NEW YORK (AP) – Mathew Barzal scored three times, Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves and the New York Islanders beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-2 on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Barzal scored twice in the first period after Anders Lee got New York on the board 1:31 into the game. Barzal finished his first career hat trick with his 12th goal at 11:22 of the third.
The Islanders (19-13-4) had dropped two in a row and four of five. Defense has been an issue of late, with New York allowing three or more goals in 10 of its first 11 games this month.
New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) controls the puck against Winnipeg Jets center Andrew Copp (9) in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
But Halak was able to smother the high-flying Jets, who have one of the best records in the league. He allowed a first-period goal to rookie defenseman Tucker Poolman and a third-period score by Adam Lowry while improving to 10-8-2 on the season.
With Winnipeg’s Brandon Tanev in the penalty box for tripping, Lee picked up his 22nd goal of the season. Josh Bailey assisted on the score, extending his point streak to eight games.
Barzal made it 2-0 at 2:20 with a shot that eluded Jets goaltender Steve Mason. After Poolman responded with his first career goal, Barzal restored New York’s two-goal margin with his 11th this season at 19:24. Barzal leads NHL rookies with 35 points.
New York’s Anthony Beauvillier added his fourth goal of the season at 15:01 of the third.
At 20-11-6, the Jets still have their best record heading into the Christmas break since they relocated from Atlanta to Winnipeg in 2011. The Jets were a league-best 9-3-2 in November but are 5-5-2 in December.
The Islanders are 4-6-2 this month. The only other December game they allowed less than three goals was a 3-1 win over Washington.
NOTES: The Islanders improved to 11-3-3 at home and 12-1-0 when scoring first. … The Islanders are 28-5-6 all-time at Barclays Center against Western Conference opponents. … The Islanders are 9-1-0 on Saturdays this season. … The Islanders announced before the game that defenseman Calvin de Haan will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury suffered in overtime against Los Angeles on Dec. 16.
Jets: Host Edmonton on Wednesday.
Islanders: Host Buffalo on Wednesday.
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) controls the puck in front of New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Winnipeg Jets right wing Blake Wheeler (26) battles for the puck with New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
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