WINNIPEG, MB. - It was the end of a three-game road trip right before Christmas and the Winnipeg Jets mirrored their holiday situation in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.
The Jets fell behind 2-0 early in the first period, tried to battle back and still lost 5-2 to the New York Islanders in their final game before the Christmas break.
Despite the loss, Jets head coach Paul Maurice made no excuses.
“The natural state in the National Hockey League is fatigue,” Maurice told nhl.com after the game. “You're always tired; that's just the way the schedule is. We weren't good enough to win the game tonight.”
Mathew Barzal scored his first NHL hat-trick while Jordan Eberle dished out three to pace the Islanders. Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier scored the other Islanders goals.
Tucker Poolman scored his first NHL goal to make the score 2-1 in the first period, but it was all Islanders after that. Adam Lowry scored late in the third period for Winnipeg to make the score 5-2. Steve Mason made 24 saves in the Jets net.
The Jets finished their three-game road trip through Nashville, Boston and Brooklyn with a record of 1-1-1. Winnipeg will head into the Christmas break with a record of 20-11-6, good enough for third in the Central Division, two points back of first-place St. Louis and one behind second-place Nashville.
On Saturday, the Jets outshot the Islanders 40-29, but Jaroslav Halak had a strong game in the New York net.
The Jets will now have Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day off and will play again next Wednesday at Bell MTS Place at 7 p.m. against the visiting Edmonton Oilers. The Islanders will meet the Jets again, this time in Winnipeg on Friday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m.
Scott Taylor, The Manitobas Post
Photo by James Carey Lauder