It was John Tavares early and Kyle Okposo late, as two of the key building blocks in the Islanders' rebuilding played leading roles as the Isles built, and blew a three-goal lead, before emerging victorious in overtime. On to the trick:
1. Tavares scored twice in the first period, once on a power play as he batted the puck out of mid-air, and once just after another power play expired as the Isles came within seconds of matching the club record for power play goals in a period (three).
2. Mark Streit also scored on the power play, as the Isles built a 3-0 first period lead. The Isles, who have scored as many first period goals over their last three games (nine) as they did in the first 16 games, scored three first period goals for the third straight game. It's the first time they've done that since March 15-16-18, 1980 (the second, third, and fourth games played after the acquisition of Butch Goring jump-started the Cup run).
3. Tuumo Ruutu and Ray Whitney got the Canes back in the game in the second period, before Tim Gleason tied it with a stoppable shot from just inside the blueline with 2:31 to play.
It was enough to get the 'Canes a point, but when Okposo scored with 15 seconds left in overtime, it was not enough for the Canes to avoid matching a franchise record 14 game winless streak (0-10-4) that was set by the Whalers in 1992. Ruutu's goal came on the powerplay and was Carolina's first after going 0-23 in their prior six games.
...and a few more...
4. Okposo is the fifth Islander to score in the final 15 seconds of overtime, joining Stefan Perrson, Mike Bossy, Michael Peca and Mike Comrie. He also became the 14th Islander with multiple regular season overtime goals. Pierre Turgeon is the only Islander to record four OT goals (in regular season play).
5. The Isles improve to 2-4-4 on the road. Both wins have been in overtime. The Isles haven't won in regulation time on the road since March 27, 2009 in Detroit.
6. It's the third time this season that the Isles have scored two power play goals in a game, but the first time that they have done it in the same period since Mark Streit and Frans Nielsen did so in the 2nd period on March 15, 2009 in Chicago. The Islanders last scored two power play goals in the first period on October 5, 2007 when Ruslan Fedontenko and Mike Comrie scored against Buffalo in the season opener,
7. The Isles go over NHL .500 (7-6-6) for the second time this season (they were 5-4-5 after beating Edmonton on November 2). Nine of the first nineteen games have gone into overtime (3-0-6); eleven of the 19 have been decided by one goal (3-2-6). The Isles have scored 14 goals in their last three games (2-0-1); it's the most goals that they've scored over a three-game stretch since February 28-March 3, 2007.
8. John Tavares recorded the first two-goal game of his career. His seven goals leads all NHL rookies, while his sixteen points are tied for the club lead. Tavares now has five points in the last three games, matching his production in his first three NHL games. He had a rough night in the face-off circle, though, losing nine of eleven.
9. Andy Sutton led the Isles with four hits and five blocked shots. The Isles were out-hit by a hard-to-believe 48-22 with Ruutu and Erik Cole combining for seventeen hits.
10. The Islanders lead the season series two games to 0, and four points to two. The team will play twice more, nine days apart, just before the Olympic break. The Isles also improved to 3-1-1 on regular season Friday the 13th's. It was the first time they played on Friday the 13th since beating Phoenix 5-2 in February, 2004.
Not surprisingly, all five games have been played on the road. (The Isles have played twice on Friday the 13th in the playoffs, evening a series with Washington in 1984, and being eliminated by the Rangers in 1990.)
Up next: The Isles will look to go two games over .500 for the first time since March 6, 2008 when they visit Florida on Saturday night. The Isles are now 1-0-1 on this club record-tying seven game road trip. While the home team won all four Islander-Panther games last season, the Isles have lost five straight in Sunrise, Florida, dating back to a 4-1 win on November 18, 2006.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick