Jets try to extend another streak in clash with Isles
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets will aim for their third winning streak of three games or more under head coach Paul Maurice when they host the struggling New York Islanders in Tuesday's clash at MTS Centre.
The Jets are 11-3-1 since Maurice took over for the fired Claude Noel in mid- January. Winnipeg won its first four games after the coaching change and also posted three victories in a row from Jan. 31-Feb. 4. The club is 2-0 since returning from the Olympic break and Maurice has the Jets knocking on the door in the Western Conference playoff race.
Winnipeg is currently tied in the Western Conference with the Vancouver Canucks and only two points behind the Dallas Stars for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Jets were last in action on Saturday afternoon when they notched a 3-1 win in Nashville. Ondrej Pavelec turned away 39 shots to anchor the surging Jets to a fifth win in seven games.
"If he could see it (the puck) for the most part he had it," Maurice said of Pavelec. "He was our best player tonight."
Olli Jokinen, Andrew Ladd and Devin Setoguchi each scored for the Jets.
Winnipeg is beginning a three-game homestand tonight. The club is 15-11-4 at MTS Centre this season and 5-1-0 since Maurice took over behind the bench.
The Jets will continue their homestand Thursday against Los Angeles before completing the residency in Saturday's test versus Ottawa.
The Islanders, who are 14 points out of a playoff spot in the East, opened their post-Olympic schedule with a 5-4 overtime win against Toronto but have since dropped two straight in regulation.
After losing 6-1 to New Jersey on Saturday, New York was dealt a 5-3 loss the following day by the Florida Panthers. The setback against Florida ended a rough five-game homestand for the Islanders, who went 1-4-0 during the stay at Nassau Coliseum.
The Isles carried a 3-1 lead into the final period of Sunday's game against the Panthers, but allowed the visitors to score four unanswered goals over the final 20 minutes.
Thomas Vanek, the topic of red-hot trade talk ahead of Wednesday's deadline, had two early goals for the Islanders and Ryan Strome scored in the final minute of the second period to give them the 3-1 cushion going into the third. Anders Nilsson allowed all five goals on 34 shots in the loss.
"They capitalized on a couple of chances and after that the frustration level took over," said Vanek.
Tuesday's test marks the start of a four-game road trip for the Isles. The club has actually fared better on the road than at home this season, going 14-16-0 as the guest compared to a 9-16-8 mark on Long Island.
The Isles have claimed five of the past seven meetings versus the Jets, but Winnipeg took the only encounter this season when it recorded a 3-2 regulation win at the Coliseum on Nov. 27.
New York has won four of its last five road games in this series, including three of four since the Jets franchise relocated from Atlanta prior to the 2011-12 season.