December 18, 2010 was the last time a member of Jets organization scored a hat-trick while with the club. They were then known as the Atlanta Thrashers and the player was Eric Boulton. Coincidentally, Boulton was in the press box for the New York Islanders tonight. So it's is plainly obvious what Jets captain Andrew Ladd was thinking about with the puck on his stick, the puck in the crease with no goalie in net and he already had a pair of goals on the night. Alas, it was not to be as an Islander defender got his stick in the way and Ladd finished with just 2 goals.
While Ladd refused to talk about the missed hat-trick in his post game interview he still had a smile on his face as the Jets defeated the Islanders 4-3 on the night. His second goal scored just 3:31 into the final frame on a rebound off a Bryan Little shot held up as the game winner.
Brock Nelson opened the scoring for the Islanders early in the first on the powerplay. Islanders outshot Jets 9-7 in first and looked in control. A dangerous hit by Nikolay Kulemin of the Islanders on Mark Stuart just 24 seconds into the second changed the pace of the game. Kulemin would get five minutes and a game misconduct for the hit and could face a hearing from the NHL. Mark Stuart was shaken up on the play but did return. On the ensuing powerplay Andrew Ladd would finish off a scramble play to tie the game. Since a five minute penalty is not erased by a goal Paul Postma would take advantage of his expanded role on the same powerplay pinching in to help Jets take 2-1 lead. Jacob Trouba would add his first of the season a little later while playing 4v4 on a bad save attempt by Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak. However Islanders answered with a pair of late second period powerplay goals of their own by John Tavares and Mikael Grabovski to tie the game 3-3 going into third.
1) How about Paul Postma? After a great start to the year, from defensive third pair, he really stepped up. He was fantastic in his first real chance to contribute. He has excellent instincts on the powerplay and moved the puck really well. Postma deserves more ice time going forward even when Zach Bogosian returns to the lineup.
2) Where in the world is Dustin Byfuglien? He was massively praised by Dennis Beyak for one hit on Thomas Hickey in the offensive zone, however Thomas Hickey easily retained the puck and made the break out pass. His skill set is completely wasted up front.
3) The top line has finally found their legs. Bryan Little continues to Bryan Little. He quietly goes about his business of two-way hockey, but Andrew Ladd and Michael Frolik have really found their skating legs and are keeping up. Both were effective in transition and on cycle helping the team to the win. Ladd finished with two goals on 5 shots.
4) An uncharacteristically quiet game from the 2nd line of Mathieu Perreault-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler. Their biggest impact on the game came via a very poor back-checking decision by Wheeler. This allowed Grabovski to walk to the middle for the Islanders 3rd goal. Mark Scheifele did manage to lead the team with six shots on goal though.
5) Despite having a two ton anchor playing beside him Jacob Trouba still manages to impact the game at a high level. He continues to show great hockey sense. He knows when to jump in on the play while remaining a force defensively. Still making a few young mistakes, however less than a say Zach Bogosian who should know better by now.
6) Speaking of that anchor, you do have to give Mark Stuart some credit for battling back after that dangerous hit by Kulemin. In reality, it is not his fault that he is overmatched, but he continues to be misused by Paul Maurice and was oddly not upgraded on by Kevin Chevaldayoff.
7) There has to be a note about goaltending. Pavelec was at his best - Pavelec style. He played mediocre and made a couple saves, but just couldn't make the big one at the big time. He got bailed out by a strong Jets offence today.
8) For all the flak Chris Thorburn gets (which, much like with Stuart is largely about contract and deployment) he put in a solid effort tonight. Little things like a great cover for a late-back-to-zone Lowry, he subsequently won a board battle followed and took a hit to make a great breakout pass. These are the little things that keep safe guys like Thorburn in the lineup over player like Anthony Peluso..
9) Not much to say about the 4th line tonight. Hard to get involved with as much special teams play there was. Matt Halischuk played less than five minutes, Jim Slater and TJ Galiardi got more simply due to penalty kill time.
10) Why do the Jets seem to hate MTS Centre? They seem to play better on the road over the past few seasons? To much pressure for the "Atlanta" core?