Well, well, well, as the grand pappy of the AIH writing staff it sometimes takes me a few months to work up the gumption to put virtual pen to paper. And what a few months it's been. The Winnipeg Jets have gone from rolling along nicely before the all star break to falling off a cliff, and then clawing their way back again after shipping Evander Kane off to the town that fun forgot in Buffalo.
Now the Jets are in a flat-out dog fight for the last playoff spot in the west, and the Jets' deadline additions up front and the re-emergence of Tyler Myers have the team on a roll once again. In seasons past the current injury list would've devastated the Jets and we'd be facing another tragic March implosion, but now due to Kevin Cheldayoff's Mantis style GM-FU we've added much-needed depth to a roster that, when healthy, could be set up to do some damage.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
It would be remiss of me if I didn't point out that the dreaded Edmonton Oilers (AKA the team I loath with the intensity of a thousand white hot suns) have taken the Jets to extra time in their last three outings. The Jets have an undistinguished history of playing down to the Oilers' level, and the young talent of the Oilers' offense just love to dismantle the Jets' defense.
Keys to the Game
Lock it down and keep locking it down. The Jets with the addition of Myers and a new commitment to defense from the forwards have been pretty stingy in their own end. Keep the neutral zone a no mans land and snuff out the young guns on the Oilers before they get a chance to dangle.
Ondrej Pavelec keep on paving. That used to mean something bad, now it means something good again. Pav is looking to get his job back on it shows, with amazing acrobatic saves and a bit of an edge to his game he's making a statement; I aint going back to the bench ever again.. EVER AGAIN.....
Mark Scheifele, keep on shooting. The young centre has been winning battles and sniping peanut butter off the top shelf lately. Keep it up and we may just score more goals than the Oilers.
Stay out of the box! It's been working lately keep it up because these guys would like nothing more than to start a Jets parade to the box.
Forget your place in the standings and catch the Jets sleeping. The Jets seem to either have a hard time taking the Oilers seriously or they just can't figure out how to contain the young guns on the Oilers as effectively they should. As always the truth is probably somewhere in between.
Put on your track suits. The Jets haven't completely forgotten about their fire wagon hockey days under coach Christmas and they sometimes yearn for that painful past. The Jets at times can be lured into a track meet, at which point it becomes a game of keep away in their own end at times. Stretch these guys out, break out the run N gun, and trade chances. Why not? what have you got to lose? Definitely not as much as the Jets.
Agitate. On that nothing to lose theme, you might as well get under the Jets skin keeping in mind they just love to take ill timed penalties.
Player To Boo Mercilessly
Nail Yakupov, because he loves to tauntingly wave goodbye.
Jets: 5 Oilers: 4
For the Jets there's potential for tragedy on the Yellowhead, for the Oilers there might be an opportunity to reclaim some dignity after serving time in the tank wars.