Both Conferences in the National Hockey League are going to be a battle all season long. The Jets picked up a point against the New York Islanders on Tuesday, but slipped from ninth to 11th in standings.
The Islanders are now 5-1-1 in their last six road games, with back to back shootout wins.
The teams were tied 1-1 after one period, and from a Jets standpoint tied only because of the great play of goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. P.A. Parenteau scored his fifth goal of the year to open the scoring, but Nik Antropov's fifth of the year tied it. Antropov won the face off and then tipped a Johnny Oduya shot past Al Montoya.
The second period saw the Islanders take the lead as former Manitoba Moose Michael Grabner tapped in his 10th of the year. St. Malo, Manitoba product Travis Hamonic picked up an assist on a special night for him, the Islanders first game of the season in Winnipeg.
Andrew Ladd tied the game with a great wrist shot that went in the net on the high glove side. Antropov picked up an assist for his second point of the night.
Montoya was injured in the second in a goal mouth collision with Evander Kane. Kane drove the puck to the net, and contact with Milan Jurcina put him into Montoya. Kane was not happy with the two minute penalty, the Islanders wanted more than just two, and we will see if the league takes a further look at it. Seems the players are a bit confused as to the fine line between taking the puck to the net, and contact with the goaltender. "It seems they want you to take it there, but get yourself out before there," commented Jets head coach Claude Noel.
There was no scoring in the third which was the best of the game for the Jets. Overtime also solved nothing so game went to a shootout. Blake Wheeler didn't score, P.A. Parenteau did and then Kyle Wellwood didn't score. Frans Nielsen scored on the Islanders' second shot to seal the victory.
All Jet players interviewed after the game felt they did not play well defensively, especially early in the game, and they relied too much on Pavelec.
"There is a lot of room for improvement," stated Antropov.
Pavelec felt they didn't get enough traffic to the Islanders net. "NHL goalies will stop what they see."
Here is a summary of post-game comments from coach Noel. "We'll take the point. We were careless in the first and turned the puck over a lot. We were better in the third and played with a purpose. Pavelec was real good and the reason we got to the shootout and got the point. We can thank him for the point."
Tuesday was the debut of Antti Miettinen, who played over 15 minutes on a line with Jim Slater and Tanner Glass.
"We don't have the chemistry we had before," continued Coach Noel. "With new people in the lineup it's like we think we can make more plays. Last two games we don't have the cohesion we had before.
"It's a challenge to get that back without practice time. We'll look at tape and see what we need to do better. It takes time to gel. Burmistrov is not Little."
Talking about adding new faces to the lineup, whether it be Miettinen or players coming back off injury. Little is still waiting for the swelling on his bruised foot to go down.
In two games against the Islanders, the Jets have yet to get a power play. There were two power plays in the game, both favoured the Islanders. The Islander games are the only two this season where the Jets did not pick up a power play.
Kane directed 15 shots at the Islander net, six were on target, five were blocked and four went wide.
The Jets play two more home games before a two day holiday break. Montreal arrives Thursday, while Evgeni Malkin and Pittsburgh play on Friday.
Both games TSN Jets and TSN 1290.
Winnipeg are 9-2-1 in the last 12 home games, with four of the next five at the MTS Centre.