It truly is amazing what a few regulation wins can do for a team. After clean wins over the Sabres and the Hurricanes to start this 5-game road trip, most of the doom and gloom surrounding this team seems to have dissipated and the Winnipeg Jets have climbed right back into the thick of things in the Southeast Division and the Eastern Conference.
Sitting at 15 points with their 7-8-1 record, the Jets are actually only 2 points behind Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning for first-place in the Southeast, and are currently only 3 points behind the 8th-place New York Rangers. With back-to-back games this weekend, a strong showing and a collection of 3 or 4 points would do them a world of good. With the line of Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little firing on all cylindersThe Jets look to extend their surprising 3-game winning streak on the road as they visit the City of Brotherly Love for today's matinee., it is a possibility.
Today, the Jets visit the 'Jekyll & Hyde' Philadelphia Flyers (8-10-1, 19 points) at the Wells Fargo Center for a noon start (CST). Which Flyers team will show up? Who knows. They have put together a few great games of late, including a 7-0 shellacking of the New York Islanders and an impressive 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. But they've also laid down some stinkers, including their recent 5-2 drubbing at the hands of the Florida Panthers.
Jakub Voracek has been on fire of late, as he has 8 points in his last three games and leads the Flyers with 19 points in 19 games. Claude Giroux remains a threat as always, as he has added 9 points in his last six games.
The Flyers are one of the most injured teams in the league right now, and Ilya Bryzgalov has admitted that he's tired after playing in 17 (!) games already himself. While the Flyers are pretty good at home (4-2-1), the Jets might be catching them at a pretty good time and this could be a winnable game.
Keys to the Game:
- Hit the freakin' net: The Jets continue to miss the net at an alarming rate, and many good chances are being squandered by firing them off of the boards. The Jets will need to take advantage of either a tired Bryzgalov or the shaky Brian Boucher by making them work. That, of course, is done by hitting them with pucks.
- Keep killing those penalties: After a pretty solid stretch of penalty killing, the Jets have finally reached the 70.0% mark on the season! While that shouldn't be a reason to celebrate, recall that only a week or two below they were below 60.0%. Also recall that the percentage started getting better when Chris Thorburn was removed from PK duties.
- Get a timely save or two: Despite their injuries, the Flyers are still a very dangerous team offensively. Ondrej Pavelec has been better of late, as he's raised his save percentage to 0.896 on the season, but he will need to continue his better play if the Jets are to win another one on the road.
- Bring their 'A' game: As mentioned above, the Flyers have shown that they can play both very good and very bad games. They will need to bring their good game today if they want to beat the Jets, who appear to be feeling a little more confident in their game.
- Protect the net from "Space Danger": It appears that the Flyers have virtually no confidence in Brian Boucher, as it looks like Ilya Bryzgalov will again get tje start. Bryz leads the league for games played with 17, which is a lot so far in this shortened season. The good Bryz can win games on his own, while the Bad Bryz...
- Overcome thier injuries: Matt Read was added to the lengthy IR page for Philly the other day with muscle tears in his ribs, joining Chris Pronger, Andrej Meszaros,
Scott Hartnell(apparently he's back today), Jody Shelley, Matt Walker and Marc-Andre Bourdon. Good teams can find ways to overcome injuries, but this is a pretty hefty list.
Player to boo mercilessly:
Danny Briere. I strongly dislike that little cheap-shot artist.
Flyers 3 (S/O) - F