GAME DAY — Islanders at Jets, 3pm

Screen shot 2013-04-20 at 8.34.33 AM
New York Islanders at Winnipeg Jets, 3:00pm ET
MTS Centre — Winnipeg, MB — MSG+

Kevin Schultz

The Islanders play a huge game in the playoff race this afternoon in Winnipeg — and yes, they’re all huge at this point — but against the ninth place Jets, the playoff race can shift a bit more than usual. A regulation win for the Islanders won’t secure a playoff berth, but with Winnipeg entering the game three points back it’ll just about do the trick. In fact, a regulation win for either team makes things more interesting; either the Jets move to within one of the Isles or as far back as five away. So it’s the most important game of the year today, until the next most important game of the year.

The Jets come in on a hot streak, having won five in a row but in true playoff bubble fashion they’re only 5-5 in their last 10. Those five wins have all come against the dregs of the Eastern Conference: Philly, Buffalo, Tampa, Carolina and Florida. Today they’ll face the hottest team they’ve seen in a while, the 10-1-2 in their last 13 Islanders.

Winnipeg has been riding netminder Ondrej Pavelec during the win streak. Pavelec has been in net for each of those games, surrendering a total of 10 goals. But just prior to that was the Islanders and Jets last meeting on April 2nd at the Coliseum. The Islanders put four past Pavelec plus an empty netter to take a 5-2 win in what was Anders Lee’s pro debut.

The Islanders haven’t lost in regulation in April this far, a streak that would easily get them into the post season if it kept going. They will likely have Evgeni Nabokov in goal today. We’ll have the rest of the lineup when it becomes available.


Today’s Projected Lines

Moulson – Tavares – Boyes

Bailey – Nielsen – Okposo

Grabner – Aucoin – McDonald

Joensuu – Cizikas – Martin


Hamonic – MacDonald

Visnovsky – Hickey

Streit – Strait