Can Jets snap streak vs Islanders?

- April 2nd, 2013

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — With many eyes on the NHL trading deadline, the Winnipeg Jets are focusing on trying to snap a three-game slide against the New York Islanders.

It was a fairly quiet day at Nassau Coliseum, though things picked up after the optional morning skates when news came down that Derek Roy was on the move to the Vancouver Canucks and Jaromir Jagr had been acquired by the Boston Bruins.

Two big deals for teams that consider themselves contenders, with more likely to follow leading into Wednesday’s 2 p.m. CT deadline.

Those moves came after the St. Louis Blues dealt for D-man Jay Bouwmeester and the Los Angeles Kings picked up Robyn Regehr from the Buffalo Sabres.

The Jets pro scouts and other key members of the hockey operations department are here in Long Island and will remain here after the game through the deadline, while the team travels to Montreal after the game to prepare for Thursday’s tilt with the Canadiens.

Bryan Little and Evander Kane made it clear they wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets made a move or stood pat, noting the focus for the players was on getting back on track.

Jets head coach Claude Noel doesn’t think the uncertainty surrounding the deadline has become a distraction for the Jets either.

“It’s hard to say. You can’t sit here and say we’re going to make changes because of the way we’ve played the last three games,” said Noel. “We haven’t got the results we’ve wanted, but is that all of a sudden going to dictate that we’re going to make changes because of that? I think changes are predicated way before that.

“There’s a big picture in mind here. It’s not a game-by-game situation, win or lose and move people. I certainly don’t think it affects the room.”

As pointed out by Jets captain Andrew Ladd after Monday’s 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers, the top line with Blake Wheeler and Little must snap a four-game pointless streak. But the secondary scoring needs to be there as well.

With intensity rising, the Jets can’t afford to have many passengers during the final 11 games. Nor can they afford the lapses that seem to be plaguing them during the recent skid.

“We didn’t play as well as we wanted to (Monday) night,” said Little. “The main thing is, we didn’t play 60 minutes. We took too much time off. We had a meeting this morning and we’re putting it behind us now.”

The Jets will make one lineup change, as Mark Stuart returns to the lineup after missing the past six games with injuries sustained in a collision with Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin. Stuart is in for Grant Clitsome, who was feeling better after taking a stick in the left eye from teammate Alex Burmistrov after he was tied up with Rangers centre Brian Boyle.

Clitsome needed three stitches on his left eye, but the eye is no longer swollen shut and a specialist confirmed there was no serious damage to the eye-ball, so the Jets blue-liner was thankful it wasn’t worse. I will share more of his thoughts as part of our Jets package later in the day and in Wednesday’s Sun.

UPDATE: The Jets appear to be making a second lineup change as Paul Postma was with Stuart during the line rushes instead of Winnipegger Derek Meech.

The Islanders have been playing well and are locked in a tight race of their own, since 37 points leaves them tied with the eighth-place New York Rangers (the Rangers currently hold the tie-breaker, as they have a game in hand) and just one behind the Jets.

Naturally, the Jets will need to do their best to contain Islanders’ top guns John Tavares (22 goals, 37 points) and Matt Moulson (11 goals, 35 points) to give themselves their best chance to win.

St. Malo product Travis Hamonic is having a strong season on the blue-line and whenever him and Kane match up, sparks seem to fly, so keep an eye on that match-up as well.

Puck drop is slated for just after 6 p.m. CT.

Enjoy the tilt. Will check back in post-game, before jumping on an early flight to Montreal to see what the trade deadline brings.

Since both teams held optional skates after playing the night before, the lineups could change slightly but here’s how we expect them to start Tuesday:

JETS
Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane, Olli Jokinen, Antti Miettinen
Eric Tangradi, Nik Antropov, Kyle Wellwood
Patrice Cormier, Alex Burmistrov, Chris Thorburn

Toby Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien
Ron Hainsey, Zach Bogosian
Mark Stuart, Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec (Al Montoya)

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson, John Tavares, Brad Boyes
Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo
Michael Grabner, Keith Aucoin, Colin McDonald
Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, Anders Lee

Thomas Hickey, Lubomir Visnovsky
Andrew MacDonald, Travis Hamonic
Mark Streit,  Matt Carkner

Kevin Poulin (Evgeni Nabokov)

Categories: Hockey

Subscribe to the post

Leave a comment

 characters available