Sizzling Jets top slumping Islanders

Neal Pionk and Mason Appleton scored in a span of fewer than three minutes late in the second period Tuesday night for the host Winnipeg Jets, who beat the skidding New York Islanders 4-2.

Gabriel Vilardi opened the scoring in the first and Kyle Connor added an empty-netter with 1:22 left in the game for the Jets, who have won nine of 10 (9-1-0). Goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves as Winnipeg allowed three goals or fewer for the 33rd straight game, tying the 1950-51 Toronto Maple Leafs for the fourth-longest streak of in NHL history.

Anders Lee scored both goals for the Islanders, who have lost the first three games (0-3-0) of a four-game Western Conference road trip to fall to 5-8-3 since Dec. 15. Goalie Ilya Sorokin recorded 40 saves.

The Jets took the lead 9:41 into the first, when Josh Morrissey’s shot from the blue line was redirected by Adam Lowry and Vilardi before the puck trickled into the net.

The Islanders tied the score in similar fashion with 4:07 left, when Mike Reilly’s shot from the blue line glanced off the stick of Lee and fluttered under Hellebuyck’s glove.

Pionk put the Jets ahead for good in unusual fashion with 4:41 remaining in the second. Sorokin stuck out his right leg to deflect a shot by Cole Perfetti, but the puck broke the blade on Sorokin’s stick. The goalie managed to turn back a rebound attempt by Vladislav Namestnikov, but Namestnikov collected the puck and began the sequence that ended with Pionk firing a shot beyond Sorokin’s extended stick as he was stuck on the ice, unable to get up.

Sorokin’s skate also factored into Appleton’s goal 2:39 later. A shot by Dylan DeMelo was deflected by Sorokin and glanced off Dominic Toninato before Appleton tapped it in off the goalie’s skate for his first goal since Nov. 18.

Lee scored on an angled shot from the goal line 35 seconds into the third, but the Jets outshot the Islanders 13-11 in the period and ended New York’s comeback hopes when Connor scored an unassisted goal shortly after Sorokin was pulled.