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New York Islanders Matinee Preview: Much on the line vs. Winnipeg Jets

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It's a would-really-like-to-win for the Islanders in Winnipeg, a near-must-win for the Jets.

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Time for more.
Time for more.
USA TODAY Sports

It's another day, just another "biggest" game for the Islanders. But this afternoon's tilt -- yes, it's a 3 p.m. EDT start -- poses a more interesting wrinkle in that their opponent really needs this one for their playoff push, and the road atmosphere should be electric inside Winnipeg's MST3K Centre.

Like the Islanders, the Jets just need to win enough of their four remaining games to get in, but it would be a boost to Winnipeg's hopes if they could take two regulation points from a team just three points above them. (And Winnipeg, should they catch the Isles, would hold the regulation/OT win tiebreaker.) Of course, they probably don't care which New York team they catch -- the Rangers are just two points ahead of them going into today.

On the other side, if the Isles could take two regulation points, it would all but bury the Jets as a threat to take their spot. (Forgive me, Dubie, for I have projected.)

Win-oldslim_medium Nyi-landthin_medium
Jets (23-19-2, 9th/E) vs. Islanders (23-16-5, 7th/E)
3 p.m. EDT | MSG+
| Audio: NHL - WRHU
[MST3K] Centre
Arctic jet set:
Arctic Ice Hockey

With the travel from Toronto and the early afternoon start today, there's no info yet coming from the team on any lineup changes. (I wouldn't expect any though, other than the possible continued rotation of Matt Carkner and Radek Martinek, and I'd imagine Eric Boulton returns to the press box.)

UPDATE: Speak, and inaccuracies will soon follow! Brian Strait returns to the line up for the first time since breaking his ankle. He replaces Carkner. Jesse Joensuu does indeed go in for Boulton.

Some links to tide you over:

So this is it. As far as the remaining schedule goes, there might end up being a more pivotal game in the final week, but none of them hold the high stakes for both the Isles and their opponent like this one does.

The Islanders are on a 10-1-2 run (including 7-0-2 in their last nine), while the Jets have rebounded with a five-game winning streak of their own. Should be a great atmosphere, hopefully a great win that disappoints the locals.

FIG Picks

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for this 3 p.m. EDT start in this thread. The leaderboard has been updated.