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The Winnipeg Jets have won four of their last six games.
The New York Islanders have won two of their last three games.
This is the first of two meetings between these teams.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Winnipeg Jets will travel east to face the New York Islanders for the first time this season. These teams will only face each other twice this year, but both games will be within five days of each other.
The Jets are in second place in the Central Division with 69 points. However, they only have a two-point lead over the third-place Colorado Avalanche. Winnipeg must win this game or at least finish with one point. On the other side, the Islanders are in the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference with 63 points. The Islanders are 12 points out of third place in the Metropolitan Division, so they can only make the playoffs if they stay in a Wild Card spot.
The Jets have turned it around after missing the Playoffs last season. They have three bona fide scorers but very little scoring outside of them. This results in them having an average offense, but their defense often makes up for it. The Jets have a top-three defense and allow a measly 2.6 goals per game. In addition, Winnipeg has a top-five netminder in Connor Hellebuyck. He has been a workhorse for the Jets and is very often their saving grace.
The Jets have four players (Mark Schiefele, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Josh Morrissey, Kyle Connor) with 52 points or more. These four make up much of the Winnipeg offense and will need to continue to play large roles in the back half of the season.
Connor Hellebuyck has played an absurd amount of time in the net this year. The 29-year-old has started 43 games and has a 26-16-1 record. He also has three shutouts. He has stepped up his game this season and has been vital to Winnipeg’s success.
The Islanders recently made a big trade for Bo Horvat. Horvat gives a much-needed boost to this slower Islanders’ offense. The Islanders have shown that they can score, but before Horvat arrived, they would often score two goals a game. That said, the Islanders have a pretty strong defense and a dominant goaltender in Ilya Sorokin. Sorokin’s record could be better, but he has been a force for the Islanders this year.
The Islanders are led by Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, and Bo Horvat. Barzal will miss this game with an injury, but the other can make up for his absence.
Ilya Sorokin, like Connor Hellbuyck, has played a lot this year. He has played in 43 games (41 starts) and has a 19-17-5 record. However, he leads the league with five shutouts, and his .924 save percentage is the fifth-highest in the NHL.
The Islanders may be favored to win, but I would bet on the Jets. Winnipeg performs pretty well at home, but more importantly, they are healthier and have almost all of their roster available to them. Bet on the Jets.
The Jets are the underdogs but will win if they slow down Bo Horvat and score a power play goal.
Bo Horvat will take on a large role in this game for the Islanders. Not only does Horvat lead the Islanders with 35 goals, but he will take on an extended role in the absence of Mathew Barzal. The Jets’ defensemen must always be aware of Horvat when he is on the ice, or he will make them pay.
The Jets have a mediocre power play unit, but a better one than the Islanders. They convert nearly 22% of these opportunities and need to put a puck in the back of the net this game.
The Islanders are the favorites but will only win with strong goaltending and defense.
The Islanders cannot depend too heavily on their offense since Mathew Barzal is injured. Instead, their defense and goaltending have to pick up the slack. They must limit the Jets to no more than three goals. This requires a lot of effort from the defensemen and the goalies. If they work together, they can get this done and give themselves a chance.
Josh Morrissey leads the Jets in TOI at 23:45. He is their most talented defenseman and plays on their first line with Dylan DeMelo. Morrissey is a two-way player and brings skills to both sides of the ice. He must take charge of the defense and slow down the Islanders’ offense.
Brock Nelson is a reliable center with scoring and passing ability. His 57 points and 26 goals are the second-most on the team. In addition, Nelson is coming off a two-goal game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Nelson must take advantage of his previous game and score at least once in this matchup.
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What: Winnipeg Jets vs New York Islanders
Where: UBS Arena, Elmont, New York
When: Wednesday, February 22, 7:00 PM EST
How to Watch: NHLPP, ESPN+
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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