When the Winnipeg Jets meet the Ottawa Senators at the MTS Centre, at 7:00 tonight, they will likely have more of their veterans playing. The preparation for the regular season is well underway.
As Coach Paul Maurice noted when he took over as head coach last winter, this team has great speed. With regulars like Kane, Scheifele and Wheeler anticipated to be in the lineup, this game should be a great test for the coach's "aggressive speed" game plan.
- It looks like Evander Kane will play with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler tonight. The Jets' fortunes this year may depend on their level of success. In a recent interview, Paul Maurice expressed interest in how they would perform together defensively, as well as offensively. If the Jets can have a couple of lines generating an edge in scoring chances - like Adam Lowry's line did last night in Edmonton - that should make things very interesting this year.
- If Mathieu Perrault plays tonight, he'll be someone to watch. (He shook off a slight injury late in last night's game). He looked terrific against the Oilers, on the line with Lowry and Michael Frolic. They controlled the puck, hemmed the Oilers in their own end, and generated great scoring chances.
- Adam Pardy played a strong game last night. He's certainly made a statement to the coaching staff, with the quality of his play. He had one defensive lapse on a penalty kill situation, but other than that, he was really solid.
- I'm hoping to see Zach Bogosian play with fire in his eyes, like he did in the first preseason game.
- I'm concerned about the Jets' defensive play, including the ability of the defence corps to stop forwards on the rush. They seem to be allowing players to get through the defensive zone a little too easily. Preventing breakthroughs on the rush might be a key to the game for the Jets.
- Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson will likely share the duties in net tonight.
- Most of the top players are making the trip for the Senators. However, Erik Condra, Milan Michalek, Marc Methot and Eric Gryba are injured. Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur are not likely to make the trip. But we should get a good sense of this 2014-15 Ottawa Senators team tonight.
- Some of the more well-know players should be on the ice tonight - David Legwand, Chris Neil, Bobby Ryan, Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Phillips and Erik Karlsson.
- Young guns to watch include Curtis Lazar, Matt Puempel and Buddy Robinson.
- Robin Lehner will be starting in net, with support in relief by Craig Anderson.
Player to boo
Chris Neil can be an agitator. I think that could qualify him for some "love" from the MTS faithful.
Well, I'm 100% so far with my predictions - 1 for 1. (Talk about your small sample sizes!). I predict the Winnipeg Jets will break out with the kind of aggressive game that coach Paul Maurice has been preaching. Look for some impressive speed and forechecking from the Jets, with a 4-2 win.