The Islanders complete the ridiculous year that was 2017 on the road out west. They came into tonight’s game in Winnipeg having lost their last four away contests and in need of two points. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t walk away with any, but it wouldn’t be for lack of effort - at least through the first forty minutes.
The Islanders fell behind early courtesy of Shawn Matthias forcing a turnover and slapping a rebound over Jaroslav Halak, dropping them into an early hole. Not the start they were looking for, but they responded as best they could - they controlled the shot share and sent 19 shots at Connor Hellebuyck, but to no avail.
Piling on, the Jets added another tally when Blake Wheeler completed some catch-and-release between he and Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine on a 3-on-1.
The Isles again took 19 shots-on-goal, totaling 38 through two, and the first line hit the scoresheet when the calf of Anders Lee deflected a shot past Hellebuyck and extended the point streaks of linemates John Tavares and Josh Bailey.
The Jets’ goalie was in front of everything New York threw at him, however, and kept his team on top going into the third, where they finished the job.
Though they were arguably the better team through the first two periods, the same could not be said of the final frame, a fairly disappointing sequence in light of their earlier play. Goals from Connor and Adam Lowry put the Islanders away, save for another drool-inducing Lee backhand and an exciting but unfruitful extra-attacker session.
Thoughts & Feelings
I mean, how often do you lose when you land 43 shots-on-goal? They played well tonight, but Hellebuyck was better and gave his team two points. Not much else that needs to be said - except that Anders Lee is now up to 24 goals on the season (tied for first in the league as of this writing) and it’s not even January.
The Avalanche will be the Isles’ next opponent, traveling to Denver for an 8:00 p.m. ET start on New Year’s Eve.