The Jets once again venture out on the road and find themselves playing on back to back nights. It would be sublime for them to pick up 4 points, but realistically I think 2 might be pushing the boundaries of their capabilities. The Sens are playing top notch hockey these days, and the Jets lost to the Devils as recently as Saturday, so neither of these games look to be easy.
But if you fancy yourself a playoff team then these are the points that you need to take: away games against conference opponents. Loss of points only widens the gap between us and a playoff spot. I know it's only January, but seasons can be lost earlier in the season. When it comes down to the final few days of the season, where every point matters, having a few extra points in January can make all the difference in the world.
The Sens are coming off 3-2 shootout WIN to Montreal at the Bell Centre, managing to pick up a couple away points against an Eastern Conference and Divisional rival. The Jets should strive to do likewise.
The Jets need to play a complete game of hockey. their two most recent performances, both at home, have shown glimmers of promise but ultimately leave the home fans dissapointed. The Jets have too often in recent days turned it on cruise control in the 3rd period only to see other teams blow by them. That stings for the fans, and I sure hope it stings for the players too.
Losing wouldn't be so bad if they hadn't shown us that this team is capable of playing at a higher level than what they currently are.
Keys to the Game, Player Numbers and Lineups after THE JUMP
Keys to the Game:
- Road points are hard to come by for the Jets, it would seem, so picking some up here would be just dandy.
- Scoring: where has it gone? Guys like Antro, Kaner, Wellwood and Burmi need to start producing again.
- Beware the Sens Weapons: Michalek and Spezza have been dynamic so far this year, and they are a tandem that must be shut down if the Jets are to come away with anything
- Stay healthy: easier said than done
- Traffic in front: this goes hand in hand with shots on goal. Redirections and rebounding are just as imortant as shooting. If the goalie is continuously allowed a clear line of sight, odds are he makes the save.
- Better decisions. The Jets continuously find themselves at their mercy of their own mistakes. Repeatedly failing to escape the zone, and the inability to break into the offensive zone effectively come to mind. Stupid offensive zone penalties are also poor decisions. Needlessly putting your team at a disadvantage is a good way to take the wind out of the sails in a hurry.
- While you might look at the numbers of the goaltending department and say they're not up to stuff this year, you might be right, but then you haven't been watching Pavelec keep the Jets in games with saves like this:
Pretty spiffy, eh?
Jets (GP 44 20-19-5 45 PTS)
#50 Chris Mason
Wouldn't mind seeing Paul Postma see some action in the next two days either. It's not like Randy Jones has been dominant.
Silver Seven (GP 46, 25-15-6 56 PTS)
#41 Craig Anderson
I still fail to see how Ottawa is as good as they are. I mean, they have good pieces, but there are some holes in that lineup too.
Player to boo mercilessly: Milan Michalek. Alfie is good in my books, as is Spezza, so I pick on their leading goal scorer.
Prediction: Winnipeg 3-2 Ottawa. A boy can dream, can't he?
GO JETS GO!