The New York Islanders ended 2016 on a high note, defeating the Winnipeg Jets 6-2 in a decisive victory. Former Jets captain Andrew Ladd scored halfway through the third period, while Islanders captain John Tavares added a goal and an assist in a win that forced Connor Hellebuyck from the game.
2016 will be a year to forget for the Jets, who finish the calendar year at 35-40-9. The Jets are 5-10-2 against Eastern Conference opponents this season. When asked about the game, Mark Scheifele said, “That effort level out there tonight wasn’t acceptable and it’s something that definitely needs to be addressed”.
The Islanders will get a really nice break before their next game, only lacing up the skates again on Friday, when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ladd continued his hot streak, having now scored four goals in the past four games. Tavares moved within two points of 500 on his career.
Nikolay Kulemin scored the first goal of the game, firing a shot at Hellebuyck that was stopped. The save caused a juicy rebound that Kulemin jumped on. He put it up and over the goalie for the first goal of the game.
Later in the period, Joel Armia sent a poor pass to Josh Morrissey, who had his stick lifted by Josh Bailey. Bailey then sent the puck to a wide open Tavares, who went forehand-backhand to put the Islanders up by two.
Less than three minutes into the second, Ryan Strome found the puck behind the net and sent it out front to Shane Prince. Prince fired it low blocker and past Hellebuyck, who seemed confused about how the shot got past him. Even with the Jets winning the shot count, the Islanders were now up 3-0.
The Islanders showed no mercy on this New Year’s Eve. Ryan Strome picked up the puck at center ice and skated it into the Jets zone on a 2-on-1. Nikolaj Ehlers dove to block the shot, but Strome held the puck, fired a wrist shot, and beat Hellebuyck. That marked the end of the night for the 23-year-old.
The Jets finally answered back with 30 seconds left in the period. Jacob Trouba, who has had a great past few games, drove around the net on the penalty kill and put it out in front for Shawn Matthias, who put the shot past the glove of Thomas Greiss.
The Islanders continued to improve in the third period. Off a won faceoff, Bailey centered the puck from the corner, where Anders Lee made a one-handed tip up and over Hutchinson. Lee was very excited about the tip. He should be, it was outstanding.
Ladd left a mark on his former team, scoring his eighth of the season off a feed from Brock Nelson right into the slot. The Jets knew that was one of his favorite places to shoot the puck, having done it many times at the MTS Centre.
The top line for the Jets gave the fans something to be happy about. On the power play, Patrik Laine faked the shot and sent it over to Ehlers, who put it in to bring the Jets within four, but that’s as close as they ever got.
#NHLJets C Mark Scheifele has an assist added on Ehlers' goal. He's up to 33 points in 36 games this season
— Ken Wiebe (@WiebeSunSports) January 1, 2017
The game ended 6-2, a poor showing for the Jets. Fans in attendance booed their players repeatedly, most upset at the lack of effort shown during the game.
NYI – Nikolay Kulemin (5) unassisted
NYI – John Tavares (11) assisted by Josh Bailey (18)
NYI – Shane Prince (5) assisted by Ryan Strome (7) and Brock Nelson (13)
NYI – Ryan Strome (6) assisted by Johnny Boychuk (8)
WPG – Shawn Matthias (4) (SHG) assisted by Jacob Trouba (9) and Adam Lowry (4)
NYI – Anders Lee (14) assisted by Josh Bailey (19) and John Tavares (16)
NYI – Andrew Ladd (8) (PPG) assisted by Brock Nelson (14) and Cal Clutterbuck (11)
WPG – Nikolaj Ehlers (10) (PPG) assisted by Patrik Laine (12) and Mark Scheifele (18)
THW Three Stars
First: John Tavares (1 goal, 1 assist)
Second: Thomas Greiss (32 saves)
Third: Ryan Strome (1 goal, 1 assist)
New York Islanders at Colorado Avalanche
Pepsi Center – 9:00 p.m. EST on Friday, January 6
Broadcast Channels: MSG+ 2
2016-17 Season Series: First Meeting
Winnipeg Jets at Tampa Bay Lightning
Amalie Arena – 6:30 p.m. CST on Tuesday, January 3
Broadcast Channels: TSN3
2016-17 Season Series: First Meeting