JETBLAST: Game Day Preview Feb. 16/12 Jets at Wild

Minnesota Wild vs Winnipeg Jets

(25-23-8) 58 points (26-26-6) 58 points

12th in West, 4th in Northwest

10th in East, 3rd in Southeast

Wild

The Last time the Wild faced the Jets they were at the top of the standings and on a huge win streak. They lost and now sit out of the playoff picture with several teams to jump to get back into it. Tonight’s game is about getting back on track against a struggling team, but a win against Winnipeg would be a bit of revenge as well.

Minnesota has lost four in a row coming into tonight’s game and are possibly still without big hitting Cal Clutterbuck. Clutterbuck is always among the league leaders in hits and if he’s out, the rest of the team will have to step up the physical play.

Jets

The Jets dropped a tough loss to the New York islanders on home ice Tuesday night. They remain in the playoff race but each loss or Florida/Washington win makes it more and more of a stretch that they’ll be playing hockey come mid April.

Jim Slater suffered a bit of a scare last game but is cleared and ready for the twin cities game tonight. Andrew Ladd stood up in front of media the other day and called out himself and his teammates stating that they need to be better, need to be consistent and have to give 110% each and every game.

It was great to see the captain stepping up and publicly saying what you can bet was said in the dressing room several times before. The Jets need their top players to be the hardest working players on the ice, not just the most skilled. To quote a line from the movie Miracle, this team “doesn’t have enough skill to win on talent alone.”

If the Jets are to make a push for the playoffs they need to have their legs going for sixty minutes. Not twenty, not forty but sixty.

Keys to Victory

Get shots on the power play. The Jets did a good job last game directing 38 shots toward Evgeni Nabakov in regulation but managed only 2 on the man advantage.

Hit and intimidate. The Wild will likely be without Clutterbuck and that should give the Jets the edge in physical play and if you control the hitting game you can control the puck.

Keep the game low scoring. The Jets seem to lose defensive presence after scoring a few goals. They will have a better chance to win games when they play responsible and win the defensive match ups.

Get traffic in front of the net. They got lots of shots on Nabakov but they need to do a better job of having a man in front or even two and scoring on screens, deflections and rebounds.

Injuries

Zach Bogosian (upper body) – Doubtful

Starting Goalies

Jets – Chris Mason (6-6-0, 2.26, .914) [Confirmed]
Wild – Niklas Backstrom (14-15-5, 2.37, .922) [Confirmed]

Prediction

The Jets played the Wild well and could be exactly what they need to end a two game slide. I see a strong goaltending match up with the Jets out on top.

Winnipeg Jets 2 – Minnesota Wild 0

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Jeff Stevenson is a co-founder of winnipegwhiteout.com and co-host of the popular Jets Hockey Podcast. He grew up in Winnipeg, MB and became very passionate about sports, hockey and the Jets. Now Jeff is proud and honored to help bring news and information about the Winnipeg Jets to fans around the world.

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