It’s been no easy feat to beat the Winnipeg Jets at home this season. In fact, only two teams have been able to win at the MTS Centre as visitors more than once. With a 3-1 win Tuesday night, the Islanders matched the Florida Panthers in this accomplishment.
The win, combined with a loss by the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Calgary Flames, puts the Isles in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, and only six points out of the eighth playoff spot.
The Isles have been strong on the road, and Tuesday’s win is the fourth straight outside of Nassau Coliseum; a streak the team has not matched since January 2008.
With the game-winning goal at 1:36 of the third and an assist, PA Parenteau was the game’s First Star. The two points give him 51, and he is fifth in the league in assists with 39.
“It was a great play by Rolston,” Parenteau said describing the smooth play that he was able to convert. “He found me in the soft spot in the high slot. I saw Jurcina in the corner of my eye. I gave it to him and I took a step, and I think he saw me wide open in the slot. He made a nice slapshot pass right to my tape. That was a big goal for our team.”
He nearly added a second goal on the empty net in the final minutes, but his shot went off the side of the goal, and it set up Matt Martin’s insurance tally. Parenteau found Martin coming through the slot and he buried the puck to provide the final margin.
Matt Moulson opened the scoring for the Isles with a power play goal at 3:35 of the second period, tying the score at 1. It was his 25th of the season, making him the first Islander since Ziggy Palffy to have three straight 25-goal seasons.
“When your special teams does its job, especially this time of year, you’re going to have success,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “We turned the puck over, but their clearing attempt we kept in and it was a big goal for us at a key time in the game.”
The Jets took a 1-0 lead at 17:50 of the first on a goal by Chris Thorburn. He collected a loose puck in front of the goal and beat Evgeni Nabokov to his right.
Nabokov had another strong game, and was the game’s second star, making 37 saves. He had help from strong play in the defensive zone. The Islanders blocked 16 shots and they lead the NHL with 971.
The Islanders continue the tough road trip when they head to St. Louis Thursday to take on the Blues who are 24-3-4 at the Scottrade Center.