By David Kolb
NEW YORK ISLANDERS (14-15-6) @ WINNIPEG JETS (17-18-3)
NEW YEARS IN THE PEG
The New York Islanders look to end 2016 on a winning note after having their three-game winning streak snapped on Thursday in Minnesota, falling 6-4. A visit to Winnipeg might be just what the Isles need, as they have registered a 6-0-1 record in their last seven visits to MTS Centre. Meanwhile, the Jets fell 5-3 to the streaking Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday, snapping their two-game winning streak.
The Islanders surprisingly placed Jaroslav Halak, who was 62-38-13 as an Islander, on waivers Friday afternoon. Halak owned a 6-8-5 record this season, with a 3.23 goals against average and a .904 save percentage. The Isles will now rely on Thomas Greiss and J.F. Berube to share the workload the rest of the way.
LADD BACK HOME
Andrew Ladd skated and was a fan-favorite for four and a half seasons in Winnipeg, up until the trade deadline last season when he returned to the Chicago Blackhawks. Ladd tallied 246 points in 348 games in Winnipeg while serving as the Jets’ captain. Ladd has been playing his best hockey of the season lately, as he carries a three-game point streak into Saturday’s game.
LAINE WORN DOWN?
Rookie Patrik Laine has quickly become a star for the Winnipeg Jets, as he has fired home 19 goals with 11 assists for 30 points in 38 contests. The second-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft has only one assist in his past four games while missing practice on Friday, indicating that perhaps some fatigue has set in for the 18-year old youngster.
Isles’ defenseman Thomas Hickey recorded two assists for the second straight game on Thursday. He now has five points in his past four contests. Hickey is enjoying a strong season, as he has three goals and eight assists for 11 points and owns a plus-2 rating through 35 games.