Whoever made the NHL schedule did not want the Jets to win on Tuesday January 17th. That's what I'm thinking. Why else would the Jets be playing their 3rd game in 4 days? 2 games in 2 nights? And why would the team they're playing be the one who hasn't played since they faced off against the Jets on Saturday in Winnipeg? The Devils have been doing nothing but recap that last game, a 2-1 win which witnessed a 3rd period jets collapse, and build towards the next meeting.
I am shocked, appalled and utterly discombobulated by the whole thing.
How bout that win last night, eh? Road points always taste good. Ask Coach Noel. He smiled in his post game interview. I'm not even kidding. The Jets went into the home barn of the hot of late Ottawa Senators and shut them out by a 2 to nothing margin, a pretty sweet way to end a 3 game skid. The Jets played a fairly complete game, being dominant for stretches and one could say the scoreline does not accurately describe how one sided that game was. One would be biased, but hey that's me!
Playing back to back is never simple though, what with the jets doing some late night flying, which involves that lovely little thing called clearing customs. Now, I've dealt with customs, and it's tedious. Imagine bringing a hockey team and all the personnel and baggage that go with it across in the wee hours of the morning. Gross.
Where was I...
Oh yeah, getting a point or two out of New Jersey. Methinks the biggest enemy the Jets will face is fatigue. The logical move for Coach Noel is to play Ondrej Pavelec because he should be "fresh". But Chris Mason IS coming off a shutout last night, so either way I think he has solid options between the pipes. On defense one might think that Paul Postma could slot in for someone. He'd add a right handed shot to the d-core, which only currently has Mark Flood serving in that capacity, so it might not be a terrible thing.
Calder candidate Adam Henrique looks to return from a groin injury that kept him out of Saturday's game, and would resume his place between Parise and Kovalchuk.
Keys to the Game, Player Numbers and Lineups coming at you in beautiful HD after THE JUMP
Keys to the Game:
- I looked at our bottom 2 defense pairing and gave my forehead a slap. it's no wonder the Jets have been struggling of late. No offense to the guys involved, hell Stu is my fave Jet, but wow those are not great names. All 4 are perfectly fine 3rd pairing defenders...but 2 of them have to be 2nd pairing. Eep
- I liked the top line of Kane-Little-Burmi last night. they buzz around quite nicely. Though I keep getting the "kick the dead horse" feeling and want to see Ladd's Little Wheeler and BAK in the USSR reunited. Call me sentimental, but I miss the good old days.
- Penalty kill doesn't seem to be the glaring hole it once was, and while the PP didn't score last night they came really close a few times. I'm not terribly concerned with special teams going forward. There's always room for improvement, but it could be a lot worse.
- I can't think of a player on the team that did poorly last night, which doesn't happen often. Sure there were mistakes, but players redeemed themselves to make it a very strong overall effort that they should study intensely in film sessions in efforts to replicate...it. That sentence was weird.
- Strong goaltending makes the world go round, but strong defense makes strong goaltending that much more effective. The jets only gave up a few scoring chances to Ottawa, and they all came late when the Sens were throwing everything but the kitchen sink forward in an effort to level things up.
- Faceoffs: the Jets must be practicing these a lot because for the second game in a row they were waaay better than the opposition at the dot, winning 35 of 60 last night. Mark Scheifele should take notes.
- Don't make things overly cute. The Jets played a good game of effective hockey and it paid off with a W last night. get pucks in deep, drive the net, shoot. All that jazz that players say in interviews. Why do they keep saying it? Oh yeah, because it's effective. Go to the net and good things happen. That's how the Jets scored on their first shot last night.
Jets (GP 45 21-19-5 47 PTS)
#9 Evander Kane -- #18 Bryan Little -- #8 Alexander Burmistrov
#16 Andrew Ladd -- #80 Nik Antropov -- #13 Kyle Wellwood
#15 Tanner Glass -- #19 Jim Slater -- #22 Chris Thorburn
#17 Eric Fehr -- #14 Tim Stapleton -- #20 Antti Miettinen
#39 Tobias Enstrom -- #6 Ron Hainsey
#5 Mark Stuart -- #12 Randy Jones
#29 Johnny Oduya -- #36 Mark Flood
#50 Chris Mason
I'm assuming Pavs gets the start, despite the blanking that Mason gave out. He's the number 1 going forward, and consistently plays well.
UPDATE: Mason will in fact start tonight
Devils (GP 44 25-17-2 50 PTS)
#9 Zach Parise -- #8 Dainius Zubrus -- #17 Ilya Kovalchuk
#15 Petr Sykora -- #26 Patrik Elias -- #23 David Clarkson
#20 Ryan Carter -- #16 Jacob Josefson -- #21 Mattias Tedenby
#22 Eric Boulton -- #10 Steven Zalewski -- #11 Bradley Mills
#7 Henrik Tallinder -- #29 Mark Fayne
#6 Andy Greene -- #5 Adam Larsson
#28 Anton Volchenkov -- #24 Bryce Salvador
#30 Martin Brodeur
I don't know who the starter for the Devils is anymore. Moose or Marty? Take your pick.
UPDATE: Henrique is out, Mills and Josefson are in. Brodeur in net.
Player to boo mercilessly: Chris Neil. Yup, I'm still pissed about yesterday.
Prediction: Winnipeg 2-1 New Jersey. Visiting team wins 2-1, just like Saturday.
GO JETS GO!