UNIONDALE, N.Y. — It was a quiet for the Winnipeg Jets, who enjoyed a previously scheduled day off on Long Island following Monday’s 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.
There was no access to Jets players or coaches or management team, so I wrote a column on what the Jets did well in Newark and what they’ll attempt to clean up as they face the struggling New York Islanders on Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders have lost four of their past five, with their lone win coming in a shootout.
Goaltending has been a major issue and with Evgeni Nabokov injured, it appears the Isles will have to go with either Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson in goal.
The Jets snapped a four-game losing skid Monday with a mostly sound effort over the Devils.
Secondary scoring came through for the Jets as the second line of Evander Kane (one goal), Olli Jokinen (one assist) and Devin Setoguchi (empty-net goal) provided a pair and rookie centre Mark Scheifele (with his first goal since the season opener) took care of the scoring.
Bryan Little picked up an assist on the empty-netter, but this was a game where the Jets weren’t carried offensively by their first line.
That’s a good thing.
The top unit provides the bulk of the offence on many nights, but for the Jets to have a chance to rise in the standings, they’ll need secondary scoring on a regular basis.
As the back end gets healthy, the Jets will continue to buckling down in the defensive zone as well.
The pairing of Dustin Byfuglien (two assists) and Toby Enstrom had a strong game together, playing a game-high 24 minutes and 18 seconds to lead all players.
Jacob Trouba didn’t look like a guy who had missed five weeks of action with a neck injury, as he played a shade under 20 minutes on a pair with Mark Stuart.
Trouba’s going to need some time to get back to the level he was at before the injury, but that’s to be expected and Monday was a solid first step in the process. What’s already clear is that despite being 19-years-old, the Jets are better with him in the lineup.
The pairing of Mark Stuart and Keaton Ellerby were on the ice for the lone goal against, but it was a nifty tip-in by Patrik Elias from the high slot and there was a lot of traffic in front. Pretty sure Ondrej Pavelec, who picked up his 100th NHL win, didn’t see it until it was too late.
Stuart had five blocked shots in the contest, including four in the third period and added one hit.
The Jets are now 5-1-1 against the Eastern Conference and with five more games against the East on this two-week road trip, it will be interesting to see where that record is at the end of the swing.
It’s a big opportunity for the Jets to make up some ground, but they’ll need to elevate their collective play as the trip goes on to maintain a strong record against the East.
There was plenty of buzz in NHL circles today with the official unveiling of the new broadcast deal with Rogers that gives them most of the power, keeps CBC in the game and leaves TSN without live national broadcasts.
It’s a dramatic shift in the industry and it will be interesting to see how everything shakes down in the aftermath of the announcement that shocked many.
As for the Jets, they won’t be impacted much on the TV side as TSN Jets will continue to show a minimum of 58 games per season, while TSN 1290 Radio will broadcast all 82 games.
The $5.2 billion deal is going to give the Jets some additional revenue to put toward salaries as the salary cap rises.
One last item from Monday’s game, the Jets’ primary affiliate, used part of their day off to watch the parent club defeat the Devils and St. John’s IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge came up during the first intermission for a quick chat with reporters.
I shared his thoughts on the team being 9-8-1-2 going into Wednesday’s game against the Hershey Bears but here were a few nuggets that didn’t make the paper:
* 2011 3rd rounder Adam Lowry was a little behind after coming back from an upper-body injury but came on strong during the past three or four games. He’s learning what it takes to be a pro and constantly working on his game. He has one goal and three points in 12 games but is playing a physical brand of hockey.
* Eric O’Dell, who had a strong training camp with the Jets, leads the IceCaps in scoring with 10 goals and 20 points in 19 games. He’s progressing and waiting patiently for his first chance to play an NHL game.
* Defenceman Zach Redmond can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to injuries. After the Jets sent him back down to the American Hockey League, Redmond suffered a rib injury in his first game back. McCambridge said it’s not serious and Redmond should be back in the lineup sooner than later.
* Veteran F Patrice Cormier has been a physical presence while playing LW, adding two goals and six points in 14 games to go along with 33 PIM.
* Rookie RW JC Lipon has been doing a nice job. Along with the offensive side of his game (three goals, seven points in 18 games), Lipon has brought some grit and sandpaper. However, he received a major for a check to the head last weekend and was given a two-game suspension. The 2013 third rounder has served one of the games and will sit out the other on Wednesday.
* Speaking of rookies, D Brenden Kichton (a 7th round pick in 2013) has impressed with a strong start as well. Not only has he produced some offence (two goals, 14 points in 20 games), the defensive side of his game has not held him back (plus-1 rating). Kichton must continue to work at his skating, but he could end up being a sleeper pick.
* Goalie Eddie Pasquale has been strong between the pipes and has played the bulk of the games, making 16 of 20 starts.
* McCambridge has been impressed by the mix of Jets prospects entering the system and a strong group of experienced players brought in this year to join captain Jason Jaffray that include forwards Andrew Gordon and Jerome Samson and defenceman Kris Fredheim.
That’s going to do it for today. I’ll check back after Wednesday’s morning skate and just a reminder, I’ll be back on the TSN Jets pre-game show for the In the Box segment just after 5:50 or so CT, with the 6:05 pm puck drop.