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game recap

John Tavares powers Islanders past Jets

New York captain scores goal, assist in win against Winnipeg

by Scott Billeck / NHL.com Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- John Tavares had a goal and an assist to reach 498 NHL points and Thomas Greiss made 32 saves to help the New York Islanders to a 6-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Saturday.

Greiss won his ninth game of the season, making his first start since the Islanders placed goalie Jaroslav Halak on waivers Friday.

"He was very (strong) at the beginning of the game when we needed him," Islanders forward Anders Lee said. "They came out with a lot of energy and a lot of shots and he was kind of our rock back there that we could rely on and gave us an opportunity to get our legs under us and start our scoring."

Nikolay Kulemin, Shane Prince, Ryan Strome, Andrew Ladd and Lee scored for the Islanders (15-15-6), who have scored at least four goals in five straight games.

 

WATCH: All Islanders vs. Jets highlights

 

Shawn Matthias and Nikolaj Ehlers scored for the Jets (17-19-3). Connor Hellebuyck allowed four goals on 15 shots and was relieved in the second period by Michael Hutchinson, who made eight saves.

"We started off hot and we were on the puck," Jets forward Mark Scheifele said. "Then we got away from our game plan. We started getting above the puck and it obviously cost us."

Video: NYI@WPG: Tavares roofs a backhand off Bailey's steal

Kulemin scored at 6:54 of the first period when he picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated into the slot. His initial shot was saved by Hellebuyck, but Kulemin was able to get behind the defense to his own rebound for his fifth of the season.

Tavares made it 2-0 with his 11th goal at 12:25. Jets forward Joel Armia was unable to clear the puck along the boards, allowing Tavares a clear path to the net.

"We've been slowly chipping away and doing some better things," Tavares said. "We've still kind of let some things get away from us."

Video: NYI@WPG: Kulemin slaps home his own rebound

Prince made it 3-0 at 2:26 of the second period. Strome scored at 14:13 on New York's 15th shot to make it 4-0, ending Hellebuyck's night. Strome has five points in four games.

Matthias scored a shorthanded goal 19:30 of the second period.

Lee scored his ninth goal in the past 13 games at 8:38 of the third period. Ladd scored his fourth goal in his past four at 10:18.

Video: NYI@WPG: Matthias snaps in Trouba's feed for SHG

Ehlers made it 6-2 on a power play at 16:55.

"That effort level tonight out there wasn't acceptable and definitely something that needs to be addressed," Scheifele said.  

 
Goal of the game

Lee held off Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba with one arm and used his other to get his stick on Josh Bailey's pass in front, redirecting it past Hutchinson in the third period.

Video: NYI@WPG: Lee deflects puck in with one hand on stick

 
Save of the game

Greiss stopped Jets forward Adam Lowry from point-blank range early in the second period to preserve the Islanders' 2-0 lead.

 

Highlight of the game

Strome picked up a loose puck behind the net and found Prince in front for the game-winner in the second period.

Video: NYI@WPG: Prince wires a wrister inside the post

 
Unsung performance of the game

Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg had a plus-3 rating and blocked two shots in 19:53 of ice time.

 
They said it

"We've got to, obviously, really make up some ground. Obviously, you can't do it in one day or one week, so one game at a time. We took two out of three after the Christmas break and now we've got six days off [until] our next one, so recharge a little bit and get ready for a big stretch getting closer to the second half." -- Islanders captain John Tavares

 

"We got young guys up front and when they have a minus-3 night, there's not much said. You don't notice it and you don't ask me a lot of questions about it. When you have a couple of young guys, or anybody, struggling on the back end a little bit, you sort of notice it. When you have a young guy in net who has a tough night, you see it front and center. Two of [Hellebuyck's] last three games have been pretty darn good, one very good. But tonight he really struggled in that net, as did the rest of the hockey team. So he has to find a way to get better and we all have to do better in front of him to give him a chance." -- Jets coach Paul Maurice

 
Need to know

Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey was a plus-2 in his 300th career NHL game. … Lee has 13 goals in his past 17 games. … Winnipeg has allowed 52 goals in the second period this season, most in the NHL.

 
What's next

Islanders: At the Colorado Avalanche on Friday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV)

Jets: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, TSN3, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Six Islanders find net in 6-2 victory over Jets

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