Islanders return home aiming to extend Jets' slide

    9:40 AM, Apr 2, 2013   |    comments
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    (Sports Network) - The New York Islanders collected six of a possible eight points on their recent road trip to stay right in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

    A three-game slide by the Winnipeg Jets is making things a bit tighter atop the Southeast Division.

    The two playoff-hopeful clubs meet Tuesday evening on Long Island.

    The Isles wrapped their four-game swing on Monday night with a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. That kept the Islanders tied with the Rangers for the eighth spot in the East, though the Blueshirts have a game in hand, and both clubs now sit just two points behind the Devils for the seventh seed.

    Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves in the win over the Devils, while Josh Bailey scored 52 seconds into the game and Travis Hamonic also tallied in the opening period. John Tavares put home a power-play tally at the 9:13 mark of the third period and is second in the NHL with 22 goals.

    "When you win it's always fun and everyone was chipping in tonight," said Nabokov. "I think that when you're winning, it's because everyone is doing the little things."

    The Jets will try to heed that advice and avoid their first four-game slide of the season. They got first-period goals from Zach Bogosian and Nik Antropov on Monday night versus the Rangers, but were dealt a 4-2 setback.

    Ondrej Pavelec gave up all four goals on 35 shots in the loss.

    "We just couldn't keep playing the way we did to start the game," said Winnipeg forward Olli Jokinen. "They just kept pressing and pressing and we didn't respond to it."

    Winnipeg has been outscored 11-3 over its slide and leads Carolina and Washington by four points for first place in the Southeast Division. The Hurricanes and Capitals, who are tied for 10th in the East, both have games in hand over the Jets and play each other on Tuesday night in Carolina.

    The Jets snapped a three-game slide to the Islanders with a 5-4 home victory in overtime on Jan. 27. New York scored three times in the first 9:53 of the third period to go up by two goals, but Winnipeg got tallies from Dustin Byfuglien and Alexander Burmistrov 65 seconds apart to force overtime. Evander Kane then put home the winner 1:59 into the extra frame.

    Tavares, who has a goal in five of his last seven games, scored and added two assists in the loss for the Islanders.

    Kane also had an assist in the meeting, but has just two goals and four points in 13 career games versus the Islanders.

    The clubs have split the past six meetings on Long Island.

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