GameDay Preview: Winnipeg Jets hope to keep things upbeat versus St. Louis Blues

Dilip Vishwanat

Back to back games have long been the bane of Ondrej Pavelec, but he is a no go for tonight and we get to see Monty. Can he roll back to back. The Blues are a big test.

The St. Louis Blues have the best record in the NHL, the Winnipeg Jets don't. Despite having visibly improved their play after a mid-season coaching change, the Winnipeg Jets talent level has kept their record in around the .500 mark under Paul Maurice. The reason for the stumbles varies from night to night, but such is the plight of a shallow squad.

The Blues on the other hand are a deep squad with a load of capable scorers. They also have arguably the best and deepest defensive unit in the league and a world class goaltender. They are a tough out, but the Jets have played them well this year. Can they do it again? Can they prolong their smidgen of playoff hope? Suppose there is only one way to find out.

Keys to the Game

Winnipeg Jets

#WallMontoya. After a solid showing last night (1st goal aside), Al Montoya will go back to back. It is well documented that most goaltenders struggle back to back, but the Winnipeg Jets don't really have a choice tonight. While Michael Hutchinson has been great in the AHL, it wouldn't be fair to the kid to make his first NHL start the second outing of a back to back - versus the league's best team. Monty needs to be a wall.

20-20. Both Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien have been surging of late - both skaters are sitting at 19 goals on the season. Twenty is a nice number. How about they both get to twenty? Sounds like a plan. Yep.

High On Speed: The Winnipeg Jets' speed has given the Blues trouble in the past. As the roster is currently constructed, there is some high end speed on each of their three lines - can their speed be a difference maker again.

St. Louis Blues

Man up. St. Louis has had one of the league's strongest powerplay units all season and the Jets are prone to sloppy penalties. If they can get up a man and get a goal - odd of winning go way up.

Get up and grind. The Blues grind on teams and wear them out. With the Jets playing for the second time in two nights they'd be wise to make them work early. Put pucks into the corners early and battle away.

Miller time. Ryan Miller has been a beast all season. He was a beast behind a Buffalo team that allowed 34.8 shots against again per game (2nd worst in the league). He is a beast behind a St. Louis team allows 26.4 shots per game (2nd lowest). Miller is no longer forced to steal games and he is more than capable, but he needs to remain stout as the Jets can score.

Player to Boo Mercilessly

Maxim Lapierre - Boo this man!!

Prediction

Jets 3

Blues 2

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