Jets making most of home-heavy stretch
The Winnipeg Jets have been a much better team while playing the majority of their games at home this month. They've also done a good job of beating their next opponent over the last few years.
Winnipeg continues its home-heavy schedule Tuesday night when it looks to defeat the New York Islanders for the sixth time in seven meetings.
The Jets (15-13-4) began a stretch of playing 13 of 15 at home with a 6-4 loss to Ottawa on Nov. 29, but have won six of eight overall since — including 6-1-0 at the MTS Centre.
Winnipeg, 11-5-0 on its own ice, bounced back from the only home loss during that span — 1-0 to Washington on Thursday — to beat Anaheim 5-3 on Saturday.
Defenceman Zach Bogosian had a goal and two assists, Kyle Wellwood had a goal and an assist and Blake Wheeler, Alex Burmistrov and Andrew Ladd also scored for the Jets.
"We got ourselves another win," Jets rookie head coach Claude Noel said. "I wouldn't say it was the prettiest win, but we got a win and that's what good teams do."
Bogosian has scored in two of the last three games after not finding the back of the net in his first 29 contests.
"When it rains it pours," he said. "But hopefully, they keep going in.
"I hit the post earlier in the season a bunch of times. Any time you can chip in offensively is always a good feeling."
Bogosian didn't score when Winnipeg visited the Islanders (10-14-6) on Nov. 3, but he was part of a defence that stifled New York in a 3-0 win. The Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise is 5-1-0 in the last six meetings after dropping the previous four.
Ondrej Pavelec made 34 saves, and Evander Kane and Johnny Oduya each had a goal and an assist in last month's meeting. Kane, who leads Winnipeg with 15 goals and 25 points, will be trying to avoid tying a season-worst five-game goal drought.
The points he had in the last matchup were his first against the Islanders in nine career meetings.
Pavelec is expected to return to the net after Chris Mason made 33 saves against the Ducks. Pavelec had lost three of five starts with a 3.45 goals-against average versus the Islanders before blanking them last month.
He will be facing a New York team that is still struggling to score. The Islanders are last in the Eastern Conference with 69 goals and have scored three times in regulation over the past two games.
New York, though, avoided a fifth straight loss with a 2-1 shootout win over Northwest Division-leading Minnesota on Saturday in the opener of a three-game trip.
Al Montoya made 20 saves and stopped all three of the Wild's shootout attempts to help New York earn its first extra-time victory in seven attempts this season.
"You did have that feeling when they tied it, that here-we-go-again type thing," coach Jack Capuano said. "We battled. I give our guys a lot of credit. They stuck to the game plan."