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Preview: Jets vs. Islanders (Happy New Year's Eve!)

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The Islanders are in Winnipeg to take on the Jets in a weird afternoon game. Can the Jets win without half of their lineup? How many injuries do they have to have before they start thinking of picking up something to help out? Will Johnny Boychuk be stellar? Will Kyle Okposo make more hilarious faces? Will you please choose a designated driver or a cab if you're drinking tonight? Please?

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Today the Jets are home to the New York Islanders in one of those weird afternoonish games. After losing to the Wild in their last game the Jets are looking to bouce back and snag another win and since they won the last game they played against the Islanders, it may be possible. The Islanders are just kicking off a massive road trip and are coming off a crazy win against the Washington Capitals on Monday.

Keys to the Game

Winnipeg Jets

Random First Thought: I am very surprised the Jets failed to snag Magnus Pääjärvi off the waiver wire (and also sad.. those umlauts are beautiful and I would have had so much fun with them) in light of Evander Kane being gone until February. Now that the club seems to be rolling with what they have currently (at least for the time being) it's ever more important to stay consistent. The lineups looked a little shaky last game, but I will also begrudgingly admit that it could have been way way worse.

Give Mathieu the Puck: Mathieu Perreault is on fire right now. He has 5 goals in the last 5 games and is probably the best Jet out there at the moment. No, I'm not saying others are terrible and he's the superawesomebest, he just happens to be pretty hot right now and giving him space to make the moves he is able to is important, especially with the last two lines looking closer to a dumpster fire than actual hockey lines.

Watch Their Defense: In the last game against the Capitals, the Islander's defense was the reason for the team's win. The game came to a 4-3 overtime win for the Islanders with three of those four goals coming from their defense (Lubomir Visnovsky, Calvin De Haan and Johnny Boychuk). Not letting them set up shop in front of the net will be key in this game, as will not allowing any shooting lanes for Boychuk to take advantage of with his incredibly shot. (Is my Boychuk love showing too much? Okay, okay, I'll tone it down. I guess.)

New York Islanders

Just when you think you can't shoot anymore, SHOOT AGAIN: So, here's the deal. Apparently according to the preview on the Jets official page, Ondrej Pavelec is in today. This could go two ways for the Islanders.

  1. Pavelec is so mad at sitting out the last three games that he is determined to never let that happen again and plays like a madman and is generally awesome out there.
  2. Pavelec is so mad at sitting out the last three games that he is totally unfocused and tries too hard and lets in a billion goals because he can't get past the fact that young Michael Hutchinson is breathing down his neck for the starting goalie spot and making one heck of a case against him.
Regardless of what version of Pavelec is there today, the Islanders need to keep the pressure on and keep shooting. With the depleted core of players (hello, injury list) the Jets are hurting but are able to pretend that they can keep it together. Getting through them should be relatively easy, especially for players such as Kyle Okposo, John Tavares and Super Sniper Johnny Boychuk (who I am madly in love with).

Don't Blow a Lead: Yeah, they did this last game. It took a nice Johnny Rocket from Boychuk in overtime to get the Isles the win after an incredible comeback from a 3-0 deficit by the Washington Capitals. This wasn't the first time the Islanders blew a 3-0 lead though, it's happened multiple times recently. Essentially, if you have the lead, try to keep it.

Player to Boo Mercilessly


Prediction


I actually predict that the Jets win this one. They beat the Islanders in their last game against them and I think they can get past Tavares and Company if they just play simple and smart.

Jets 3
Islanders 2
In overtime.
And maybe a shoot out.

Also Happy New Year, friends. Be smart tonight and if you're drinking, please make good life choices like taking a cab, having a designated driver and not adding tequila into the mix if you've been drinking beer all night because that's how bad hangovers and poor decisions happen.