As trade-deadline drama unfolded all around them, the Islanders
were a focused bunch and received full marks for a 3-2 overtime
victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
Right winger Michael Grabner scored on a breakaway, his 12th goal of
the year, at 3:53 of overtime for the Islanders (24-32-8).
Grabner squeezed through a pair of Winnipeg defenders — Zach
Bogosian and Jacob Trouba — raced in alone on goaltender Ondrej
Pavelec and made good on a shot to the low blocker side.
Left winger and captain Andrew Ladd scored twice in regulation, his
16th and 17th goals of the season, including the tying goal with
just over five minutes left in the third period for Winnipeg
The Islanders, winners of just three of their last 10 games, could
have just mailed this one in but did not on the eve of the NHL trade
Absent from the roster was expert shot-blocking blue-liner Andrew
MacDonald, the club's assistant captain, who was dealt to the
Philadelphia Flyers earlier in the day. Meanwhile, shifty left
winger Thomas Vanek was purposely kept out of the lineup in
anticipation that he will be traded Wednesday.
Grabner said there was definitely a different vibe in the dressing
room prior to the opening faceoff.
"Of course, it's weird. (Vanek) came to the rink with us and then
he's told he's not playing. It changes things around," Grabner said.
"But we did a great job of focusing on not letting this stuff
"I don't really try to think about it. I've been traded before. I've
been on waivers. It's business. You can't really influence what
happens. You have to just stay in the moment, day by day, and after
(Wednesday) we'll be all done with it for at least a couple of
New York left goaltender Evgeni Nabokov on the bench and went with
little-used Anders Nilsson between the pipes. He entered the game
with just one win in eight starts, but put in a solid performance
under difficult circumstances.
"Everyone has to be pros. We can't let that affect us, but obviously
it's sad losing teammates," said Nilsson, who made 36 saves. "It's a
part of hockey. But I think we answered back and battled through it,
so I'm happy.
"You have to be in your own bubble, for every guy. You can't let
that affect you. Everyone knows it's the trading deadline. But we
still have a job to do, to play hockey, good hockey."
Islanders' coach Jack Capuano said he was impressed by the grit and
determination shown by his club.
"Most guys know that this time of year is difficult, but I thought
we were focused, we were ready, against a big, strong hockey team
that's playing really well," said Capuano.
"It was difficult. I've been around Andrew (MacDonald) a long time
and watched him grow in this league. He's been a great player for
us, a great team guy and a great friend to a lot of guys, so it's
tough the first game without him. And obviously Thomas has been with
us since the start of the year. We all know it's a business, and
every guy will tell you that we wish him the best of luck, both of
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With the point, the Jets are 7-2-2 in their last 11 games, and
11-3-2 since Paul Maurice took over as head coach in mid-January.
Winnipeg is battling the likes of the Dallas Stars, Vancouver
Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators for the final
wild-card spot in the Western Conference, so even a point on home
ice was huge Tuesday.
"I thought we came out tight, but we battled back and got a lot of
chances and found a way to get it to overtime," Ladd said. "I think
we'll take the positive of getting one point and move on."
With the clubs playing four-on-four hockey, Ladd took a pass from
center Olli Jokinen at center ice and broke in alone on Nilsson,
firing over the young netminder's right shoulder with just 5:07 left
in the third period to knot the game at 2.
Right winger Colin McDonald, with his fifth goal of the season, and
center Anders Lee, with his third, scored singles for the Islanders.
Pavelec stopped 24 shots for Winnipeg.
The Islanders continue a swing through Western Canada with games in
Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in the next six days.
The Jets host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night and the Ottawa
Senators on Saturday afternoon.
"(The effort was) not good enough to get a win, but it was good
enough to get a point," offered Maurice. "We'll learn how to handle
this. No one's going to sulk. We'll go out and play a hell of a game
NOTES: The game was the 16th of Paul Maurice's tenure behind the
Jets bench, but more significantly it was the 1,100th of his NHL
head coaching career. Entering Tuesday night, he had compiled a
career record of 471-460-168 with the Hartford Whalers, Carolina
Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Jets. ... The Isles were coming
off two home losses after dropping a 6-1 decision to New Jersey on
Saturday and falling 5-3 to Florida. New York came into the game
just 2-7-1 in its last 10. ... Winnipeg ranked fifth in the league
in penalty-kill efficiency (84.6 percent), hits (1,747) and blocked
shots (961) going into Tuesday's action. ... Jets GM Kevin
Cheveldayoff is a former first-round pick of the Islanders (16th
overall in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft). ... Islanders LW Matt Martin
came into the game as the NHL leader in hits with 275. That is
nothing new for the 24-year-old, who has led the league in each of
the last two seasons. ... G Ondrej Pavelec has won four games this
season when facing 40 or more shots in the Winnipeg net. ...
Islanders D Travis Hamonic of St. Malo, Manitoba, served a one-game
suspension on Sunday after he was assessed a game misconduct for
instigating a fight in the final five minutes of Saturday's game
with the New Jersey Devils. In the process, he tied a franchise
record for penalty minutes in a period, registering 32 in the third.
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