The New York Islanders return to Brooklyn with a chance to get closer to second place in the Metropolitan division and end the Winnipeg Jets’ four-game winning streak.
- Winnipeg Jets (16-8-2, 34 points)
- New York Islanders (13-9-3, 29 points)
- 7 p.m. ET, MSG+, 88.7 WRHU
- Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Coming off the coattails of a raucous weekend at the Coliseum which ended in a 3-2 victory, the real battle begins for the New York Islanders as they turn to Patrik Laine and the contentious Winnipeg Jets.
Back to Brooklyn
For as much fun as everyone had on Saturday, the Islanders are aware that games won’t have that feel going forward, at least not until next Monday when they return to the Coliseum to play Pittsburgh. Their focus is solely on tonight’s contest against Winnipeg, and how much their special teams need to break from their funk.
One thing the Islanders were unable to do this weekend was breaking their powerplay drought. An early opportunity presented itself when Pierre Luc-Dubois tripped Tom Kuhnhackl but the storyline remained, a 0-for-3 performance on the man-up brings the Islanders to 19 days since their last powerplay goal.
The Islanders underwent some roster adjustment this morning, calling up Christopher Gibson and returning Stephen Gionta to Bridgeport. Robin Lehner will not be active for tonight’s game with Trotz emphasizing the move was out of precaution rather than necessity.
Trotz on Lehner: “He just tweaked something. Nothing to be concerned about, he just won’t be in tonight. A little bit precautionary. We didn’t put him on IR, there’s no need for that. We hope he’s good to go in the next day or so.” #Isles pic.twitter.com/LB5ASbrs71
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 4, 2018
Thomas Greiss is expected to start between the pipes again, and why not? The Islanders goalie for the last three seasons is looking more like his 2016 form with each passing game, and some may argue even better with the new defensive structure in front of him.
Greiss’s 28-save performance against the Jackets this-past weekend was his ninth win of the season and the latest in a display of revitalization. Greiss has won three of his last four starts and allowed four goals total in his last three games after allowing three in a 4-3 OT win against the New Jersey Devils.
Greiss owns both a .926 save percentage and a 2.25 goals-against average in those four games.
For Lehner, his first seven games displayed what he’s capable of at his best going 4-2-1 with a .928 save percentage.
Though he lost his last four starts and was pulled against the Dallas Stars, he had a strong showing against Boston making some impressive goal-line saves and kept the Islanders around all night with a .972 save percentage.
For the Jets
The Winnipeg Jets are making their final stop in their tour of the New York-area with tonight’s game against the Islanders. Though tonight’s game will be the Jets’ third in five days, their offensive success is something the Islanders should be aware of tonight.
Mark Scheifele was one of the three stars of the week last Monday going 5-4-9 during a five-game point streak.
Brian Compton at NHL.com asked Bryan Little for the team’s thoughts heading into Brooklyn:
I think we’re expecting another tough game. For some reason, every time we come into this building it’s a tough game for us. We’re expecting a battle and I think we want to help out [Connor Hellebuyck] a bit more tonight and tighten things up. But for the most part, it should be a good game.”
In the Jets’ last three games, they’ve scored 13 goals — they have also allowed 11 and a minimum of three per game in their last eight.
Winnipeg is in the upper-echelon in the league in terms of offensive skill, but recently lacking in preventing goals. For as good and capable as Connor Hellebyuck is (he was a Vezina finalist in April), in his last six games he has only one performance with an over .900 save percentage (in a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild).
Contrarily, the Islanders have allowed just five goals in the last four games.
The only major lineup change for Winnipeg is expected to be Brendan Lemieux likely slotting in on the third line.
Puck drop is scheduled tonight for 7 p.m. ET at the Barclays Center.