It didn’t take long for the Winnipeg Jets and New York Islanders to begin making up for lost time — and lost points.
A pair of lengthy point streaks will be on the line Saturday night when the Jets host the Islanders in the first game between the teams in more than two years.
The Jets extended their streak to eight games Friday night by cruising past the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1. The Islanders pushed their run to six games Thursday by beating the host Montreal Canadiens 6-2.
The Jets tied their season high for largest margin of victory Friday night, when Paul Stastny opened the scoring a mere 47 seconds after the opening faceoff. Winnipeg, which carried a 4-0 lead into the third period, has allowed three goals or fewer in six of the past seven games, and two goals or fewer in three of the past four.
The Jets’ 14 points (6-2-2) are the most through 10 games since the franchise relocated from Atlanta following the 2010-11 season.
“I think we’re still very excited about where we could get to here,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said Friday night. “There’s still lots to learn. There’s still lots of development to happen. We’re playing with a lot of different things. I like the way we’ve played.”
Like the Jets, the Islanders started 0-2-0 before building a rhythm — a task heightened by starting the season on a franchise-record, 13-game road trip while the team’s new home, UBS Arena, is completed.
New York has given up just eight goals in its past six games after surrendering a combined 11 goals in losses to the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers — who are a combined 18-0-1.
While goalie Ilya Sorokin has a pair of shutouts to wrest the full-time starting job away from Semyon Varlamov, the story for the Islanders on Thursday night was their offense.
Brock Nelson produced the first four-goal game by an Islanders player since Kyle Okposo did so on Jan. 16, 2015. The middle two lines combined for all six goals and 13 points, with Oliver Wahlstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scoring the other goals and Anthony Beauvillier collecting three assists.
“I have seen us play at our best,” coach Barry Trotz said of the Islanders, who have made consecutive trips to the NHL semifinals. “We’re not close to our best yet. Hopefully, we get in a rhythm and get four lines going. Today we had three. A few games back, we had two.”
The back-to-back set is the first of the season for the Jets, who were 5-3-0 in the second game of a back-to-back set last season.
The Islanders, who are slated to play at Minnesota on Sunday, are beginning their second back-to-back set. Sorokin recorded shutouts Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 when New York beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-0 and then the Vegas Golden Knights 2-0.
The Jets and Islanders last played Oct. 17, 2020, when New York completed a season sweep with a 3-1 win in Winnipeg.
–Field Level Media