New York Islanders 5, Winnipeg Jets 2
The Winnipeg Jets are 10-1 in their last 11 games when they score first. The problem is, for the past 11 games they have only scored the opening goal of the game once. After giving up the opening goal to Andres Lee (his first NHL goal in his first NHL game), the Jets tied the game on a goal by Paul Postma. Postma was back in the lineup after sitting the last four as a healthy scratch. Mark Stuart also returned after missing six games due to injury, while Grant Clitsome was out after taking a stick in the eye area Monday night. He is fine, but was not able to play.
Postma scored his second of the game (third on the year) to give the Jets the lead, the goal coming on a great feed from Chris Thorburn. Eric Tangradi assisted on both Postma goals, his first career two-point game. Colin McDonald tied the game, and then a power play goal by Frans Nielsen late in the second gave the Isles the lead after two.
Claude Noel juggled his lines to start the third; the biggest change seeing Dustin Byfuglien moving to right wing on a line with Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd, with Blake Wheeler joining Olli Jokinen and Evander Kane. In a post-game interview on TSN Jets, Byfuglien said he knew nothing of the change until it he was told with the team already out for the start of the third. The Jets did create some chances but the only two goals of the period were from Matt Moulson on a two-on-one with two minutes left and the Jets pressing for the tying goal, and John Tavares into an empty net to secure the win for the Islanders.
The Jets were outshot every period, including 18-8 in the second. They have now scored only 17 goals in the last 10 games. Mid-February the Jets were in fourth place in the South East and 14th in the Eastern Conference. They went on a 10-3-1 run to move into first in the division and third in the conference. Since then, they are 3-7 and have seen their lead slip to two points on the Washington Capitals. How big those two wins at the MTS Centre were for the Caps.
The Jets are 0-2 on the trip that ends in Montreal Thursday (TSN Jets TSN 1290). After the Saturday afternoon home game against Philadelphia, they will play two games in nine days.
During a second intermission interview with Sara Orlesky on TSN Jets, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff announced that Jacob Trouba, the Jets first pick in the 2012 draft, was leaving school and signing a pro contract. He will join the Jets when they return to Winnipeg.
As for Byfuglien playing up front, coach Claude Noel said "we had to try something. He played pretty well for not having played there for quite some time." As for next game, "that will not be determined tonight, but we have to win games," said Noel.
Noel on the game: "Tough game; (it) looked like we were slow. It was not an easy night. We have to be better. We looked like a fatigued group. We have played the most games in the NHL and it's wearing us down. Right now it's emotionally draining on everyone. I'm not going to beat up on our players. They have given us everything they have. We'll focus on Thursday."