Tonight, Tonight: Jets return to the Hangar to Punish the Panthers



Once again another chapter gets added to the majestic history between the Winnipeg Jets and the Florida Panthers. Bitter rivals since May, the Jets took the first meeting between these squads 4 to 3 in Shootout on Halloween. You may remember that game as thousands of Florida fans showed up dressed as empty seats. Well needless to say the atmosphere will be a lot different as 15,004 people pack inside the MTS Centre for another game, though as of 10 p.m. CST there are 20 tickets available on ticketmaster. But that's still way more than Florida! 

The Jets return to Winnipeg after a 7 game road trip saw them accumulate 8 points and a 3-2-2 record on the trip that pitted them against Southeast and Atlantic Division opponents. And Buffalo. 8 points out of a potential 14 isn't bad, but the Jets surely wanted more. It wasn't always pretty on the road, as penalties and sloppy play saw big leads squandered far too often but this season is still young and there is plenty of time to improve, even if your name is Dustin Byfuglien.

Keys to the game and lineups after the jump.

Keys to the game:

  • STOP TAKING PENALTIES: We can argue that there were some soft calls called against the Jets on Tuesday, but there is still no need to be taking stupid penalties in the offensive zone. I count 4 from Andrew Ladd alone in the past 2 games that were completely needless and of the demoralizing variety. There is no reason to be taking penalties while on the power play. Buffalo was able to score 4 power play goals but I really don't want to fault the PK unit or the goalie too much, because it's not their fault these penalties were taken.
  • Power play goals: Going 1 for 5 against Buffalo isn't exactly stellar, but buffalo has one of the best PK's of the season thus far. And you know what that means? That's right, next to nothing because the sample size is too small. But if the Jets can increase their productivity and decrease 2 on 1 shorthanded goals then progress should be made.
  • Dustin Byfuglien: Which Bustin' will show up? The one who stared at goal number 2 go in and set up a 2 on 1 the other way for Buffalo? Or the goal scoring, big hitting force to be reckoned with we want him to be that showed up in periods 2 and 3 in Buffalo? Let's hope for the latter.
  • Ladd's Little Wheeler: Please sir, I want some more. That was a much better showing for the former top line combining for 5 points as Slump Over Day was a huge hit. now if Wheeler can get a couple in the net then all will be good in the universe once more.
  • BAK in the USSR: Looked unlucky not to find the score sheet on Tuesday, look for them to continue their scoring ways
  • Festerling and Flood: Has anybody noticed that these guys aren't NHL regulars? Because their play since filling in due to injury has been quite good. So long as it continues it will be difficult to send them back down.
  • Jack Skille: Can you say "Bullseye"?

Jets (GP 15 5-7-3 13 PTS)

Forwards

#9 Evander Kane -- #80 Nik Antropov -- #8 Alexander Burmistrov

#16 Andrew Ladd -- #18 Bryan Little -- #26 Blake Wheeler

#15 Tanner Glass -- #19 Jim Slater -- #13 Kyle Wellwood

#23 Kenndal McArdle -- #14 Tim Stapleton--  #22 Chris Thorburn

Defencemen

#29 Johnny Oduya -- #39 Dustin Byfuglien

#5 Mark Stuart -- #4 Zach Bogosian

#53 Brett Festerling  -- #36 Mark Flood

Goaltender

#31 Ondrej Pavelec

Ben Maxwell was put on waivers Wednesday, Chris Mason may or may not be on the bench and Eric Fehr has got to be back sooner rather than later. I thought he'd beat Crosby back to action but I might be wrong there.

 

Kitty Cats (GP 14 7-4-3 17 PTS)

Forwards

#14 Tomas Fleischmann -- #9 Stephen Weiss -- #32 Kris Versteeg

#19 Scottie Upshall --  #13 Mike Santorelli -- #82 Tomas Kopecky

#16 Marco Sturm -- #57 Marcel Goc -- #12 Jack Skille

#20 Sean Bergenheim -- #18 Shawn Matthias -- #22 Matt Bradley

Defencemen

#51 Brian Campbell -- #52 Jason Garrison

#7 Dmitry Kulikov -- #43 Mike Weaver

#55 Ed Jovanovski -- #4 Keaton Ellerby

Goaltender

#60 Jose Theodore

The Panthers, like the Jets, are scoring by committee so no one particular player jumps out at you, but one has to be mindful of the Howitzer that Jason Garrison is capable of unleashing at the point. 3 of his 5 goals come on the power play so the Jets will need to stay out of the box to avoid that weapon.

New Player Nickname: Johnny "That'll" Oduya

Player to boo without mercy: Jack Skille. I don't have to tell you why.

Prediction: Winnipeg 5-2 Florida. After sleeping in their own beds for the first time in a while I'm looking for the Jets to lay a whooping here and send a message to their division rivals that we are not a team to be taken lightly.

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