Winnipeg Jets @ Washington Capitals Game Preview: No Seriously...THIS Is The Most Important Game Of The Year



*takes a deep breath*

*puts on a brave face*

The Jets are not out of playoff contention yet! Sure that's about as likely as me winning the 50/50 when I go to the rangers game next week, but one has to be optimistic. The Jets sit in 10th place, a mere 5 points back of 8th place Washington with a whopping 9 games to play. A regulation win puts the boys in Polar Night Blue 3 points back of the Caps and with a game in hand. A win tomorrow night against the Predators (Pekka Rinne looks mortal right now) and just like that the gap is one point and any sequence of flukes can see the Jets get into the post season.

The Jets would have to do a couple things they aren't known for though:

  1. Win on the road
  2. Win a back to back game
  3. Win consistently

Not the easiest recipe in the world, but still possible. And while taking the #greatesttankbattles route might seem like the logical path to take, I am one of the opinion that you win as many games as you can in a season and let management take care of the dirty laundry in the off season.

Speaking of back to back games and winning on the road, the Capitals played last night in a contest that had to be solved by everybody's favorite skills competition. They lost, with Braden Holtby ending up SOL.

The Jets most recent game featured a team that was much better than them and if I were a betting man I would not pick to win the Stanley Cup.

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

Keys to the Game:

  • Take a lead and keep it. Believe it or not the Jets were actually winning the debacle in Pittsburgh at one point, before being comepletely outwitted, outlasted and outplayed. I know after a bad set back like that that everything is dark and bleak, but this team is still capable of beating Washington. Going into this game the Jets lead the season series 7 points to 5, with a 3-1-1 record to show against the 2-2-1 record of the Caps.
  • Win faceoffs. The Jets aren't great at the dot on the best of days, but they're really bad on the road. Winning draws, especially when on special teams, can be all the difference in a game.
  • Evander Kane: you're not at 30 yet. Let's try an change that tonight.
  • Mark Stuart: You're a big boy. You can protect yourself against Brooks Laich and company. Though, in wake of this bounty hunting thing in the NFL, maybe one shouldn't be openly threatening to go after a player? pretty sure that's premeditated assault if you do.
  • The boys from the AHL were actually amongst the best Jets on the ice last game. Ben might have been right about Machacek after all...

Lineups

Jets (GP 73 34-31-8 76 PTS)

Forwards

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

#9 Evander Kane -- #8 Alexander Burmistrov -- #13 Kyle Wellwood

#15 Tanner Glass -- #19 Jim Slater -- #20 Antti Miettinen

#14 Tim Stapleton -- #49 Ben Maxwell -- #46 Spencer Machacek

Defencemen

#39 Tobias Enstrom -- #33 Dustin Byfuglien

#6 Ron Hainsey -- #4 Zach Bogosian

#5 Mark Stuart -- #24 Grant Clitsome

Goaltender

#31 Ondrej Pavelec

Eric Fehr is still out. Those d pairs saw 8 goals allowed so I wouldn't doubt Randy Jones is slotting back into the lineup.

Capitals (GP 74 37-30-7 81 PTS)

Forwards

#8 Alex Ovechkin -- #21 Brooks Laich -- #20 Troy Brouwer

#25 Jason Chimera -- #85 Mathieu Perreault -- #28 Mike Knuble

#23 Keith Aucoin -- #83 Jay Beagle -- #90 Marcus Johansson

#42 Joel Ward -- #26 Matt Hendricks -- #15 Jeff Halpern

Defencemen

#44 Roman Hamrlik -- #52 Mike Green

#6 Dennis Wideman -- #27 Karl Alzner

#55 Jeff Schultz -- #74 John Carlson

Goaltender

#30 Michael Neuvirth

If anyone knows why Alexander Semin and Dmitry Orlov didn't play yesterday I'd love to know.

Player to boo mercilessly: Do you really have to ask?

Prediction: Winnipeg 4-3 Washington. Somehow the hockey gods will smile on us on this day.

GO JETS GO!

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