New York Islanders @ Winnipeg Jets
Isles expect another exciting road game, but look for more secondary scoring
Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 12:00 AM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
|Team Record: 10-14-6
Last Game: 2-1 SOW @ MIN
Season Series: 0-1-0 of 4
|Team Record: 15-13-4
Last Game: 5-3 W vs. ANA
Season Series: 1-0-0 of 4
Hamonic, a native of St. Malo, Manitoba, returns to Winnipeg to play in his first NHL game before many of his family and friends that would ordinarily not be able to watch him play live in New York.
The sophomore blue liner averages 21:56 of ice time, good for third on the team, while his average time on the penalty kill (2:32) is tied with his defensive partner Andrew MacDonald for the team lead, showing that he's trusted in all game situations. The second-year pro leads the Islanders in blocked shots (71), while he's second on the team in hits (57).
With one goal and five assists, Hamonic is second amongst Islanders defensemen in scoring. His work ethic and heart make this 21-year-old an up-and-coming player in the National Hockey League.
| Zach Bogosian
In the first 32 games of the season, the fourth-year pro and former third overall pick (2008), is on pace to set record numbers in assists and points this season with two goals and 12 assists, just one assist shy of his career-high mark set during the 2009-10 season.
Those numbers were escalated after Bogosian scored one goal and two assists in the Jets 5-3 routing of the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. Undoutbtedly a talented defenseman, his offensive production is inconsistent as he's scored in less than a third of the team's games, with five one-point games and four multi-point games.
His average ice time, 24:14 per game and 45 blocked shots are ranked second on the Jets, while his 63 hits are ranked fifth.
Thirty games into the 2011-12 season, Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano would still like to see more production from his "bottom six". Not fond of the words "third" or "fourth" line because Josh Bailey and Marty Reasoner's lines both receive relatively equal playing time, Capuano said he'd like to see both lines start to chip in more offensively.
"At some point, we have to get some scoring here," Capuano said. "We’ll see how it goes during the game (switching Nino Niederreiter and Tim Wallace) and maybe even flip flop a few other things."
While Niederreiter played a team-low of nine minutes on Saturday and recorded two hits in his first game back following a concussion, Capuano has alluded to the rookie's future as a top six forward after calling him a great kid and a big body who gets pucks to the net.
"The thing with Nino is, if we’re talking about putting him in a top six role, it’s going to take him a little bit of time coming off the concussion and the two injuries that he had to get his conditioning level to where it needs to be," Capuano said.
Another impact player who returned from injury last game was defenseman Andrew MacDonald. Capuano couldn't help but talk about the influence he has on the Islanders defensive core.
"He’s one of those guys, when I look back at his career and where he’s come from, he deserves everything he’s earned up until this point," Capuano said. "He’s playing well. He gave us big minutes in Saturday's game, but his positioning and his stick angles were able to break up some key plays for us."
MacDonald's one shot scored a key goal for the Isles, letting them take the lead into the third period, while he registered two blocked shots and time on both special teams' units.
With more difficult games approaching, the Isles will need more from not just their returning players, but from all their lines.
Season Series: This is the second meeting of four between the Islanders and Jets this season. In their first and only meeting since the Jets' return to Winnipeg, the Jets shut out the Islanders, 3-0, on Nov. 3 on Long Island.
Big Story: The Islanders are coming off of a big win against one of the League's top teams on Saturday night, which is momentum they will need to take on the Jets, who have lost just one game in the month of December.
Islanders: The score might have been closer than the Islanders would have liked in Saturday's 2-1 shootout victory of the Minnesota Wild, but the overall performance was exactly what the team has been looking for.
"We did a lot of good things (Saturday)," coach Jack Capuano said. "It was a game they deserved to win."
The Islanders outshot the Wild, 24-9, in the first two periods and notched a total of 36 shots in the game which was decided by the lone shootout goal from Frans Nielsen.
"It would have been a tough loss if we didn't win tonight because I really liked the way we played," Nielsen said.
The Islanders were especially happy with improvements on defense as they rank in the League's bottom 10 for goals-against per game with an average of 3.17. (Continue Reading)
In their first meeting of the season (Nov. 3), the Islanders were blanked 3-0 by the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Coliseum, despite playing a disciplined game for which they took no penalties and outshot the Jets 34-26, including by a 3:1 margin in the second period (19-6). However, the Isles failed to get on the board while Evander Kane, Johnny Oduya and Alexander Burmistrov (empty net) scored for the Jets. Rick DiPietro made 23 saves.
IslandersPower Play %: 16.2%
Penalty Kill %: 81.0%
Home Record: 6-8-3
Road Record: 4-6-3
Goals For: 69
Goals Against: 97
JetsPower Play %: 17.0%
Penalty Kill %: 81.7%
Home Record: 11-5-0
Road Record: 4-8-4
Goals For: 89
Goals Against: 97
(Answer from 12/17: Adrian Aucoin. Aucoin was the Islanders lone All-Star that season. He made the most of his opportunity opening the scoring of the game and showcasing his 102.2 mph slap shot, winning the hardest shot.)
Check out the Islanders depth chart. Head Coach Jack Capuano said that Al Montoya is starting, Evgeni Nabokov is backing up, Nino Niederreiter and Tim Wallace swap places and Mark Eaton is the healthy scratch.
Jets (Expected) LineupsForwards: Ladd-Antropov-Wellwood, Kane-Little-Wheeler, Glass-Slater-Thorburn, Stapleton-Burmistrov-Fehr
Defensemen: Byfuglien-Enstrom, Stuart-Bogosian, Hainsey-Oduya
Goaltenders: Pavelec, Mason
Expected scratches: Meech
Islanders forward PA Parenteau talking about the passionate fan base in Winnipeg: "I played here in the AHL (against the Manitoba Moose) and the fans were great. I can only imagine what it's like here with the Jets. I am looking forward to this game (Tuesday night). It’s always more fun when you play in a building where the energy is up like that. It gets everyone going and the guys are looking forward to this game tomorrow."
Cory Wright contributed to this report