based on stats, fan blogs, not game play.
        It beats Joe Yerdon’s snark.

      • islesjb - Apr 18, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        1. Brad Boyes has some key assists and overall has done a good job at replacing PAP on the first line (obviously we would have liked PA to have been resign). I’ll give it to you that he does make some plays that make you scratch your head.

        2. Are you trying to argue that MacDonald has not been key to our defense? Defense hasn’t been stellar this year, but for a low budget team to succeed, you need low salaried guys like Amac to step up. Also, I seem to remember a lot more shots bouncing in off Hamonic than MacDonald. Either way, that’s just bad luck and something that happens in hockey.

        3. Agree

        4. Similar to what I said in response to #2, Hamonic is a huge bargain and that’s a relevant point to make about a low budget team. Hammer and Amac go against the opposition’s top lines every night and have been an integral part of the team’s success- especially over the last month

        5. Nabakov has been overworked regardless of the amount of shots he’s taken. He has EVERY single win this team has this year except for Poulin’s lone win. Again, a fair point.

        Just saying, cut the dude some slack

  5. 19inarow - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Other bits:

    1) Frans Nielsen is #1 in shoot-outs, all time.
    2) Matt Martin is #1 in hits this season, last season, and overall since the stat has been recorded.
    3) Andrew MacDonald is #1 in blocked shots, this season.
    4) Michael Grabner is arguably the faster skater in the League (he won the competition at the 2011 All Star Game).

    Further, Matt Moulson is one of the highest scoring left wingers, over the last four seasons. I haven’t done the math in a while, but on 12/5/11, he was 5th with 74 goals since the beginning of the ’09-’10 season, behind only Marleau (91), Ovechkin (90), D. Sedin (79), and Kovalchuk (78). Heatley and Semin came in at 73.

    Moulson (who just missed his first game as an Islander, after playing over 260 straight games) also only had a cap hit of 3.1 mil, compared to Marleau (6.9), Ovechkin (9.54), Sedin (6.1), Kovalchuk (6.67), Heatley (7.5), Semin (6.7), and Vanek (7.1 for 72 goals). This is a testament to the GM, Garth Snow, who also signed the likes of John Tavares to a cap hit of 5.5, per year, over six years.

    • islesjb - Apr 18, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      Don’t know whose downvoting this- points well made

  6. modellforprez - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    every team in pens division i hate. strangers, satans squad, fly on the wallers. but for some reason the islanders dont bother me and i loke some of their core. so i hope they can make a little run and get hot and have a showdown with my Pen Guns. Pens in 5

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