The playoffs are here and we have been pumping out previews left and right. We haven't really talked about the game yet though. The Jets enter this series as underdogs. Anaheim enters as the top team in the Western Conference. Still, these games are far from routs on paper. The Jets are live dogs!
You can check out the action live at 9:30 CST on Sportsnet or listen in on TSN 1290
Keys to the Game
Play your game. Despite the discrepancy in point totals, the Jets are a better team by many measures. The Jets posted better possession number this year. They also posted better numbers on the power play, the penalty kill and they had a higher team save percentage. All of this resulted in the Jets finishing with a better goal differential than the Ducks. If the Jets play their game, they should be good to go. If they panic, we might see some funny business.
PIM low. The Jets had a penchant for PIM throughout the regular season. NHL refs tend to let the little stuff slide in the playoffs, but this won't leave the Jets immune. Dustin Byfuglien, Mark Stuart and Jim Slater in particular need to watch themselves with the silly stuff after the whistle. No free chances for the Ducks.
The road to round two will be Pav'd. Ondrej Pavelec has been on a heater of late. The Jets need him to sustain it. Goalies win and lose games for their team. The Jets need the former - or at least an absence of the later. Please, please, please, Ondrej. Keep it rolling please.
Put pucks on Pav. Ondrej Pavelec is on a roll, but he will be coming off a long break. In the past, this has been bad for him. The Ducks would be wise to put pucks on Pav early and look for possession behind his net. If they can make him chase the puck early, they increase the odds of a W.
Rat it up. Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler are big time poop disturbers. They are great at getting opponents off their game. The Jets have a few players that bite on this kind of dangling fish hook. If the rats can drag the Jets into retaliating, they will earn some free power plays.
Exploit the youth. The Winnipeg Jets' second and third lines are centred by 22 year olds. Their roster also features a big-minutes 21 year old on the blue line. These kids are good, but they will be getting their first taste of NHL playoff action tonight. They may be ripe for a rattle.
Player to Boo Mercilessly
Corey Perry - Always boo Corey Perry