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Amid trade rumors, Islanders set to face surging Jets

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG -- Stuck in a 2-7-1 slide, the New York Islanders face the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday along with many trade rumors.

Defenseman Andrew MacDonald was traded Tuesday afternoon to the Philadelphia Flyers for a third-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, a second-round pick in 2015 and center Matt Mangene.

Left wing Thomas Vanek may also be on the move leading into the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET.

Though the Islanders have a game to play against the Jets, they have not been able to seal off their dressing room completely from the trade talk that is dominating television and radio as they begin their four-game journey through Western Canada this week.

"The bottom line is that you have to try not to think about it, it's really out of your control at this point," Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic said after the team's morning skate at MTS Centre. "If management is going to make a move, they're going to make a move. You try not to worry about it, but as a player it definitely looms over your head."

The Islanders will have Matt Martin back in their lineup after he missed three games with a lower-body injury.

The Jets continue their push for traction in the Western Conference race, thanks to an 11-3-1 record since coach Paul Maurice replaced Claude Noel on Jan. 12. Winnipeg is tied with the Vancouver Canucks at 66 points, two points behind the Dallas Stars. Dallas holds the final wild card spot in the Western Conference and owns a game in hand on the Jets.

However, captain Andrew Ladd does not expect his hot team to let up against a struggling Islanders team.

"We want to get to the point where we're not worried about any team we're playing," Ladd said. "We're just focused on playing our game and playing the right way.

"I think you want to guard against [overconfidence], for sure. I think that as a group we try to guard against it in different ways. I liked our [morning skate]. It was a step in the right direction and in mentally preparing the right way for [the Islanders]."

After the morning skate, the Jets activated right wing Matt Halischuk and placed forward James Wright (ankle) on injured reserve. Halischuk (forearm) has not played since Dec. 14, missing 28 games. Wright exited the Jets' 3-1 road win against the Nashville Predators this past Saturday.

Halischuk will take Wright's spot on the Jets' fourth line and also skate alongside center Jim Slater on the penalty kill.

"Everyone's schedule at this time is going to get so heavy that the fourth line [has to contribute]," Maurice said. "We have confidence that they should be able to do that."

Anders Nilsson will start in goal for the Islanders and Ondrej Pavelec will make his third consecutive start for the Jets.

Here are the probable lineups for the Islanders and Jets:


Thomas Vanek - Ryan Strome - Kyle Okposo

Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey

Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Cal Clutterbuck

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Colin McDonald

Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic

Brian Strait - Radek Martinek

Thomas Hickey - Lubomir Visnovsky

Anders Nilsson

Evgeni Nabokov

Scratched: Eric Boulton, Matt Carkner

Injured: John Tavares (knee)


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik

Evander Kane - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Devin Setoguchi - Olli Jokinen - Dustin Byfuglien

Chris Thorburn - Jim Slater - Matt Halischuk

Zach Bogosian - Tobias Enstrom

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Adam Pardy - Keaton Ellerby

Ondrej Pavelec

Al Montoya

Scratched: Anthony Peluso, Paul Postma, Zach Redmond

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back), James Wright (ankle)

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