Just as the Winnipeg Jets were beginning to establish themselves as a consistent defensive team, they have lost their top pairing for a month. Everything is new again and fans have no idea what to expect.
Tonight's game starts at 7:00. It can be seen on TSN and heard on TSN 1290.
Keys to the Game
Everything is new!! New line combos. New defensive pairings. Heck, even some new players and new positions. Everything is new, familiarity will be gone in many spots. It will be important for the Jets to mind their systems and keep their positioning tight. They can't surprise each other any more than the circumstances have forced.
Much Hutch. The newness mentioned above may lead to breakdowns and that is where Hutch comes in. If the Jets defense breaks down, Hutch needs to bail them out. He has done an excellent job of this so far, but this is no time for a let down.
Haili and a pair of 21s. Adam Lowry and Mark Scheifele are good young hockey players, but neither has proven capable of carrying a line. Historically, Matt Halischuk has required serious defensive support. It would be nice if these guys scored, but it is more important that they stay above water. Getting hemmed in the D zone, especially with these pairings, would be bad.
Ride the right wing. The Winnipeg Jets left defensive side features Mark Stuart (who prior to Paul Maurice was a career 6th defenseman), Ben Chiarot (2 NHL games played) and Adam Pardy (a long time, part time NHLer). This is a vulnerability. None of these dude are fleet of foot. Attacking this side with speed should open opportunities for the Avs speedy wingers.
First goal wins! Well, not really, but scoring early would help the Avs. Colorado is playing on the second night of back to back games and they may gas. If they gas before the get a lead, things could be ugly.
Some other... third thing. I am mailing it in. It is Friday.
Player to Boo Mercillessly
Boo the hell out of Semyon Varlamov.
Jets 4, Avs 3. Even with all these injuries, the Jets may still have the better defensive group.