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Tuesday night thriller, as Isles soar past Jets: 3-2

The New York Islanders (11-14-6) were in a Tuesday night thriller, winning their second consecutive shootout victory, in a 3-2 decision over the Winnipeg Jets (15-14-4). The Danish Prince Frans Nielsen broke out his patented backhand shot for the second straight extra session, to help the Isles earn two points.

This was the first time the Isles have played in Winnipeg since March 9, 1996, while also serving as a homecoming for blueliner Travis Hamonic.  The defenseman finished with an assist, a plus-one rating, along with seven blocked shots and five hits in the game.

New York played a fast-paced game, as well as standing-up for each other as Kyle Okposo defended a hit on Nielsen at the 3:54 mark of the first period.  Frans returned to the ice later on in the period, and making a dramatic game-winning shot later on in the game.

The Isles opened up the scoring, as P.A. Parenteau connected for the first goal at the 8:17 mark on beautiful passing from Matt Moulson (10) and John Tavares (16).  Winnipeg answered back as Nik Antropov (5) deflected home a booming shot by Johnny Oduya (7) at the 18:00 mark.

New York took their second lead of the game, when Michael Grabner (10) banged home a rebounded shot taken by Winnipeg-native Hamonic (6) who recorded a career-high 28:56 minutes of ice time.  Before the Isles could skate away feeling good, Winnipeg responded with a goal by Andrew Ladd (11) at the 9:46 mark.

In what was two scary moments for Islanders fans in the last stages of play, the team lost both keeper Al Montoya and winger David Ullstrom to injuries in the second and third periods respectively.  Montoya was lost with 1:20 on the scoreboard, as he was run into by one of the Jets players.

Ullstrom left the game in the third period, as an inadvertent collision with the arm of Jets Andrew Ladd knocked the rookie out of the game. There have been no reports on the severity of either players’ injuries, or how much time both men are expected to miss.

Coming into the game for the Islanders in the cage was Evgeni Nabokov, who saw his first playing time since November 17. ‘Nabby’ returned to the team after suffering a groin injury in December, making 19 saves.

For the Isles it is the sixth time that they have changed keepers, with four of those due to the injury bug. There is a very good chance that ‘Nabby’ will now man the cage until Montoya makes his return.

The Isles and Jets were scoreless after the overtime frame, needing a shootout to decide the winner. This is when Nabby really shined, as Winnipeg shooters Blake Wheeler and Kyle Wellwood tried every fake in the book to no avail.

New York found success as Parenteau connected on a high-shelf shot for the 1-0 lead, combined with the Nielsen patented backhand shot for the shootout victory.

It will be the Battle of the Big Apple on Thursday night, as the Isles head to Madison Square Garden on Thursday to take on the Rangers. The Isles/Blueshirts game will be televised on the MSG family of networks, with face-off scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

Written on December 21, 2011

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