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Game Day Preview: Winnipeg Jets Host Detroit Red Wings and maybe Pavel Datsyuk?

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Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, the Winnipeg Jets welcome a surging Detroit Red Wings team to the MTS Centre. The two teams enter tonight with an identical 23 points in the standing, though Detroit got there with two fewer games played. Detroit is 5-2-3 in their last ten games, while the Jets are 6-2-2 and playing some of their best hockey since relocation to Winnipeg

Puck drop is at 7pm central time.  The action can be viewed on TSN3 or heard to on TSN 1290.

Keys to the Game

Winnipeg Jets

1) Find a PP. The Detroit Red Wings are one of only five teams in the league that boast a better PK percentage than the Jets, but unlike the Jets, the Wings actually score some goals when they earn a man advantage. Getting behind the eightball on special teams is something the Jets can't afford. Scoring a PP goal will help them saw off or win in this regard.

2) A goal of goals. After struggling to score all season, the Winnipeg Jets were forced into a line jumble and the early returns have been positive. Winnipeg's hockey team has scored six goals in their last four periods of hockey. Regardless of whether it was luck or a legit change in strategy that cause the outburst, it must continue if the Jets are to pile up a few more wins.

3) A well supported back end. The Jets have been superb this year in terms of shot suppression. They currently rank sixth in the NHL, allowing just 27.9 shots against per night. To date, the goalies have been great as well, but Jets tenders won't be able to carry the team every night. Another strong showing in terms of shot suppression will make things easy on the Jets tender and hopefully lead to a win.

Detroit Red Wings

1) Dat guy. Pavel Datsyuk is an awesome hockey player. Pavel Datsyuk set to be a gametime decision. If he plays it will be a big boost for the Wings. If he sits, somebody will have to step up. It is as simple as that.

2) Deep six. Lucky for Detroit, they have an extremely deep roster. They are better equipped to handle the loss of a top six player than the Jets. To that point, the Red Wings have six players with 10 or more points this year, the Jets have just three.

3) Sharing is caring. A nice plus to having a deep team is the fact that the Wings can roll four lines and they do with regularity. They also get special teams contributions from everybody, with only two players logging less that 1:46 of special teams time nightly. This should help keep the Wings fresh. There is also a good change that they can find favorable matchups when the Jets' 4th line hits the ice.

Player to Boo Mercilessly

Jimmy Howard is a good goalie. Get him!!

Prediction

Jets 4

Wings 3