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Jan 16, 2024 2:46 am

Win streak over, Jets clash with slumping Islanders

The New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets will both be coming off shutout losses when they meet Tuesday night.

And that’s where the similarities between the teams end.

The Islanders will look to snap out of a lengthy slump as they complete a back-to-back road set against Central Division foes by visiting the first-place Jets.

New York fell to 0-2-0 on its four-game, Western Conference trek when it fell 5-0 to the Minnesota Wild on Monday.

The Jets haven’t played since Saturday, when their franchise-record, eight-game winning streak ended with a 2-0 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.

The Islanders began their trek uncertain where or if they could get some rest for goalie Ilya Sorokin, who has played in each of the past 11 games with backup Semyon Varlamov (lower body) on injured reserve.

With New York down 2-0 and having been outshot 32-13 through two periods on Monday, coach Lane Lambert pulled Sorokin for Ken Appleby, who saved six of the eight shots he faced in his first NHL action since Jan. 25, 2018.

“He had seen enough rubber,” Lambert said of Sorokin.

Lambert didn’t see nearly enough effort from the Islanders, who have lost four of five (1-4-0) and have dropped 10 of 15 (5-7-3) since a four-game winning streak from Dec. 7-13. Each of New York’s past four losses was by at least two goals.

“I didn’t think we were 100-percent committing to playing the game the right way from the start — certainly, it’s unacceptable,” Lambert said. “We got outworked and we got outcompeted.”

The skid has knocked the Islanders out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. New York has 48 points and is tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for ninth place in the conference.

The Jets will be in a much better mood despite losing in regulation Saturday for the first time in a month. Winnipeg was 12-0-2 in its previous 14 games — a span in which it briefly had the most points in the league for the first time in franchise history dating back to the founding of the then-Atlanta Thrashers in 1999.

The Jets didn’t waver in their style of play on Saturday, when they were outshot 36-35 but allowed three goals or fewer for the 32nd straight game, the fifth-longest streak in NHL history.

“Tonight we just didn’t score, it’s as simple as that,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said postgame. “A lot of pucks were just squirming around the net. We just didn’t get it in.”

Winnipeg has surrendered a league-low 96 goals this season and has a goal differential of plus-42, second-best behind the Vancouver Canucks’ plus-54 mark. The Canucks (62 points) are also the only team in the Western Conference with more points than the Jets (60 points).

“If you win eight games in a row, it’s a sign of a good team when you lose one of nine,” Jets center Gabriel Vilardi said after the loss to the Flyers. “We’re not happy here. I’m not happy. That was a game we feel we could have won and should have won.”

–Field Level Media

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