So the Jets return to the friendly confines of the MTS Centre after a disastrous showing in Detroit that saw them get tubthumped 7-1 on Saturday night. Normally I don't endorse indulging in alcohol to numb one's pain, but after that game it was all but mandatory. Let's just pretend that didn't happen and continue our home winning streak, shall we? Alright let's do this thing.
The Jets return to the MTS Centre, where they are winners of 4 straight. The Wild are coming off a 4-1 win over Phoenix Saturday night.
Now of all the teams going in the NHL right now, there are two that seem too good to be true: those no good stinking Florida Panthers....and the Wild. Both teams are doing way more with what they've got than what they should be. Minnesota has been victimizing other teams with stellar goaltending which keeps their goals against low and keeps them in games. They aren't blowing teams away with offense, because if Cal Clutterbuck is your 3rd highest goal scorer you likely aren't burning out the goal light every night.
Sooner or later this thing has to crash and burn. I nominate tonight as the starting point.
Keys to the Game, Player Numbers, Lineups and my continuing respect and admiration after THE JUMP
Keys to the Game:
- Remember last game? Forget it. There are no positives to draw from that performance so move on.
- Ondrej Pavelec has shown he is capable of much better performances than the one he turned in Saturday, so I'm not terribly concerned about him. Unless we're talking about rebound control...
- Blake Wheeler needs to shoot more. He has 7 shots in his last 5 games. I know he leads the team in assists, but you can also get assists by shooting. Rebounds are awesome that way.
- Win the battles along the boards, win the faceoffs. The rest gets a lot easier if you do those things.
- Injuries: Hopefully Buff is back to 100% after the awkward fall he had last game. If not, there is help on the horizon. Ron Hainsey, Tobias Enstrom and Eric Fehr all took practice with the blue full contact jerseys on Monday.
Jets (GP 29 13-12-4 30 PTS)
#9 Evander Kane -- #18 Bryan Little -- #26 Blake Wheeler
#16 Andrew Ladd -- #13 Kyle Wellwood -- #48 Carl Klingberg
#15 Tanner Glass -- #19 Jim Slater -- #22 Chris Thorburn
#41 Jason Jaffray -- #14 Tim Stapleton
#5 Mark Stuart -- #4 Zach Bogosian
#29 Johnny Oduya -- #33 Dustin Byfuglien
#6 Ron Hainsey -- #36 Mark Flood
#12 Randy Jones
#31 Ondrej Pavelec
UPDATE: Miettinen slots in, Antro Out. Hainsey in, and though I haven't heard officially the most likely candidate for him to replace is a banged up Buff.
UPDATE AGAIN: So Burmistrov is also out, and Buff sounds like he's good to go. If Miettinen arrives in time I think he gets a spot on the 4th line tonight, because intercontinental flights and big minutes don't match. I'd see Jones sitting out in that case. If Miettinen isn't an option I see 7 defenders going
UPDATE...LAST TIME I SWEAR: I have since looked at the roster and realized my proposed roster with Miettinen is both impractical with him off-continent, and also against NHL roster rules as he would bring the roster to 24 men. the only option is 11 forwards and 7 defenders.
Not sure how far away people are on the injury front. Also worth noting Buff and Antro didn't practice on Monday.
Tame (GP 30, 20-7-3 43 PTS)
#22 Cal Clutterbuck -- #9 Mikko Koivu -- #15 Dany Heatley
#17 Casey Wellman -- #14 Darroll Powe -- #96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard
#48 Guillaume Latendresse -- #21 Kyle Brodziak -- #25 Nick Johnson
#18 Colton Gillies -- #27 Cody Almond -- #16 Brad Staubitz
#55 Nick Schultz -- #2 Mike Lundin
#6 Marco Scandella -- #46 Jared Spurgeon
#4 Clayton Stoner -- #5 Greg Zanon
#32 Niklas Backstrom
Clutterbuck should return from injury. He hits people a lot. He also has 8 goals on the year, but I guess a few of them bounce in off you when you play with Koivu and Heatley.
UPDATE: Latendresse returns from concussion while Cullen is out sick.
Player to boo without mercy: Dany Heatley. There are many reasons not to like him. "He was a Thrasher" is not a reason to like him. Not anymore.
Prediction: Winnipeg 2-1 Minnesota
Low scoring game, where I chew off my fingernails. Looking forward to it. This is a rivalry that should blossom quite nicely next year.
GO JETS GO!