JETBLAST: NEW YORK ISLANDERS @ WINNIPEG

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JETBLAST

 New York Islanders (23-32-8) at Winnipeg Jets (30-26-6) 7:00 p.m., MTS Centre, TV: TSNJetsRadio: TSN 1290

Just a day away from the NHL trade deadline two teams heading in very different directions will battle in Winnipeg. The New York Islander who are in tank mode and clear sellers come the trade deadline visit the MTS Centre for a battle with the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets are winners of two straight and have pulled themselves back into striking distance of the playoffs. This is the second and final meeting of the year between the teams with the Jets taking game one in New York by a 3-2 score back in November.

Islanders

The New York Islanders had big expectations this season after making the playoffs last year and having a very competitive and exciting series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. However all has not gone as planned in Long Island and thing have gone from bad to worse. After a poor start to the season that started them behind the eight ball they started gaining a little bit of ground before the Olympic break. Then the Islanders got some terrible news when John Tavares went down with a knee injury while playing for team Canada and he will miss the rest of the year. The Islanders have not been able to rally without Tavares thus far as they were outscored 11-4 in two weekend games, and things get harder with trade rumours surrounding all of their best players. The Islanders have given the Jets a challenge since their return to the NHL but with nothing except pride on the line for them, the Islanders may be ripe for the pickings.

Jets

The Jets remain a perfect 2-0 since the Olympic break after a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators. The Jets were outplayed for much of the game and were outshot by a 2-1 margin, 40-20. It was a game that they may not have deserved to win but they got the two points and at the time at least pulled themselves up to a tie for the final playoff spot. The Jets did however lose James Wright to a lower body injury and it is unknown how long he will be out. Though not a goal scorer (zero goals this season) Wright has been a huge part of a very successful penalty kill and his loss will hurt the Jets on that end of the ice. It is unknown who will take his place as Eric Tangradi is also banged up and it is unclear when Matt Halischuk will return. Winnipeg got some help over the weekend with teams around them in the standings losing and opening up a door for the Jets. Now they just have to take advantage.

Keys to the Game

Young Talent: The Jets two strongest players for much of the season have been their two youngest, Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba. Scheifele has been quiet since the Olympic break while Trouba has widend his team lead in +/- and logged the most minutes. When these two are going the Jets are a much better team.

Keep pace: The Jets got some help as teams around them lost over the weekend, Dallas still sits ahead of them with games in hand however so the Jets need to keep up with them and hope to get some more help elsewhere.

More Offence: The Jets could only manage 20 shots in Nashville and played much of the game in their own zone. Turn that around, get some shots and generate some more offence.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (20-22-4) GAA: 2.90 SV% .904
Evgeni Nabokov (11-13-5) GAA: 2.89 SV% .902

Injuries

Clitsome WPG, (Back surgery) out
Halischuk WPG, (arm) day-to-day
Wright WPG, (lower body) out
Tangredi WPG, (unknown) day-to-day

Tavares NYI, (torn meniscus and MCL) out
Martin NYI, (lower body) day-to-day

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 7-2-1
Islanders: 2-7-1

Prediction

Two teams headed in opposite directions, trend continues
Jets 4 Islanders 2

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Diehard Winnipeg sports fan. Agree or disagree with something I wrote? Find me on twitter @seantheoilcan and let me know Go Jets Go!