The Winnipeg Jets' season is all but over, but this game is not without intrigue. Of course, there is the Teemu factor and the Jets' roster has some major question marks coming into tonight. Three players have been called up to visit the big club in Michael Hutchinson, Ben Chiarot and Zach Redmond. None of this trio will be enjoying their first stint with the Jets and to a degree are know commodities, but the intrigue is based on not knowing who they are up to replace.
Zach Bogosian has been out for a while. Keaton Ellerby appeared to get banged up and the situation with the Winnipeg Jets tenders is a complete mystery. Is this about injury? Is this about evaluation? Is there a broader conspiracy? One way or another, I plan to throw on a tin foil hat, a Teemu Selanne jersey and drink 76 beers tonight. Who's with me?
Keys to the Game
Pride and Milestones. The Jets don't have much to play for at this point beyond pride and personal bests, but they can't let their team game slip. Coach Paul Maurice and General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff are in evaluation mode and both will want to see progress of the team game. Milestones are fun, but pride is in the details.
Defensive depth? There has been a ton of talk over the last couple seasons about the Winnipeg Jets defensive depth. This was always a bit puzzling and this year has proven it to be little more than a myth. With Dustin Byfuglien playing at forward, Grant Clitsome out for the year and Zach Bogosian yo-yoing on and off injured reserve the Winnipeg Jets have been dressing bottom pairing D men well up the depth chart. Who will play tonight? Don't know, but whoever it is MUST play well.
Wheels keep spinning. Blake Wheeler has been white hot of late. He has been carrying the Jets offensive game. With Mark Scheifele out, depth scoring is an issue. The big dawgs need to carry the mail of mixed metaphors.
Team Teemu. Who gives a cluck what the Ducks do tonight. Tonight's game will be about Teemu Selanne for many Jets fans. If they Ducks score, please let Teemu do the scoring.
Cog the neutral zone. Andrew Cogliano is a very good hockey player. He makes darn near a billion smart plays per game and many of them come in the neutral zone. The neutral zone often gets the Jets into trouble as well. Don't be surprised if Cogliano takes advantage of a ill timed Mark Stuart pinch or perhaps an overzealous Jacob Trouba rush to create and odd man situation.
Can't Parry Corey Perry. All around good guy Corey Perry is on pace to score 40 goals for the second time in his career. He and Ryan Getzlaf have dominated the opposition this season. They are hard for anybody to match up against. If they manage to beat up on the Winnipeg Jets line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Michael Frolik a win is all but assured. More big play from the big guns will keep the big wins coming.
Player to Boo Mercilessly
Corey Perry is a troll, let's troll him back.