Two years ago the Islanders concluded 2014 with a New Years Eve game in Winnipeg and they will do the same tonight as they are in Winnipeg to close out 2016. It’s been an interesting year for the Islanders, one you can read about here and watch here (YouTube video I made). It got even more interesting yesterday. Here is what you should know for tonight’s game…
Jaroslav Halak Waived:
We should know around 12:00 pm ET if any team has claimed goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who was placed on waivers by the Islanders yesterday following a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Halak stopped 21 of the 25 shots he faced before being pulled for J-F Berube. Given his contract, Halak will most likely clear waivers and if he does he would go to Bridgeport but we will have to wait and see. You can read more about Halak being placed on waivers here.
The Islanders have not lost to the Jets since October 28th, 2014 when the Jets beat the Islanders 4-3 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In that loss, the game-winner/go-ahead goal came from current Islander and former Winnipeg Jet, Andrew Ladd, who had two goals in that game. Since then, the Islanders have won all three games against the Jets dating back to New Years Eve, 2014. Despite another two goal game from Andrew Ladd, the Islanders won the game on New Years Eve 5-2. The next time they played each other was just the Islanders’ third game of the 2015-2016 regular-season (October 12th, 2015). The Islanders won the game 4-2, getting their first win of the season and their first regular-season win at the Barclays Center. The teams would meet for the second and final time that season a few days after the trade deadline on March 3rd, 2016. At this point, current Islander Andrew Ladd had been traded by the Jets to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Islanders traded for Shane Prince on the trade deadline, giving up a third round pick for him and a 7th round pick. It was just Prince’s second game with the Islanders but after Calvin de Haan’s second goal of the season tied things up at 1-1, Prince gave the Islanders the lead with his first goal as an Islander. The Jets tied it up and with the game tied at 2-2, Mark Scheifele gave his team a 3-2 lead with 2:03 left in the third period. However, with under 29 seconds left to play, Nick Leddy took a shot that was deflected off Anders Lee and into the back of the net to tie the game at 3-3. The game went to overtime and ended in an unusual way. The play involved two now former Islanders and Nikolaj Ehlers. Frans Nielsen took a shot that got Ehlers in the face and as he went down, Kyle Okposo scored the overtime winner for a 4-3 Islanders win.
Players to Watch:
Jets – Patrik Laine:
There was a lot of hype around Auston Matthews heading into the 2016 draft. He went first overall to the Toronto Maple Leafs. His rookie season has been impressive but the second overall pick is having a pretty productive and impressive season too. That second overall pick is 18 year old Patrik Laine. He has 19 goals (seven on the power play) and 11 assists through 38 games this season. Laine is currently second place in the goal scoring race, tied with three other players. Laine usually plays on the first line right wing with center Mark Scheifele and left winger Nikolaj Ehlers.
Islanders – Andrew Ladd:
The former Winnipeg Jets captain already played his first game back against the Jets after he was traded to Chicago at last year’s trade deadline but he is beginning to heat up with the Islanders. Ladd is currently on a three game point streak with three goals and one assist during those three games. In two games against the Jets since leaving them he has one goal which came in his return to Winnipeg.