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Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild

The Winnipeg Jets find themselves retracing their steps

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

3 steps forward, 1 step back. These aren’t the instructions on how to do the tango, but the recent playoff waltz as performed by the Winnipeg Jets. A 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks was followed up by a 5-3 win against the St. Louis Blues. This was then proceeded with a 4-3 win against the Dallas Stars, but then the momentum stopped cold and dead in it’s tracks. The Jets lost to the Colorado Avalanche, 5-2 in a Saturday afternoon match up. How could this be? The Jets laid waste to 3 of the top teams in the Western Conference, only to bow down to one of the worst. The team defense showed cracks that would make the ice in the old Winnipeg Arena envious. As a result, the Winnipeg Jets still find themselves retracing their steps with some tough trekking yet to go and 4 points out of a wild card spot.

Tonight’s match up and test isn’t going to be easy, as the Winnipeg Jets welcome the Western Conference leading Minnesota Wild to town. The Wild are coming off a 6-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

Who: Winnipeg Jets (25-26-4 for 54 pts) vs Minnesota Wild (34-12-5 for 73 pts)

When: 7:00 pm CST

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

Projected Lineups:

Winnipeg Jets:

Nikolaj Ehlers -Bryan Little - Patrik Laine

Andrew Copp- Mark Scheifele- Blake Wheeler

Shawn Matthias - Adam Lowry - Joel Armia

Mathieu Perreault - Nic Petan - Drew Stafford

Josh Morrissey - Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom - Jacob Trouba

Mark Stuart - Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Connor Hellebuyck

*Thorburn is scratched

*Tanev has been sent down to the Manitoba Moose

*Dano & Chariot have started skating again, but are a few games away from returning.

1:05pm - Update on Tyler Myers’ latest setback & Drew Stafford coming off IR via the coach Paul Maurice in the pregame presser. SB*Nation’s article about Tyler’s injury can be found here.

Minnesota Wild:

Zach Parise - Eric Staal - Alex Tuch

Mikael Granlund - Mikko Koivu - Jason Zucker

Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart - Tyler Graovac - Charlie Coyle

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Matt Dumba

Mike Reilly - Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

3 Questions:

  1. Again, can Pavelec continue to play up to the level of confidence the team, the coaching staff, and the management of the Winnipeg Jets have in him? This will be an ongoing theme for every game Pavelec starts for the remainder of the Winnipeg Jets playoff lives this season.
  2. Can the Winnipeg Jets become a consistent defensively minded team?
  3. There has been a lot of bright spots for the Winnipeg Jets this season. What’s yours?

Players to watch:

Winnipeg Jets: Big Buff. Associate Captain Dustin Byfuglien needs to be a guiding light for the defensive corp.

Minnesota Wild: Goalie D. Devan Dubnyk has had a career turn around in Minnesota, and will face a good test in the the Winnipeg Jets offense.

Prediction: Jets win a squeaker 2-1