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Mar 22, 2024 1:28 pm

Inconsistent Islanders aiming to halt slide vs. Jets

New York Islanders

A six-game winning streak seemingly vaulted the New York Islanders into a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Now, a six-game skid (0-5-1) is undoing all of their progress.

Inconsistent all season, the Islanders (29-25-15, 73 points) attempt to avoid a seventh straight loss on Saturday afternoon when they host the Winnipeg Jets in Elmont, N.Y.

The Islanders moved into the second wild-card spot when they rolled to a 6-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on March 10 for their sixth straight win. New York totaled 30 goals in that stretch before getting outscored 26-9 during its current skid.

The Islanders are one loss shy of their season-worst winless streak as they went 0-4-3 from Nov. 4-16 after getting off to a 5-2-2 start. The current skid has dropped them five points out of the second wild-card spot behind the Detroit Red Wings, who handed the Islanders a 6-3 loss on Thursday night.

New York has scored first in two games during this skid. On Thursday, it allowed four straight goals after Mike Reilly scored a tying goal with 6:35 remaining in the second period.

Perhaps making matters even more frustrating was that the latest loss occurred after coach Patrick Roy moved Mathew Barzal back to center alongside captain Anders Lee and Hudson Fasching while putting Jean-Gabriel Pageau on the third line.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted,” Pageau said after New York recorded its fifth loss by at least three goals in its current skid. “One thing, there’s no quitters on this team. Everyone embraces the challenge. We gotta get ready to start a winning streak and that’s gonna be our mindset right now.”

While the Islanders are hopeful to get going again, the Jets are trying to outlast the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars for the Central Division title.

Winnipeg (44-20-5, 93 points) is hoping to avoid consecutive losses for the first time since its five-game skid from Jan. 22-Feb. 8. The Jets fell to 14-6-0 in 20 games since that slide when they dropped a 4-1 decision at New Jersey on Thursday.

After scoring 16 times in a three-game winning streak, the Jets mustered just 19 shots on goal. Winnipeg also allowed 41 shots on goal for the second straight game, which was two shy of its season high.

Nikolaj Ehlers scored the lone goal but the Jets gave up three power-play tallies for the first time this season.

“You can’t give up three (power-play) goals,” said Scott Arniel, who filled in while coach Rick Bowness recovered from a minor procedure in Winnipeg. “We had some chances to clear pucks and we didn’t. We had some situations, even right near the end when (the penalty) was almost over and we just kind of fell asleep on those situations.”

The Islanders are 7-1-0 in the past eight meetings. Winnipeg snapped a seven-game skid in the series when Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves in a 4-2 win on Jan. 16.

–Field Level Media

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