The Winnipeg Jets are set to open what will be a busy weekend schedule tonight. The Jets will host the Washington Capitals both tonight and tomorrow along with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday. While the Jets are currently ranked firmly ahead of both teams their opponents aren't out of it, so the Jets will be hoping to deliver a couple kill shots.
The Washington Capitals are not a great hockey team. Some would suggest they really really kinda suck. The Capitals are currently ranked 29th in points and 24th in Fenwick close. The Capitals are also tied for the league lead in regulation losses. None of those number are good. There is little doubt that the Caps are well on their way to another top ten pick, but they are still a dangerous team.
The Jets enter tonight's game on a bit of a roll. They have won four of their last five games. The Caps on the other hand have dropped five of their last seven. Will those trends continue?
Keys to the Game:
Keep On Keeping Ondrej: Ondrej Pavelec is currently on one of the best runs of his career. Historically he has followed great months with duds. This can't happen if the Jets want to continue their playoff push. If Pavi has another strong showing, it will go a long way to ensuring a victory.
Draw!: Work hard, hustle and draw some penalties! While the Jets powerplay has struggled, the Jets have had great success in games where they win the special teams battle. Even if they aren't going to score on the powerplay, the man advantage should help them limit the Capitals weapons.
Roll 'em: Noel was finally able to roll 4 lines versus the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. Reinserting Alex Burmistrov into the lineup meant the Jets fourth line could actually control the play. The Jets outshot the Bruins 5-1 with Chris Thorburn on the ice. If the 4th line can have similar success against the Caps, it will help Noel roll four lines and keep his players fresh for the weekend.
The only thing special about this team is special teams: The Capitals may stink at 5 on 5, but they are still a deadly bunch on the powerplay. The Caps are going to need some help from their special teams if they want to pull out a win tonight.
The not so special side of special teams: The Caps have a deadly powerplay, but they are getting killed by their penalty kill. The Caps are only killing 75.9% of their penalties, that is the second worst total in the league. Who wins at special teams may be as simple as who takes the most penalties.
Battle hard: Their season is only 60% through, but the Capitals are already long shots to make the post season. This team needs to continue to battle simply to avoid the wrath of the MSM. Ovi hunting seems to be a mainstay in the media, his heart was already questioned when they were winning, what will they say if the team falls completely out of the playoff picture?
Player to Boo Mercilessly:
Eric Fehr - Now you score? What's up with that Eric?!
Washington 0 - F
Pavelec is beyond due for a shutout and the Capitals stink.