Former Islanders are kicking it into high gear as we are quickly approaching the midpoint of the season. FIs were at it again on Monday night in all 7 games up for grabs. They combined for an impressive 17 points (3 goals, 14 assists) and a win and loss in net. Let us take a look at the FI happenings:
* In a case of oneupsmanship, both Michael Peca and Mathieu Schneider notched 2 powerplay assists for their respective teams as the visiting Anaheim Ducks downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime. Schneider's second extra man assist came on the game winner with 1:46 remaining in the OT frame. Schneider has been an offensive powerhouse for the Ducks since returning from an injury he suffered in last season's playoffs. On 17 games, Schneider has 4 goals and 10 assists for 14 points. He has managed 8 of those points (3 goals, 5 assists) on the man advantage. He has 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) in his last 4 games overall. Michael Peca has also been a nice addition for the Jackets. The oft-injured forward has managed to play most of the season so far in what is shaping up to be a late-career revival. Peca has 14 points (2 goals, 12 assists) on 22 games this season. It was the 4th multi-point game of the season for Peca.
* Sometimes the comedown from a hot streak can be extra disappointing. After winning 9 straight, the Devils lost for the second straight night. This time the visiting New Jersey lost 3-2 against the FI laden Washington Capitals. Backstopping the effort for the Devs was Kevin Weekes who lost despite stopping 21 of 24 shots. It was Weekes' first regulation loss of the season as he slipped to 2-1-1. Helping power the Caps' offense were 3 FIs. Viktor Kozlov and Tom Poti were each credited with the first Washington goal of the night, a powerplay tally. Kozlov now has 17 points (3 goals, 14 assists) on 30 games this season. The powerplay helper was Kozzer's 6th of the year. Poti has 9 points, all assists, on 24 games this season. Poti has benefited, notching 5 of his assists on the man advantage. Caps' defenseman John Erskine also got involved recording 2 assists, including one of the game winner. Erskine improved to 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) on 17 games this season. It was his first multi-point night in over a year (December 2, 2006).
* Continuing the pattern of FI excellence opposing FIs helped their teams as the Boston Bruins downed the host Buffalo Sabres 4-1. Lending a hand on the lone Sabres' goal was Tim Connolly who notched a powerplay assist. Connolly now has 22 points (4 goals, 18 assists) on 23 games this year. Assisting on the final Bruins' goal was defenseman and captain Zdeno Chara. He now has 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists) on 29 games.
* Jason Blake might have finally found his goal-scoring side. Blake scored the first goal of the game, his 5th of the season, as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning 6-1. Blake now has 21 points (5 goals, 16 assists) on 31 games. Blake has managed 3 goals in the last 5 games after scoring only 2 in his first 26. It was the first time Blake had scored goals in consecutive games since March 27-30 of this last season.
* Chris Osgood's season of excellence continued on Monday night as he stopped 30 of 31 shots to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the host Nashville Predators. Osgood improved to a whopping 14-1-1 on the season while retaining the league's best goals against average.
* Robert Nilsson continues to burn it up offensively for the Oilers in a close one as the host Dallas Stars edged Edmonton 5-4 in OT. Nilsson recorded an assist for his 6th consecutive game with a point. He assisted on the opening goal of the game to improve to 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) on 23 games this year. Nilsson has 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in the longest consecutive point streak of his young career. Also lending a hand was Raffi Torres who assisted on the team's 3rd goal. Torres also has 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) but on a considerably heavier workload of 30 games. Torres has notched 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in his last 6 games.
* Los Angeles finally won a game and Derek Armstrong seems to be finding his offense self, finally! Armstrong scored the game winning and added a powerplay assist to lead the Kings to a 4-2 home win over the Vancouver Canucks. Armstrong received the first star of the game. Now 30 games into the season, Armstrong has 15 points including a whopping 2 goals and 13 assists. It was his second goal in 3 games after going 28 straight to start the season without. He now has 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last 3 games. It was Armstrong's first game winning goal since February 12, 2006! Helping to lead the Canucks' charge was Taylor Pyatt who scored a powerplay goal and added a powerplay assist. Pyatt has 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) on 30 games. Five of those points (4 goals, 1 assist) have come on the man advantage. Over the last 5 games, Pyatt has registered 6 points on 2 goals and 4 assists and is also starting to flash some offensive form after a slow start. It was the third multi-point night of the season for Pyatt.
Check back soon for more Former Islander updates.