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Jets enter California

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Jets travel from Texas to California to enter a 3 game trip to the state where they will face the formidable forces of the Sharks, Kings and Ducks.

Sharks #61 Justin Braun battle Jets #26 Blake Wheeler for the puck
Sharks #61 Justin Braun battle Jets #26 Blake Wheeler for the puck
Ezra Shaw

With just 9 games left in this NHL season the Jets sit outside 9 points outside the playoff picture.  To realistically even get close to the "dance" the Jets need to win out and it starts tonight in San Jose.  The Sharks sit comfortably in the playoff picture with 103 points already and are competing with the Ducks for the Pacific Division title.

The Jets have been riding high and low since the Olympic break with the low emphasized lately.  They have just 2 wins in the last 11 games.  On the road the Jets have not won since a 3-2 victory in overtime on the first of the month.  Backup goalie Al Montoya has just 2 wins in his last 9 appearances, most of which have taken place since starter Ondrej Pavelec has been injured.

Keys to the Game

Winnipeg Jets

1) Take Away Time and Space: The Sharks have some phenomenal playmakers in the form of Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau among others.  The Jets need to take away all their time and space to prevent them from making plays.

2) Special Teams: The Jets have struggled on the powerplay.  They need to figure this out.  And the Jets needs to shut down the formidable Sharks powerplay.  They will need to at least get even on the special teams for any chance in this game.

3) Goaltending:  The Jets will be outplayed by the superior Sharks roster.  They need their goaltender to be solid in order to have a chance to compete.

San Jose Sharks

1) Use Depth: The Jets lack depth, which is something the Sharks do not lack for.  They need to use that effectively, particularly with home ice advantage, to get an advantage.

2) Goaltending: The Sharks hold a huge advantage here with a Niemi/Stalock tandem and they should easily be able to overpower the Jets here.  However goaltending is game to game so a bad performance good ruin an easy game for them.

3) Speed: The Jets struggle greatly with a quick transition game so speed through the neutral zone can really help them take advantage of the Jets.

Player to Boo Mercilessly

Raffi Torres. He may be injured, but you should still boo him mercilessly.

Prediction

San Jose 5

Winnipeg 2