Series (Game 2 of 4)

Winnipeg leads 3-1

Game 1: Sunday, November 21st
Game 2: Saturday, December 11th
Game 3: Tuesday, February 1st
Game 4: Thursday, March 24th

Jets 5

(16-11-3, 35 pts)

Islanders 4

(5-17-5, 15 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 11, 2010

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

1 2 3 T
WPG 0 1 45
NYI 1 1 24

J. Oduya (Jets - D): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

R. Schremp (Islanders - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

B. Little (Jets - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Thrashers-Islanders Preview


While the New York Islanders continue their lackluster season, the Atlanta Thrashers seem poised to make their first playoff appearance since 2007.

Earning points against cellar-dwelling teams like the Islanders may help make the Thrashers' goal more attainable.

Atlanta looks for its second win against New York this season Saturday night when it begins a three-game road trip on Long Island.

The Thrashers were swept in the first round by the New York Rangers in the franchise's lone postseason appearance. Currently eighth in the Eastern Conference, each point will be helpful in their attempt to return to the playoffs.

Another victory against the Islanders would be a good start.

Dustin Byfuglien scored the game-winner and added an assist in the Thrashers' 2-1 overtime victory Nov. 21 against the Islanders, who at the time lost their 13th consecutive game.

The Thrashers' win was the second in a franchise record-tying six-game winning streak and part of a stretch in which Atlanta (15-11-3) has won eight of 10. Byfuglien has 14 points during that span, including an assist in the Thrashers' 4-2 loss Friday to Colorado.

Coach Craig Ramsay said a three-day layoff may have contributed to Atlanta's sluggish play. The Thrashers, who rank near the bottom of the NHL giving up 34.7 shots per game, were outshot 16-5 in the first period and 29-26 overall.

"It was the first time in a long time we had a few days off between games, and we didn't react well," Ramsay said. "As the coach, I have to take a lot of the blame. Whether we practiced too hard or whatever, we were just not ready."

Niclas Bergfors and Bryan Little scored, and Ondrej Pavelec made 25 saves for Atlanta, but goaltender Chris Mason will make his first start since Nov. 14 on Saturday.

Mason is 6-5-1 with a 3.90 goals-against average this season, but he's 2-1-0 with a 1.95 GAA lifetime against New York.

The Islanders (5-16-5) have lost four straight and 18 of 19, including a 5-2 defeat Thursday against Boston. New York has scored two or fewer goals in 15 of their last 17 and are last in the NHL with 15 points.

Second-year forward John Tavares has one goal in his last eight games, and Rick DiPietro is 1-5-2 with a 4.00 GAA in his last eight starts. To make matters worse, the Islanders are 0 for 39 on the power play over the last 12 contests.

"The frustration builds when you lose, period," DiPietro said. "It doesn't matter how close or how. One goal, 10 goals -- a loss is a loss."

It's unclear whether DiPietro or 41-year-old veteran Dwayne Roloson will get the start, but each has had success against Atlanta. DiPietro is 6-3-2 with one tie and a 2.45 GAA in his career, while Roloson is 7-0-1 with a tie and a 2.99 GAA.

The Islanders have won their last two home games against the Thrashers.