Dating back to the 2007-08 season, the Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers have had their hands full when visiting the Montreal Canadiens at the Centre Bell. In their past ten trips to the province of Quebec, the Jets have struggled mightily, winning only three of those games while being outscored by fifteen goals (40-25) in those contests.
2011-12 stops to La Metropole proved fruitless for the Jets, who were drubbed in in their two games by finals of 7-3 and 3-0 respectively. In a lockout-shortened season with little margin for error, the Jets effort-level will have to be better than those of years past -- particularly in situations like these -- should they not want to be on the outside looking in at the 2013 NHL playoffs.
If Winnipeg hopes to turn their fortunes in Montreal, the first step will come when they take to the ice later tonight. Both teams are coming off three game win streaks and one team will extend that to four after the dust settles tonight. But the Jets can't afford another slow start, especially not against Carey Price -- a goaltender currently on top of the league in SV%.
For the Habs, they already find themselves jockeying for points in the standings, trying to keep pace with the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators in a rough-and-tumble Northeast Division. The Jets too have high stakes in this game as they have the opportunity hold serve with the Tampa Bay Lightning before both teams lock horns later this week.
Though Winnipeg posted a 14-21-5 record away from home last year, there has been optimism surrounding the team's maturity this year, especially when factoring the additions of Olli Jokinen and Alexei Ponikarovsky to the roster.
But will there offensive additions be enough for the Jets' franchise turn a new leaf in Montreal tonight? Or will the ghosts of the Centre Bell have their way yet again?