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New York Islanders @ Winnipeg Jets - game preview

by David Hochman / New York Islanders
Team Record: 23-24-8

Last Game: 4-1 L vs FLA
Season Series: 1-1-0 of 4
Team Record: 26-25-6
Last Game: 8-5 L vs. PIT
Season Series: 1-0-1 of 4
Andrew MacDonald
Andrew MacDonald is logging some serious time on ice, averaging 23:52 per game.

After Travis Hamonic’s injury 10 days ago, MacDonald picked up even more TOI. He now skates among the top 30 minute-munchers in the NHL with an average of more than 25 minutes per game in his last five outings. With that much a ice time and a record of 2-2-1, his even plus/minus rating stands out. He’ll need to keep up that strong play against the opposition’s top players for the rest of the season to help the Islanders finish this second-half push strong.
Dustin Byfuglien
MacDonald spends more time on the ice than any of the Jets, but not far behind him at No. 29 in the league is Winnipeg’s bruising blueliner Dustin Byfuglien. Byfuglien led his team in ice time again Saturday when they dropped an 8-5 decision in Pittsburgh. Byfuglien picked up a goal and an assist during his 20:57 on the ice and is starting to show his hardened skill that made him a Stanley Cup winner in Chicago two years ago.

Byfuglien is plus-two with three shots on goal in the pair of games versus the Isles. If that strength continues, the Jets could take the advantage in the season series.
Winning-peg: The Islanders returned to Winnipeg in December for the first time since 1996 and returned to their winning ways against the Canadian franchise. The Manitoba capital has been a difficult to play for visiting teams in this, the Jets’ coming home season with the peggers winning almost 75 per cent of their home games. However, if the Isles can get comfortable in the MTS Center early and start a road-winning streak there, it could bode well for now and years down the line.

The chase is on: With 27 games left on the Islanders schedule, there’s still plenty of time to play their way into a top-eight position. There’s also plenty of teams in front of them to chase, including Tuesday’s opponent. A four-point gap stands between the Eastern Conference foes, so a regulation win either way stands make the chase that much more interesting.

Wishart returns: After 10 months, Ty Wishart makes his return to the Islanders lineup. The 23-year old defenseman was called up to the big club Monday morning as Rhett Rakhshani was returned to Bridgeport. In 20 games last year, Wishart picked up five points (1g/4a) and held on to his rookie NHL status for one more season. The next contest he plays will be his 26th career NHL game, taking him past the rookie limit and into veteran status next season.
PA Parenteau scored the game-decider in the shootout as the Islanders edged the Jets 3-2 on Dec. 20, 2011 at MTS Centre. Parenteau and Michael Grabner were the Isles goal-scorers in regulation, while Nik Antropov and Andrew Ladd rounded out the scoring for Winnipeg. Al Montoya started the contest but left after sustaining a concussion in a collision with Evander Kane. Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves in relief and stopped both shootout attempts.

Click the photo for gallery from last game.
Date of
DiPietro 1/3 Sports hernia/knee swelling 19 10 weeks
Hamonic 2/4 Broken Nose 4 2 weeks
Katic 9/24 Shoulder 55 out indef. (IR)
Mottau 12/30 Concussion 20 No timetbl. (IR)
Reasoner 1/6 Broken hand 17 No timetbl. (IR)
Reese 2/7 MCL Sprain 3 4-6 weeks
Power play: 19.28%
Penalty kill: 84.18%
Home record: 12-13-5
Road record: 11-11-3
Goals For: 127
Goals Against: 159
Power play: 17.14%
Penalty kill: 81.94%
Home record: 16-8-2
Road record: 10-17-4
Goals For: 136
Goals Against: 161

Answer from Sunday's: On Nov. 14, 2009, what Islander set the NHL record for fastest goal by a player on his birthday against the Florida Panthers? The answer is: The answer is D: Tim Jackman. Jackman scored 16 seconds into the game on his 28th birthday.   . 
Capuano announced at morning media availabilty that Marty Reasoner would make a return after missing 17 games with a broken hand. Tim Wallace is a healthy scratch. Evgeni Nabokov will start. Lineups here.

Jets Lineups
Forwards: Ladd-Little-Wheeler; Kane-Antropov-Wellwod; Glass-Slater-Thourburn; Stapleton-Burmistrov-Miettinen.

Enstrom-Byfuglien; Hainsey-Bogosian; Stuart-Oduya.

Pavelec; Mason

Islanders forward PA Parenteau discussing the definition of team over the weekend: “You know Johnny's line can't keep up that pace they had, and this is when the other lines have to pick it up. That's why we're a team. It's not just him.”

Cory Wright contributed to this story.
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