Game Preview: Jets vs Islanders
The Jets wrap up their six game home stand against the NY Islanders.
ISLANDERS (23-16-5) at JETS (23-19-2)
TV: MSG PLUS, TSN-JETS
Last 10: New York 7-1-2; Winnipeg 5-5-0
Season series: Third and final meeting of the regular season. The home team has won each of the first two. Evander Kane's overtime goal lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-4 victory on Jan. 27, while Kevin Poulin stopped 23 shots in a surprise start as the New York Islanders claimed a 5-2 win on April 2.
Big story: The Jets have an opportunity to sweep a six-game homestand and help their chances to not only make the Stanley Cup Playoffs but catch the Washington Capitals for first place in the Southeast Division. The Islanders have a bit of a cushion on a postseason berth, but want to keep winning as well so they can wrap it up sooner rather than later.
Islanders: The remaining four games for New York are all on the road, which isn't a bad thing -- the Islanders' 13-5-2 record away from the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is one of the best in the NHL, and they started this final trip off in style Thursday with a come-from-behind 5-3 win in Toronto. Evgeni Nabokov allowed two early goals and then shut the door on the Maple Leafs while the Islanders proceeded to put five in a row on the board. Two came from John Tavares, whose 26 for the season put him just two behind Alex Ovechkin for the League lead.
"I was able to capitalize on some opportunities," Tavares said. "But we all played well after a bit of a tough start. It's good to bounce back and it's nice to contribute, but now we move on to our next game Saturday."
Jets: Much of the damage from a five-game losing streak that bridged March and April has now been undone with Winnipeg taking care of business at MTS Centre, but the Jets can't stop here if they want to take the final step toward bringing the playoffs to Manitoba for the first time since 1996. The Jets have walked a fine line of late, blowing third-period leads and needing a hero to pull things out in extra time, but Dustin Byfuglien accepted that role on Thursday. The Stanley Cup winner with the 2010 Blackhawks scored 1:23 into overtime for a 4-3 victory against the Hurricanes.
"We can enjoy this for a couple of more minutes and get ready for Saturday," Byfuglien said. "This is the fun time of the year. We've got a lot of work ahead of us, and we've got to just keep going."
Who's hot: Nabokov is 9-1-2 in his last 12 starts for the Islanders, allowing more than two goals in a game just twice during that span. Matt Moulson has goals in consecutive games, while Mark Streit has one goal and four assists in the past four games. … Andrew Ladd has four goals and eight assists during a six-game points streak for the Jets. Blake Wheeler has three goals and seven assists during a five-game points streak. Ladd and Wheeler each have consecutive three-point games. Bryan Little has one goal and eight assists during a five-game points streak. Zach Bogosian has one goal and five assists during a three-game points streak.
Injury report: Winnipeg defenseman Zach Redmond (leg) has started a conditioning assignment. Defenseman Tobias Enstrom (back) and forwards Nik Antropov (lower body), Jim Slater (upper body) and Anthony Peluso (hand) are sidelined.