Winnipeg Jets Costly Loss to New York Islanders Hurts Playoff Chances

Anthony CapocciContributor ISeptember 14, 2016

WINNIPEG, CANADA - FEBRUARY 7: Ondrej Pavelec #31 of the Winnipeg Jets blocks a shot on goal during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in NHL action at the MTS Centre on February 7, 2012 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
Marianne Helm/Getty Images

Still in the hunt in the wide-open Eastern Conference playoff race, the Winnipeg Jets fell at home to the New York Islanders by the score of 3-1.

An uncharacteristic loss on home ice could prove to be a huge blow to the Jets playoff hopes. The Jets have to be near-perfect at home—where they obviously play their best hockey anyway—to keep any hope alive.

Tonight, it just didn't go their way. Though the Jets looked to be distinctly better in this one, the Islanders capitalized on their chances, which propelled them to victory.

The Jets played a solid game overall but scoring troubles haunted them once more. Chris Thorburn scored the first goal of the game to give the Jets an early lead, but the Jets failed to strike twice.

The scoring woes continue to be a burden. The shots were widely in favor of the Jets, but Islanders netminder Evgeni Nabokov shunned away 37 of them.

Dustin Byfuglien was the most prominent player in the game and logged a whopping 28:13 of ice time. He looked much better after his disappointing outing in Pittsburgh, but he couldn't come through on the scoreboard.

Nik Antropov's lack of production opened up a spot for him on the fourth line. Alex Burmistrov was promoted to a more offensive role on the second line with Evander Kane and Kyle Wellwood.

The Islanders took advantage of their lone power play while the Jets went 0-3—a department where the Jets continue to struggle.

The Islanders came into this game just four points back of the Jets and surprisingly only eight points out of a playoff spot. They left Winnipeg two points closer to the playoffs.

On the other hand, the loss for the Jets is just another setback that will pose questions to the management in the coming weeks.

GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will have to start thinking about where his team stands and whether or not they will be buyers or sellers come February 27.

The Jets have veteran pieces which they would be able to move if Cheveldayoff indeed decides to.

The Jets will be back in action on Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.