It’s the eve of Trade Deadline Day and while the Winnipeg Jets are likely not to make any major moves - the players will be looking to prove their worth to management. The New York Islanders are already sellers. They have dropped two in a row and sit dead last in the Metropolitan division.
Keys to the Game:
Stay hot. The Winnipeg Jets are one of the hottest teams in the league having won 11 of 15 since Paul Maurice took over the team as head coach. The team has found ways to win and will need to continue to do is they wish to make their playoff dreams a reality. A quick start, along with scoring the first goal would quickly energize the Jets faithful and electrify the MTS Centre. This could prove to be important as a Tuesday night game against a Tavares-less Islanders team likely won’t be a playoff-like atmosphere.
Stay out of the Box. The Jets are the 7th most penalized team in the NHL and they found themselves in the box six times against the Nashville Predators. Although the Jets’ penalty kill has been great, a continued parade to visit the time keeper will eventually result in goals against.
MVPavelec. Ondrej Pavelec has been solid as of late and he will need to continue to provide his team with solid play between the pipes if the Jets are going to continue their push to make the playoffs. The Jets will need to continue to help their goalie with a continued commitment to team defense, but timely saves and an ability to make the easy saves should go a long way in helping the Jets pull out a victory.
Silence the crowd. The Winnipeg Jets are returning home and are in a battle for the final wild card spot of the Western Conference, putting the pressure on the Jets defense and putting shots on goal could lead to a Islander goal and a quiet building.
Score some goals. Let’s face it, you can’t win without goals. And without their captain and leading scorer in John Tavares the Islanders will need to lean on others to step up and provide some offense. Watch for Kyle Okposo and Thomas Vanek as they have an ability to put the puck in the net. Duh! .
Don’t get distracted. The Islanders are not making the playoffs this year and are going to be sellers before the trade deadline. Jack Capuano will have to do his best to keep his team focused on tonight's game and avoid distraction from the doom and gloom of the inevitable changes that are about to occur in their locker room.
Player to Boo Mercilessly
Kyle Okposo – He put Zach Bogosian on the shelf with a concussion last year after a questionable hit. While he has the same name as me, I can’t support any Kyles that don’t wear a Jets uniform. #ImissWelly