Following the Jets disappointing 4-2 defeat against the Coyotes, they’ll now look to stage off the 3-3 Islanders. Coming into this game, the Islanders have won back-to-back games outside of regulation. During their matchup earlier this month, the Islanders dominated the Jets on Long Island by a score of 4-1.
So, let’s dive into the headlines and storylines you’ll need to focus on before puck drop tonight.
1) Difficulties On The Penalty Kill
So far this season, the Jets have struggled mightily with their penalty-killing unit and those woes were a big reason for their loss against the Coyotes on Tuesday. After failing to prevent the Coyotes from scoring on both of their power-play opportunities, the Jets’ success rate while on the penalty kill dropped to second-worst (60%) in the entire league.
The Jets have already had a tough time playing defense with their undermanned unit when playing at even strength this season. So, the Jets will need to find a way to play more disciplined to elevate a lot of the pressure they face when their team takes unnecessary penalties.
2) Improved Performance On Power Play
While the Jets certainly wished they could have been able to produce more than a pair of goals during their latest game against Arizona, their lineup was at least able to record both of those goals on the power play. The Jets’ issues with the man advantage have been no secret through eight games this season.
Coming into tonight, the Jets 18.5% success rate with their power play sits 20th in the league. However, the return of Little means that the Jets’ second power-play unit should receive a significant boost going forward. The Islanders currently hold the 22nd-best success rate with their penalty-killing unit, which means the Jets should be able to control the outcome of this game if they’re able to draw a lot of penalties.
3) Quiet Night For Hellebuyck
After facing 35 shots Tuesday night against the Coyotes, goaltender Connor Hellebuyck should be able to relax against the Islanders. Entering tonight, the Islanders have averaged the third-fewest number of shots on net per game. Through their six games this season, the Islanders have created just 27.5 shots/game.
While Hellebuyck has performed inconsistently through his five starts this season, the Jets’ goalie is undefeated this season when he faces fewer than 30 shots in a game.
The Jets take an early lead over the Islanders during the first period and control the majority of the game until the third period. Following a pair of penalties during the final period of the game, the Jets are forced to rely on Hellebuyck to sustain their lead through the remainder of the game.