After Successful Trip, Isles Set To Host Southeast Leading Jets

 

The New York Islanders continue their fight for a playoff spot as they play host to the visiting Southeast Division leading Winnipeg Jets.

The Islanders, having went 3-1 on their recent road trip, look to keep the fire going at home Tuesday night. While impressive on the road, boasting an 11-5-1 record, they have struggled mightily at home posting a 6-11-2 mark. Even mediocre home ice play and the Isles are comfortably in the Stanley Cup chase.

As of now, the Isles are still deadlocked with the New York Rangers, who have a game in hand over the Isles, at 37 points. Both teams find themselves two points behind the 7th place New Jersey Devils.

The Isles are playing great heading into tonight's game. In addition to the recent impressive road trip, the Isles are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games.

In their last game, the Isles played the New Jersey Devils and beat them 3-1 in their building. New York scored twice early and added a power play tally in the third. Even more impressive was the Islanders play in the third period, extending its lead vice giving it up.

The Isles second line was on for both of the first period goals which were scored at even strength.

Despite scoring a power play goal in the third, the Isles top line of John Tavares, Matt Moulson, and Brad Boyes continues to struggle. Lately, it has been more of a one man line as Boyes has no goals in his last seven and Moulson has no goals in his last 13 games. (Photo credit: bridgetds/flikr)

For Moulson, that's over a quarter of the lockout shortened season!

In addition to a second line that has stepped up, the defense has been getting in on the act, chipping in several goals over the last couple of weeks.

With the top line playing discombobulated, it will be important for the second line to keep up its strong play and for the team to control play in its own zone tonight.

Winnipeg fairly limps into tonight's game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum having lost three straight and six of their last 10. No doubt that the Jets will be a hungry opponent.

The Jets are lead by Evander Kane, who is a speedy forward with plenty of skill and size. He's also a physical player drives hard to the net. He is third on the team with 26 points. Their top point getter is the team captain Andrew Ladd. Ladd has 32 points in 37 contests. (Photo credit: cerebusfangirl/flikr)

Even though Ondrej Pavelec is the Jets top goalie, expect Winnipeg to put former Islanders goalie Al Montoya between the pipes tonight. Montoya is an underrated netminder and he has Winnipeg's only shutout this season.

Isles coach Jack Capuano likes to ride the hot hand so don't be surprised to see veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov in net, although it is more likely youngster Kevin Poulin gets the nod as Nabokov played Monday night in Newark.

The Islanders need to solve the struggles of their top line. For most of the season, they have carried the team and even though they are getting some help from the second line, it is imperative that they return to form or a playoff spot could be in serious jeopardy.

It would be great for the Isles if the first line turned it around tonight against the Jets especially considering New York is 0-5-0 in the second game of back to back games.

Now would be a bad time to keep that streak going.

-Donovan Brooks

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