When: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m. CST
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Records: Winnipeg Jets (2-1-1), New York Islanders (2-2-0)
Television/Radio: TSN-JETS, MSG PLUS-2/ TSN 1290
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets host the New York Islanders tonight at the MTS Centre looking to extend their early season three-game points streak.
The Jets are coming off an impressive 4-2 home win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night and will look to avoid the dreaded letdown loss to the Islanders. New York comes into Winnipeg winners of two of their first four games, including a 7-4 comeback victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs just three days ago.
Led by the newly formed number 1 line of Evander Kane–Olli Jokinen–Blake Wheeler, the Jets have outscored their opposition 8-4 in the last two games (victories over the Penguins and Washington Capitals). Winnipeg has managed to overcome early deficits in their last two games and in the process have shown a resiliency and maturity that was often lacking last season.
The Islanders, as they were last year, are led by their superstar forward John Tavares, who posted a career high 81 points last season (31 goals, 50 assists). With the offseason departure of P.A. Parenteau to the Colorado Avalanche (18 goals, 49 assists last year), the Islanders will depend more on 2006 1st Rounder Kyle Okposo this season. Okposo now flanks Tavares on the top line on the opposite side of 36-goal scorer Matt Moulson.
Newly acquired forward Keith Aucoin (claimed off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs) is another player to watch out for on the Islanders. The 34-year-old has been a dominant player in the AHL for most of his hockey career and has three goals in four games so far this season for New York.
Today’s game will be the first of three meetings between the Jets and Islanders this year. The two teams will next meet on Tuesday, April 2nd in New York (6:00 p.m. CST). The third and final meeting of the season between the two teams will take place in Winnipeg on Saturday, April 20th (2:00 p.m. CST).
Al Montoya will start in goal for the Jets tonight.
Follow @IllegalCurve on Twitter leading up to tonight’s game.
Projected Jets line combinations (subject to change before game time):
1st: Evander Kane- Olli Jokinen- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Andrew Ladd- Nikolai Antropov- Bryan Little
3rd: Alexei Ponikarovsky – Alexander Burmistrov- Kyle Wellwood
4th: Chris Thorburn – Jim Slater – James Wright
Dustin Byfuglien- Tobias Enstrom
Ron Hainsey- Mark Stuart
Paul Postma–Grant Clitsome
New York Islanders: Michael Grabner (3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points), Keith Aucoin (3 goals, 1 assist, 4 points), John Tavares (0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Tobias Enstrom (0 goals, 5 assists, 5 points), Dustin Byfuglien (2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points), Andrew Ladd (2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points)- 2 others with 4 points
New York Islanders: Josh Bailey (knee), Lubomir Visnovsky (suspension)
Winnipeg Jets: Zach Bogosian (wrist), Antti Miettinen (upper body)
Who’s Next: After tonight’s game, the Jets will hit the road for their next three games. The Jets play the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, January 29th (6:30 p.m. CST) followed by back-to-back games against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, January 31st (6:30 p.m. CST) and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, February 1st (6:30 p.m. CST)
QUICKIES…..Ron Hainsey and Mark Stuart have each blocked 11 shots so far this season which is tied for 4th most in the National Hockey League……