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Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild

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This season’s setback could lead to next season’s set-up.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

With a Jets team defense decimated by injuries and suspensions, the club was at a major disadvantage going into the final game prior to their bye week. But, the team found a way to be competitive, and at times, advantageous over their opponents, as the game was tied 4-4 going into over time. As the extra time progressed, the Maple Leafs scored and took the game and two points 5-4. This left the Jets with 1 point for their play off hopes.

The Jets have played 63 games so far this season, more than any other team. But, as the Jets finish their aforementioned bye week, things get themselves sorted out a bit, not to the Jets advantage. The schedule obviously continued, and none of the teams the Jets are chasing hit a untimely losing streak, as the Kings, Flames and Predators hit their strides and gained points in the standings.

Although the hopes and dreams of a play off spot remain slim at best (15.41% of making the playoffs according to Moneypuck.com), as the Jets return to home ice on Tuesday, Feb. 28th, it is also Trade Deadline Eve, and my gut tells me the Jets are going to stand pat. We’ll see, but this shouldn’t be time to wallow in what could have been, but more of a time of what could be next season.

Today’s opponents are the Minnesota Wild, who are coming off a 5-4 OT win against the Los Angeles Kings last night. The Kings now sit 3 points ahead of the Jets in the standings...

NHL.com

Who: Winnipeg Jets (28-29-6 for 63 pts) vs Minnesota Wild (40-14-6 for 86 pts)

When: 7:00 pm CST

How: TSN3, TSN1290, FS-N, KFAN 100.3

Projected Lineups:

Winnipeg Jets:

Nikolaj Ehlers -Bryan Little - Patrik Laine

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele- Blake Wheeler

Shawn Matthias - Adam Lowry - Joel Armia

Chris Thorburn - Nic Petan - Drew Stafford

Julian Melchiori - Dustin Byfuglien

Ben Chariot - Josh Morrissey

Mark Stuart - Paul Postma

Connor Hellebuyck

Micheal Hutchinson

*Toby Enstrom & Ondrej Pavelec will be a game day decision.

*Marko Dano & Andrew Copp are scratches, but will likely see action later in the week.

*Jacob Trouba is serving the second game of his 2 game suspension.

*Tyler Myers is still out with a LBI.

*Lineup subject to change, as the trade deadline is tomorrow.

Minnesota Wild:

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund

Erik Haula - Martin Hanzal - Charlie Coyle

Nino Niederreiter -Eric Staal - Ryan White

Chris Stewart - Tyler Graovac - Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Gustav Olofsson - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

*Lineup subject to change, as the mumps is currently affecting the team and trade deadline is tomorrow.

For more info and tidbits on today’s opponents, check out Hockeywilderness.com.

For more info on the NHL trade deadline deals and rumors, check out SB*Nation’s Trade Tracker page.

3 Questions:

1. Will the following question finally be answered...can Hellebuyck continue to play up to the level of confidence the team, the coaching staff, and the management of the Winnipeg Jets have in Pavelec? With this being the last game for the Jets before the trade deadline, Hellebuyck essentially needs one more solid performance. If there was ever a time for Hellebuyck to make the statement that he’s #1, now is the time, as Jets brass could then use the deadline to work the phones to shop for a potential new suitor for potential UFA Pavelec.

2. Can the Winnipeg Jets maintain it’s disciplined play and not allow the other team to secure a valuable power play opportunity?

3. Can the Winnipeg Jets become a consistent defensively minded team?

Player to watch:

Winnipeg Jets: Connor Hellebuyck - The spotlight is on you, kid!

Minnesota Wild: Devan Dubnyk - The once castaway has become the Wild’s crease chieftain.

Prediction: Jets 3-2.