Currently riding a two-game winning streak, the New York Islanders kick off a two-game road trip on Thursday night in Winnipeg. Thursday's game marks the second and final meeting of the season between the clubs, as the Isles beat the Jets 4-1 on Oct. 6 for their first win of the season.
Friendly Manitoba has lived up to its name for the Islanders, who are 8-1-1 in Winnipeg since the Jets returned.
MORNING SKATE UPDATES:
- Semyon Varlamov was the first goalie off of the ice at the Islanders morning skate. Varlamov has made three starts this season.
- There is no update on either Jordan Eberle or Casey Cizikas. Neither player made the trip out to Winnipeg or will travel to the second-leg of the road trip at Columbus.
- The sole game at Winnipeg for the regular season serves as a bit of a homecoming for Manitoba natives Barry Trotz and Ryan Pulock and as well, for Brock Nelson who is from Warroad Minnesota and noted that the Bell MTS Center is the closest arena from Warroad. All three had a showing of friends and family attend morning skate.
- Winnipeg's Bryan Little will not play against the Islanders despite being cleared for contact after suffering a concussion. Ville Heinola will return in the lineup for the first time in three games and could be partnered with Dmitry Kulikov on defense.
- Connor Hellebuyck is projected to start in net for the Jets tonight, which would mark his fifth-consecutive start between thie pipes this season.
- The Islanders embark on a two-game road trip beginning at Winnipeg. The Isles are coming off of a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the St. Louis Blues. Brock Nelson scored his third goal of the season, Mathew Barzal scored his first of the season and Devon Toews netted the game-winner in OT and his second of the season. Barzal and Nelson had a team-high two points for the night.
- Nelson has a team-high five points (3G, 2A) through six games played. Josh Bailey, Anthony Beauvillier, Barzal and Toews are all tied with four points each.
- Head Coach Barry Trotz has nearly split time in net both goaltenders Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov. In four games played and three starts, Greiss has posted a 2.27 goals against average and a save percentage of .925. In three games played and three starts, Varlamov has registered a 3.16 goals against average and a save percentage of .905.
- Oliver Wahlstrom made his NHL debut against the Blues on Monday afternoon. The Isles' 2018 first-round pick (11th overall) got the call-up as right-winger Jordan Eberle was ruled out of Monday's game after exiting Saturday's game against Florida with an undisclosed injury. Wahlstrom logged 15:13 time on ice and had two shots on goal.
- Casey Cizikas missed his third-straight game with a lower-body injury he sustained in the preseason finale against the New York Rangers.
- Trotz confirmed that neither Cizikas nor Eberle will travel to the Isles road games at Winnipeg and Columbus.
- Ryan Pulock and Trotz return to their home province of Manitoba as the Isles take on the Jets. Pulock is from Grandview, while Trotz hails from Winnipeg.
- The Islanders beat the Jets 4-1 on Oct. 6 at NYCB Live. They are looking to sweep the season series for the first time in four years.
- The Islanders are 8-1-1 in Manitoba since the Jets returned to Winnipeg. Last season, the Islanders scored a dramatic 5-4 comeback win over the Jets with a pair of goals in the final two minutes.
- Captain Anders Lee has points in 10 straight games (9G, 4A) against the Jets, dating back to Dec. 31, 2014.
- Since dropping a 4-1 decision to the Isles at NYCB Live on Oct. 6, the Jets have closed out the remainder of their road trip with three-straight wins with a 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Oct. 8, a 5-2 over Minnesota on Oct. 10 and a 3-2 OT win against Chicago on Oct. 12.
- Upon returning to Winnipeg, the Jets kicked off a five-game homestand at Bell MTS Place with two-straight losses, a 7-2 defeat against Pittsburgh on Oct. 13 and a 4-2 loss to Arizona on Oct. 15.
- The Jets' power play has scored in three straight games. Both of their two goals in Arizona came on the man advantage from Mark Scheifele in the first period and from Kyle Connor in the third period.
- The Jets power play went 0/2 on the penalty kill on Tuesday. Winnipeg's penalty kill is 30th in the NHL (60%).
- Rookie center David Gustafsson made his NHL debut on Tuesday night. The 19-year-old 2018 second-rounder (60th overall) logged 5:59 of playing time, won 75% of faceoffs and blocked one shot.
- Mark Scheifele (4G, 8A) and Patrik Laine (3G, 9A) are tied on the Jets leaderboard for points (12).
- Scheifele and Connor are tied for a team-high of two power-play goals.
- Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has made the last four starts in net for the Jets. In his five appearances this season, Hellebuyck has registered a 2.83 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.
- Bryan Little partook in practice for the first time since early October. Little suffered a concussion in preseason against Minnesota and wasn't cleared for contact until Wednesday's practice.
- Long Island native Anthony Bietto is day-to-day with a lower-body injury sustained against the Coyotes on Tuesday in which he left the game early.
- Ville Heinola will play against the Islanders, in his first game since the Jets home-opener against Minnesota on Oct. 10.
- No update has been delivered on Nathan Beaulieu who sustained an upper-body injury in the last preseason game against Minnesota on Sept. 29. His projected timelines to recovery was four weeks.