ISLANDERS 3, JETS 1 – Parenteau's tie-breaking goal lifts Isles to fourth-straight road victory

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With 13 shopping days left before the National Hockey League’s trade deadline, both P.A. Parenteau and Evgeni Nabokov – unrestricted free-agents-to-be come July 1 – made their cases for considerable raises come season’s end as they both displayed dominant performances in Tuesday evening’s 3-1 Islander victory over the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Parenteau, who snapped a 1-1 tie at 1:36 of the third period by deflecting a Milan Jurcina slap shot from beyond the right circle over the left shoulder of Jets net-minder Ondrej Pavelec, scored his 12th goal of the season. He added a team-leading 39th assist with 53 seconds to go, as while stationed behind an empty Jets goal, he found a streaking Matt Martin to the left of the goal. Martin deposited the insurance tally – his seventh of the season – to secure the victory.

Stalwart between the pipes, Nabokov made 37 saves, including a point-blank gem against fellow countryman Alex Burmistov late in the opening period. With the victory, Nabokov is now 7-1 lifetime against the Jets, with a G.A.A. under 1.80.

For the Islanders, the victory was the team’s fourth straight away from Nassau Coliseum. It marks the first time since January 2008 that the team has won four straight road games.

Unlike its weekend split against Los Angeles (2-1 OT win) and Florida (4-1 loss), the Islanders surrendered the game’s first goal. With under three minutes remaining in the opening period, Winnipeg’s crash-line of Chris Thorburn, Jim Slater and Tim Stapelton wreaked havoc on Islanders defensemen Mark Streit and Steve Staios.

Both Streit and Staios were gassed after a long shift. Slater, fresh off the Jets bench, skated around Streit to the right of Nabokov, and wristed a shot that was kicked out by the 36-year-old net-minder. Johnny on the spot was Thorburn, who slid past a leaning Staios, and deflected the rebound past a lunging Nabokov.

After being out-shot 16-10 in that opening period, Matt Moulson got the equalizer early in the second on a tremendous individual effort both with his stick and his body.

As Slater was attempting to clear the puck from his own zone during the Islanders’ lone power play, Moulson blocked the clear with his body. From inside the Jets zone -10-feet outside the blue line – he cradled the puck with his stick. After executing a beautiful give-and-go with John Tavares, Moulson blasted a wrister through defenseman Ron Hainsey’s screen and past an unsuspecting Pavelec.

Moulson’s goal was his 25th of the season. He became the first Islander to score 25 goals in three consecutive seasons since Ziggy Palffy accomplished that feat between the years of 1996-98.

With the win, the Islanders improve to 24-24-8 and now stand alone in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with 56 points. Coupled with Toronto’s 5-1 loss at Calgary, the Islanders pull within six points of the Conference’s final playoff spot.

The Islanders return to action on Thursday night, as they conclude their brief two-game road trip in St. Louis. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season. The Islanders defeated the Blues, 5-2 last March at Nassau Coliseum. Andrew MacDonald scored twice, while P.A. Parenteau, Michael Grabner and John Tavares each added a goal apiece in the victory.

With the loss, the Jets drop to at 26-26-6. At 58 points, they now sit two points ahead of the Islanders in tenth place. They return to action on Thursday evening in Minnesota, before returning back home to Winnipeg for eight straight.
On to some of the positives and negatives in the +/-

+ P.A. Parenteau – Best Islander on the ice (BY FAR). Memo to Garth Snow: Sign him to a multi-year contract or trade him for NHL-ready players. No draft picks allowed!

– Brian Rolston – Played 9:42. After being pick-pocketed by Blake Wheeler midway through the second, while attempting a slapper from the point, Rolston was immediately benched. His minutes were given to Parenteau. Is his bloated salary the lone reason why he is even in the line-up? Does Snow and Capuano honestly believe by playing Rolston that it would increase his value at the trade deadline? The answer is a resounding – NO!!!

+ Bridgeport Sound Tigers – After drilling Springfield (8-1) and nipping Connecticut (2-1) in overtime this past weekend at Webster Bank Arena, the Sound Tigers are now a sweltering 13-1-1 in 2012. With 55 points, Bridgeport now trails first-place Connecticut by three points in the Northeast Division. The Sound Tigers do have two games in hand. Enforcer Michael Haley recorded his first professional hat trick against the Falcons, while David Ullstrom netted the game-winner just 37 seconds into overtime to defeat the Whale. The Sound Tigers return to action this Saturday night at home against division rival Adirondack.

+ Bill Torrey – Forty years ago today, a then 38-year-old Bill Torrey was the named the first-ever general manager of the New York Islanders. Torrey had previously been the executive vice president of the now-defunct Oakland Seals.

– Nino Niederreiter – Skating freely on a 2-on-0 with Marty Reasoner alongside him, Niederreiter – the fifth overall selection in the 2010 draft – inexplicably dropped the puck off to a player with no goals in 36 games. Has Jack Capuano completely destroyed his confidence by playing him fourth-line minutes?

+ Penalty Killing – Martin, Josh Bailey and Jay Pandolfo were absolutely flawless on the P.K. The Jets were not able to generate much offensively.

+ Andrew McDonald – Playing 23:54, McDonald is not afraid to throw his body around. Quite a steal at 550K per!

+ Referee Stephen Walkom – The Delay of Game against Tavares was laughable, as he was situated in the neutral zone, while the near referee clearly saw the puck hit the glass. The P.A. Parenteau cross-check was nothing more than a love tap.

+ Quotes of the Day – Butch Goring – referring to Jay Pandolfo crashing into the Jet net – “The Post jumped right in front of him.” Jiggs McDonald – referring to P.A. Parenteau’s embellishment penalty – “Mr. Walkom, go back to the office.”