WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Mathew Barzal said he’s still looking for his game. The Winnipeg Jets might disagree.
Barzal scored two power-play goals in the second period and Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves in the New York Islanders’ 3-1 victory over Winnipeg on Thursday night.
“I’m just trying to play my game,” Barzal said. “I’ve got pretty good linemates, so I’m just trying to feed them a little bit as well. The chemistry has been pretty good. I’m just trying to find my game still, just day by day just trying to get better.”
New York coach Barry Trotz has pressed Barzal to shoot more.
“He’s shooting the puck way better,” Trotz said. “We talked about it last year, sort of being a dual-threat and not always a pass-first guy. He changed a lot of things this summer and that was one of them.”
Josh Bailey scored into an empty net on another power play with 27 seconds left in the third period to cap New York’s third straight victory and seal Winnipeg’s third loss in a row.
“We were obviously slow out of the gates and we really relied on (Varlamov) early to keep us in the game,” Bailey said. “He made some tough saves, some timely saves and really just gave us a chance to get going and get back into the game and obviously shut them down when we needed it at the end.”
Nikolaj Ehlers had a power-play goal for Winnipeg and Connor Hellebuyck made 23 saves.
“It’s not going for us right now,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. “Obviously, scoring one goal, you’re not going to win many games that way. I thought we did enough offensively to win the game. I thought ninth game in 15 days, I still thought we carried most of the play and were the better team. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
The Islanders didn’t get their sixth shot until 7:41 of the second period — and it was a power-play goal by Barzal that tied it 16 seconds after Dmitry Kulikov went to the penalty box for tripping.
Barzal broke the tie with 17 seconds remaining in the second period.
Ehlers scored in the first period.
“Listen, we’re not sitting back in these games,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. “We’re not defending a 1-0 lead from the second period on. It’s not a function of us not having a killer instinct.”