In what ultimately is another must-win game, the Jets face division rivals Carolina in a Sunday night tilt at the MTS Centre, with heavy playoff implications for all!
The Jets, as of press time, sat in 9th in the Eastern Conference just 2 points back of the Washington Capitals, who they will visit next Friday. The Hurricanes sit in 13th in the Conference at 71 points, still technically in the playoff hunt, but it would take a lot of help and they'd pretty much have to win their last 10 games. I don't see that happening.
However, they did beat Minnesota yesterday. Not that that's a big accomplishment as the Wild have really fallen off since Winnipeg busted their winning streak. But the 5-3 final score, after being down 3-1, suggests that the Canes still have some fight on them. We'll see how much fight they have on the limited rest they would have had since yesterday afternoon.
The Jets are coming off their most recent biggest win of the year over Southeast rivals Washington, a team that currently holds the coveted 8th and final playoff spot in the conference. Winnipeg has 11 games to catch them.
It can be done. It's not an easy task for a team with an awful road record. but a few wins here, a few Caps losses there and anything is possible.
Keys to the Game, Player Numbers and Lineups coming up after THE JUMP
Keys to the Game:
- The return of Bogo. once again I will suggest have a Boogie with Stu combination, as that would leave the other 2 pairings untouched, while putting a pairing that meshed well early in the season back together. Randy Jones in all logical worlds should be the odd man out. So naturally they'll scratch Clitty and I'll scratch my head.
- The loss of Fehr. Not the worst injury to befall the Jets, but it appears that the pesky shoulder of Eric Fehr is buggered again, so the Jets were forced to go to the farm and call up Spencer Machacek from St. John's. This will be the third game of the year for Machacek, who scored a hat trick for the IceCaps as recently as Wednesday.
- ANDREW LADD BOBBLE HEAD NIGHT! While I am surprisingly excited for this event, this should be incentive for the Jets, and the Captain in particular, to play well as they will be arming the first 10,000 fans with projectiles.
- The Canes will be without Jeff Skinner, who was suspended for yesterday's game and today's game for kicking out at Scott Nichol of the St. Louis Blues. That's a no no when you have blades on your feet.
- On a somber note, today marks the 10 year anniversary of the death of Brittany Cecil in Columbus. Brittany died as the result of a blow to the head from a puck that was deflected up over the end boards and marked the only time in NHL history that a fan was killed. The NHL has since implemented netting above the end boards in all arenas to try to avoid such a tragedy from ever occurring again. Nobody ever expects tragedy to occur when they go to a sporting event, but the harsh reality is there's always the chance it will occur.
Jets (GP 71 34-29-8 76 PTS)
#16 Andrew Ladd -- #18 Bryan Little -- #26 Blake Wheeler
#9 Evander Kane -- #8 Alexander Burmistrov -- #13 Kyle Wellwood
#15 Tanner Glass -- #19 Jim Slater -- #46 Spencer Machacek
#14 Tim Stapleton -- #80 Nik Antropov -- #20 Antti Miettinen
#39 Tobias Enstrom -- #33 Dustin Byfuglien
#6 Ron Hainsey -- #24 Grant Clitsome
#5 Mark Stuart -- #4 Zach Bogosian
#31 Ondrej Pavelec
Bogo should be back from injury, Stu avoided suspension and Winkler native Fehr has been betrayed once again by injury. And I would not be surprised if Chris Mason started as it's Carolina...and he plays them. 4 of his games this year came against the Canes. He went 3-1-0 in those efforts.
Hurricane (GP 72, 28-29-15 71 PTS)
#19 Jiri Tlusty -- #12 Eric Staal -- #15 Tuomo Ruutu
#21 Drayson Bowman -- #36 Jussi Jokinen -- #59 Chad LaRose
#14 Andreas Nodl -- #16 Brandon Sutter -- #39 Patrick Dwyer
#27 Derek Joslin -- #37 Tim Brent -- #13 Anthony Stewart
#6 Tim Gleason -- #5 Bryan Allen
#44 Jay Harrison -- #28 Justin Faulk
#4 Jamie McBain -- #24 Bobby Sanguinetti
#30 Cam Ward
Booooouuuuchhhheerrrrrr got the start yesterday so one has to assume Ward is in net tonight.
Update: Jaro Spacek got hurt yesterday in Minnesota, so a guy with a very Italian name takes his place.
Player to boo mercilessly: Eric Staal. "JORDAN'S BETTER *clap clap clapclapclap*
Prediction: Winnipeg 4-1 Carolina. Carolina is at least partially tired and without Skinner to provide the goals this could be a one sided contest.