Having ended last game with a win at home, the Jets are heading out on a four game road trip to gain some of the precious points they need this season. Their first game on the road is against the New York Islanders, a team that is currently playing exceptionally well, having added many crucial pieces in the offseason as well as in the preseason. The addition of players such as Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy have helped the Islanders become serious contenders for the Cup this year if they can keep their momentum going. The Jets will likely have a tough fight on their hands as they try to beat the fourth ranked team in the league.
Once again, the Jets will find themselves without Evander Kane as he is working towards coming back from a knee injury, but the Islanders will also be missing players on the ice with Michael Grabner, Matt Carkner and Josh Bailey on injury reserve and Travis Hamonic day to day with an upper body injury.
1) Pavs on point: Pavelec has been consistently inconsistent so far this season, as per usual. From the loss to the Lightning to last game's win where he played his heart out, he's still Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in net. To get past the Islanders, he's going to need to be having a 100% Dr. Jekyll day.
2) Watch out for John Tavares and Brock Nelson: The Islanders number 1 and number 2 centres, Tavares and Nelson, both appear in the league's top 20 players right now based on points. I could expand, but really, we all know John Tavares is just good at hockey. Nelson is also proving to be exceptionally skilled at the game and has come out strong this season. Nelson is a player that young hockey players just starting out can look up to. Tavares is the guy that Nazem Kadri wants to grow up to be.
3) Maintain your composure/Pick your battles: The Jets need to not allow the Islanders to set up shop in their heads for the entire game. Notable pest, Cal Clutterbuck, will likely be in fine form as he usually is, and it will be up to the Jets to keep calm and composed and not react to whatever he or any other Islander player does to rile them up.
New York Islanders
1) Get puck. Shoot at net: Since I presume that Pavelec will get the start, all the Islanders have to do really is shoot at the net and it's likely to go in. Unless Pavelec's having an "on" day, that is.
2) Exploit the defence: Wide, gaping, ugly holes. Look for one shaped like Mark Stuart (hint: it's following a young blonde kid around the ice). There's also one that's vaguely furry; that one is called "Zach Bogosian". There once was a rather broad and tall one named something similar to "Buffalo" but he has been moved up front, so you're somewhat lucky on that account at least, Isles.
3) Use your pests: Want to drive the Jets bonkers? Use your more pesky players for all they're worth. Get under the Jets skin and use their annoyance to your advantage. Pick on Wheeler, he'll fight back. Pick on Byfuglien, he'll fight back.
Player to boo mercilessly
Cal Clutterbuck. Boo him with all your might. Boo loudly and boo often. Starting booing as soon as you're done reading this and don't stop until the game is over.
Islanders 4, Jets 2.