Game Preview: Jets face Wings for First Time Since '96 Playoffs


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The Winnipeg Jets play the Detroit Red Wings for the first time since the April 28, 1996 when the Wings eliminated the Jets from the playoffs and sent them packing for Phoenix.

The last time the Jets played in Detroit was April 26, 1996, which they won 3-1 on goals from Dave Manson, Darrin Shannon and Alexei Zhamnov. Those are not the names the Jets should expect offense from tonight, but it's interesting trivia.

The Jets are coming off a 4-2 win last night against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Red Wings beat up on the Jets 1.0 on Thursday by a score of 5-2, putting there record at 17-9-1.

The Wings are lead in scoring by Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk, who will not miss time after a lower body injury kept him out of practice Friday. The Jets will have to be on form to prevent him from doing anything Datsyukian.

Ondrej Pavelec gets the start for the Jets tonight, and his 10-9-4 record with a 2.99 GAA and a .906 Save Percentage goes up against that of Jimmy Howard and his 16-6-1 record, 1.89 GAA and .930 Save Percentage. The numbers suggest that Howard is mucho better than Pavs, but if you look at the quality of shots defenders in front of the respective goalies, you might understand why.

Keys to the Game, Player Numbers and Lineups after THE JUMP

Keys to the Game:

  • Battle of the Goalies: Pavelec versus Howard. i fully expect both to play well, and it will be up to the other players to determine the outcome.
  • Datsyuk must be kept in check. But ignoring the likes of Franzen, Zetterberg and Filppula would be a really bad mistake.
  • 2 power play goals last night helped ease my concerns about special teams...for now.
  • Fatigue: The Jets are coming off a game last night, which means they did some flying between then and now. Luckily the trip was only to Michigan and not Florida so it wouldn't have been as bad as it could have been, but I still think the Jets will be hard pressed to garner a good result out of this game.
  • Injuries: The Jets have played their last two games without having to face the opposing team's top scorers. This will not be the case tonight.
  • Top line production: 6 points from the Kane-Little-Wheeler line last night was sweet. Gotta look for more tonight. Antropov should be returning tonight as well, which should boost the Ladd-Antro-Wellwood line.

Jets (GP 28 13-11-4 30 PTS)

Forwards

#9 Evander Kane -- #18 Bryan Little -- #26 Blake Wheeler

#16 Andrew Ladd -- #80 Nik Antropov -- #13 Kyle Wellwood

#15 Tanner Glass -- #19 Jim Slater -- #8 Alexander Burmistrov

#41 Jason Jaffray -- #14 Tim Stapleton -- #22 Chris Thorburn

Defencemen

#5 Mark Stuart -- #4 Zach Bogosian

#29 Johnny Oduya -- #39 Dustin Byfuglien

#12 Randy Jones -- #36 Mark Flood

Goaltender

#31 Ondrej Pavelec

Gets played strong for 50 then eased off against Carolina last night. hopefully that was an attempt to save some gas for Detroit, because if they do that against the Wings it'll be over quickly.

Motown (GP 28 17-9-1 35 PTS)

Forwards

#93 Johan Franzen -- #13 Pavel Datsyuk -- #44 Todd Bertuzzi

#51 Valtteri Filppula -- #40 Henrik Zetterberg -- #26 Jiri Hudler

#11 Danny Cleary -- #43 Darren Helm -- #41 Chris Conner

#20 Andrew Miller -- #8 Justin Abdelkader -- #96 Tomas Holmstrom

Defense

#5 Nicklas Lidstrom -- #18 Ian White

#55 Niklas Kronwall -- #52 Jonathan Ericsson

#23 Brad Stuart -- #4 Jakub Kindl

Goaltender

#35 Jimmy Howard

A lot of talent in that lineup. Doesn't mean they can't be beaten, doesn't mean they won't smoke us like a salmon. Just means they paid 5 million more this year than we did. Which actually isn't that much.

Player to boo without mercy: Todd Bertuzzi. I've never really gotten over what he did to Steve Moore.

Prediction: Winnipeg 2-4 Detroit. I have my doubts that travelling to the Joe on no rest produces any points for the Jets. Luckily there are 6 straight home games after this one to make up for it.

Here's hoping I'm wrong.

GO JETS GO!

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