The New York Islanders are not the Islanders of a few years ago. With 24 wins they are among the class of the East, a sentence which would have drawn snickers and laughs just a couple years ago. John Tavares has been the center piece to build around and get this team out of the dark ages of the 2000’s. Fitting we talk about Tavares on New Years eve, a day where he had maybe his most famous performance, a hat-trick in a 7-4 win over the United States in the 2008 World Junior in Ottawa. One of the most remembered games in WJHC history was a launching off point for Tavares who has never looked back and has now become one of the best scorers in the NHL. The biggest difference for the Islanders this season is that it is now a full team effort all around. No one position or player is leaned on too heavily, they are strong in all 3 facets of the game and that gives them a huge advantage on any given night. The Islanders look to continue their winning ways and spoil the party in Winnipeg tonight.
A game the Jets will surely want to forget, after jumping out to a 2-0 lead against Minnesota Monday evening, they allowed 3 straight second period goals and were unable to really even get any good chances at tying the game, falling 3-2, just their second game in the last in the last 15 that they have been unable to register at least a point. They will look to get back on track tonight but tests don’t come much harder than the Isles. Winnipeg will need to play great because the Isles will hit you from every position and have so many players that can hurt you. Ondrej Pavelec will be back between the pipes for Winnipeg tonight. Pavelec has watched the man who was the back up, Michael Hutchinson, play three straight games and possibly steal his job. Pavs has done everything right however since that, supporting his young counterpart and saying nothing more than that he was ready when his number would be called once again. Well tonight is the night for Pavs to prove his worth. The Jets will need Pavelec to be good if they have a chance and he will be fighting for his job possibly. It is high stakes for for the Winnipeg goaltender and for the Jets as a team.
Break the Trend: In the last 4 games these two teams have played, the road team has always come out on top. The Jets will look to head into the New Year breaking that trend and grabbing a key two points in the standings.
Powerplay: It has been harped on time after time this year, operating at just over 16% the Jets know they need better from their powerplay on a night to night basis. It has been better recently however and the New York Islanders may give the Jets a bit of the chance they need, With a penalty kill operating at only 75% it is a struggle for the Isles and maybe a perfect opportunity for Winnipeg to make some headway and put a couple pucks in the net with the man advantage, the Jets will need the extra offense.
Pick your Spots: The Isles have so much scoring talent, both up front and even with the men on the blue line, you cannot afford to give anyone a really good chance. Winnipeg will need to play smart and not give up too many counter opportunites to the speedy Isles or they may find themselves fishing the puck out of their own net all night long.
Ondrej Pavelec (10-8-5) GAA: 2.34 SV% .913
Jaroslav Halak (19-6-0) GAA: 2.27 SV% .917
Enstrom, WPG, (LBI) out
Trouba, WPG, (Undisclosed) out
Bogosian, WPG, (LBI) out
Stuart, WPG, (LBI) out
Kane, WPG, (LBI) out
Grabner, NYI, (LBI) day-to-day
Carkner, NYI, (Back) out
Jets pick up a single point in O.T. but no more, Happy New Years everyone!
NYI 3 Jets 2
Become an MVP with Winnipeg Whiteout and never miss a thing.