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Ladd's two goals help Jets edge Islanders

by John Kreiser

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Winnipeg Jets' final visit to Nassau Coliseum proved to be the tonic for their ailing offense, especially their struggling power play.

Andrew Ladd scored his second goal of the game 3:31 into the third period to snap a tie and the Jets beat the New York Islanders 4-3 on Tuesday.

Ladd fired home the rebound of Bryan Little's harmless-looking shot off the pads of Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak.

"Andrew got the big goal when we needed it tonight," coach Paul Maurice said of the Jets captain, who matched his goal production for the first eight games of the season by scoring twice Tuesday. "He did it the other day [against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday] when we needed one right out of the gate. There's your leadership."

Ladd and defenseman Paul Postma also scored goals during a five-minute power play early in the second period, a windfall for a team that came into the game 1-for-28 with the man advantage.

"It was not our greatest start but we had a strong finish," Ladd said. "I thought after the first period, after we had that power play, we got two big goals to kind of get energized and back going."

Little had three assists and Postma and Jacob Trouba also scored for the Jets, who came to New York for the opener of a four-game road trip having scored 15 goals in their first eight games.

"As the game went on, Ladd, Little and [Michael] Frolik had a good forecheck, and good puck possession and control in the offensive zone. They were outstanding tonight," Maurice said.

Ondrej Pavelec won his second straight start for the Jets (4-5-0) by making 18 saves. He stopped Casey Cizikas on a breakaway midway through the third period and denied Mikhail Grabovski's solo rush with over four minutes remaining.

"I thought they made it tough for us after [they went ahead]," said Islanders forward Kyle Okposo, who said he lost his man on Ladd's game-winner. "They clogged up the neutral zone and didn't allow us many entries."

Brock Nelson, John Tavares and Grabovski scored for the Islanders (6-3-0), who head out on a five-game road trip that begins Thursday at Colorado. Halak made 26 saves in his first game since being pulled after two periods against the Toronto Maple Leafs a week ago.

"We battled back but we didn't have a great third period," Tavares said. "They got a goal early and they did some good things, and we just weren't quick enough. We weren't dirty and gritty enough at times in the third to hem them in and get some pressure."

New York coach Jack Capuano said the Islanders must improve their puck management quickly.

"When you don't manage the puck well, you're not going to have success. We didn't deserve to win," he said. "It's going to be a long road trip if we don't figure it out quick."

The Islanders came out flying, earned a power play 1:04 into the game and required all of 12 seconds to grab the lead. Johnny Boychuk's slap shot from the left point rang off the far post, but Nelson was all alone and backhanded the carom into an open net for his team-high sixth goal of the season.

New York had the better of play for most of the rest of the period but was unable to get another puck past Pavelec, who made his best stop after the midpoint of the period when he denied Tavares after the Islanders captain got past the defense.

"We tired them out in our end," Maurice joked when asked about his team's performance in the opening period. "They have a really quick team and they move the puck in transition. The mood was right, the energy was right, the legs just weren't there. That happens sometimes in the first game of a road trip."

But the Jets got a shot of energy when Islanders forward Nikolay Kulemin was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for a center-ice hit on Jets defenseman Mark Stuart 24 seconds into the second period.

"Sometimes something like that can fire you up a bit," Maurice said of the hit on Stuart, who stayed in the game.

Ladd knocked home a rebound 50 seconds later for his third of the season, and Postma got his first at 4:06 when he jabbed home a loose puck in the crease after a turnover by New York defenseman Brian Strait. It was Postma's sixth career goal; three have come against the Islanders.

"I have no idea why," Postma said when asked about his scoring success against the Islanders.

It became 3-1 at 11:42. With the teams playing 4-on-4, Trouba whipped a wrist shot from the high slot that sailed past Halak for his first of the season.

But a boarding penalty to Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele at 13:29 gave the Islanders their fifth power play, and Tavares made it a one-goal game again when he lifted the rebound of Nelson's shot over Pavelec for his fourth of the season at 14:28.

Grabovski tied the game 93 seconds later with a tremendous individual effort. He burst past Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom at the Winnipeg blue line, cut from the right wing to the front of the net, got Pavelec to drop and zipped the puck under the crossbar. Grabovski's third of the season sent the teams into the second intermission even at 3-3.

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