Despite losing to some of the better teams in the NHL, the Winnipeg Jets have shown an ability to subdue the lesser clubs so far this season. Their recent victory over the New Jersey Devils is a good example. They've been able to do this by sticking closely to their game plan, taking advantage of the team's size and speed.
The Jets will need to carry on with this style of play, in order to earn the road win against Columbus.
Things to Watch
Secondary scoring. The Winnipeg Jets need to have their top 3 lines contributing on the scoreboard. Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little head up the Jets' leading scorers. Sound familiar? The Jets need to diversify their scoring, so that other teams aren't able to key on the top scoring line. Hello Mark Scheifele, Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane. It's time to fire on all cylinders!
Be disciplined. The Jets need to cut down on the minor penalties. They are one of the most penalized teams in the league. They need to pay attention to detail, and avoid careless placement of the stick when checking opposing forwards.
Special teams. The penalty killing had been terrific until lately, but they've given up power play goals in 5 of their last 6 games. The power play has been generating shots, but not finding the back of the net. It's time for both units to put it all together.
They're better than they look. They're largely healthy now. The Jets can't afford to take them lightly. Most of their injured players are back, but Brandon Dubinsky may still be out with injury.
The Bobrovsky factor. Sergei Bobrovsky was injured earlier in the season, but he's back. His .911 save percentage isn't stellar, but he's much better than their backup goalies. He had a terrific season last year. The Jets need to get forwards in front of the net, to block his vision and disturb his solid goaltending.
Watch out for the ambush. The Blue Jackets can score, and they have more than one solid line. The Jets need to play strong team defense in order to win this game.
Player to Boo Mercilessly
Jack Skille. Actually, the Jets need to gain control of this game physically, and he's one of the players for Winnipeg to control. Boo him mercilessly.
Winnipeg wins 4-2. The fourth goal won't be an empty net goal either. I expect the Jets to start the game strong, and hold on for the win.