New York Islanders (33-25-11) vs Winnipeg Jets (30-33-7)
7 p.m., Barclays Center, Buy Tickets
Radio: 880AM - WCBS, 88.7 FM - WRHU
Morning Skate Updates - Projected Lines
As of Thursday morning, the New York Islanders hold the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and a win over the Winnipeg Jets (7 p.m., MSG+2) at Barclays Center would keep them there.
The Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning are each tied with 77 points, but the Islanders hold the tiebreaker with two more regulation/overtime wins. Toronto (76 points) lurks one point behind both teams.
Tampa Bay and Toronto play each other on Thursday night, so if the Islanders lose, they'll be bounced out of the second wild card spot.
Update: Brock Nelson is back in the lineup for Thursday's game. Anthony Beauvillier will come out.
Brock Nelson was a late scratch on Tuesday night, missing his first game of the season with an upper-body injury. The Islanders had Wednesday off, so Nelson's status will be updated at Thursday's morning skate.
Alan Quine returned to the lineup on Tuesday filling the void left at center. With Nelson out, Ryan Strome centered a line with Andrew Ladd and Josh Ho-Sang, Anthony Beauvillier centered Nikolay Kulemin and Jason Chimera and Quine played between Stephen Gionta and Cal Clutterbuck.
Video: NYI@CAR: Ho-Sang collects blocked shot, buries PPG
Ho-Sang Heating Up:
Josh Ho-Sang had a goal and an assist in both of the Islanders games against the Carolina Hurricanes this week. The rookie now has six points (3G, 3A) in his first eight games and appears to be adjusting well to the NHL game. Doug Weight put the speedy, skilled forward on the ice to start 3-on-3 overtime on Tuesday and the move paid off, as Ho-Sang picked off a pass, gained entry to the zone and dropped the puck to John Tavares, who snapped home the OT winner.
Jets Sliding During Stretch Run:
Tuesday's Winnipeg Jets-New Jersey Devils was game postponed due to the snowstorm in the Northeast, so the Jets have been off slightly longer than anticipated. The Jets bring a four-game winless streak to Brooklyn (0-3-1) and are quickly falling out of the Western Conference playoff picture. Winnipeg currently sits 10 points back of the St. Louis Blues for the final playoff spot and with 12 games remaining; they'd need to nearly run the table to have a chance.
Video: Tavares, Islanders beat Jets, 6-2
The Jets are a skilled offensive team, averaging the ninth-most goals (2.94 per game) in the league and boast four of the NHL's top-30 scorers. Mark Scheifele (69 points) is ninth, Patrik Laine (60 points) is 18th, while Blake Wheeler (57 points) and Nikolaj Ehlers are 28th and 29th, respectively. However, Winnipeg allows 3.19 goals-per-game, the third most in the NHL.
The Islanders piled up the goals in their first meeting with the Jets, beating Winnipeg 6-2 on New Year's Eve. The Islanders are 10-3-1 vs. the Jets since they relocated to Winnipeg, though they are 3-3-0 vs the Jets on home ice.