Preview: New York Islanders Look For 3 In A Row Against Winnipeg Jets
By Kevin Cosgrove
The New York Islanders look to win their third straight game tonight as the lowly Winnipeg Jets come into the Nassau Coliseum. It would be easy for the Isles and Jack Capuano to look past Winnipeg, the team is headed out on a 5 game west coast road trip after tonight, but they actually need this win to start a successful trip. Since dropping 2 games in a row last week, the Isles are buzzing after big wins over the Boston Bruins on Thursday and the Dallas Stars on Saturday, and are looking to end October on a high note.
After today’s morning skate Capuano told Newsday writer Mark Herrman that Jaroslav Halak will get the start in goal. Halak had sat out the last 2 games against Boston and Dallas, as well as the third period in the loss against Toronto, in favor of Chad Johnson. Capuano also said that there are no other changes to the lineup from Saturday’s game. Hermann also wrote that Capuano felt Halak had a good week of practice and hasn’t let the benching on Tuesday affect him.
Winnipeg comes in at the bottom of the Western Conference with only 6 points and a 3-5-0 record, but are looking to build momentum after a 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche at home on Sunday. Notably missing from the Jets lineup is winger Evander Kane who is out with a knee injury. This has greatly impacted the Jets offense and they come into Tuesday’s game ranked 28th in the NHL in scoring at 1.88 goals per game. Defensively the Jets rank 14th in goals allowed at 2.62. Bryan Little leads the team with 5 goals, and is tied for the team lead with 6 points headed into tonight.
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As in every game in the NHL, special teams will play a key role tonight. The Jets rank 28th in the league on the power play at 3.6% (1-28), but 5th in the league with a 88.2% (31-35) success rate on the penalty kill. This means it should be a tough test for the Isles 10th ranked, 23.3% power play (7-30) but should also help the teams penalty kill confidence and stats. The Isles PK has gotten better after a rough first week, but still ranks 29th in the league at only 70% (19-27).
– Travis Hamonic and Josh Bailey will make the trip out west with the team. Hamonic is still listed as day-to-day with the upper body injury. General Manager Garth Snow has been cryptic with Bailey’s status, but the belief is that the injury isn’t as bad as first thought.
– Frans Nielsen was named the third star of the week in the NHL on Monday. Nielsen had 5 points (4 Goals, 1 Assist) in 3 games last week against Toronto, Boston and Dallas. Nielsen’s hat trick against Dallas was the first of his career.