Philadelphia Flyers at Winnipeg Jets
|(32-19-7) 71 points||(29-26-6) 64 points|
5th in East, 3rd in Atlantic
9th in East, 2nd in Southeast
The Flyers are fresh off a 6-4 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins in which Ilya Bryzgalov got the hook. With his comments last year about Winnipeg and performance against the Pens; it’s unlikely that fans will get their wish to see him start tonight. The Flyers sit 1 point behind New Jersey for the 4th seed in the East but only 1 point behind them in 7th place is Ottawa.
The playoffs are almost a sure bet for Philly but it could be an interesting first round match up if they finish with the sixth seed and Winnipeg is able to win the Southeast. A win tonight against the Jets will go a long way to help avoid that and give them some confidence if it does.
The Flyers are 0-3-3 in their last six meetings with the Jets/Thrashers organization and will be looking to avoid the season sweep tonight.
The Jets are riding a three game winning streak with a win on the road in Minnesota and two straight at home against Boston and Colorado. The Jets have no lost at the MTS centre this year when scoring first and adding a second goal at some point. They are 13-2 after scoring the first game at home with both loses coming with only one goal scored by the Jets.
The top six forwards have stepped it up as of late and the Jets fortunes will rest primarily on their play and that of Ondrej Pavelec. Blake Wheeler was named the 2nd star in the NHL last week with an 8 point week. Evander Kane and Bryan Little have been heating up and Alexander Burmistrov has shown his star potential getting the chance to play alongside Kyle Wellwood and Kane.
Winnipeg is almost completely healthy but Zach Bogosian remains sidelined with what Claude Noel calls a “maintenance injury” and hopes he may return to action Thursday. Other than Bogosian the infirmary bay is empty so it should be no surprise that the Jets are flying down the home stretch.
If the Jets can sweep the season series against the Philadelphia Flyers they will move into a playoff spot for the second time this year. The difference is they will overtake the Florida Panthers for the Southeast division lead and the 3rd seed in the East. The Panthers who don’t play tonight sit 1 point ahead of the Jets and will have 4 games in hand over Winnipeg.
Keys to Victory
Score first and score two or more. The Jets are unbeaten in all 11 games at home they scored first and added a second. Seeing as they are playing Philly goals should come in multiples so scoring the first one will be key.
Get on the Flyers early. Despite the huge signing of Winnipeg fan favorite Ilya Bryzgalov the Flyers goaltending issues have remained. Getting shots and traffic early should result in goals and momentum. If Bryzgalov plays you can be assured the crowd will be on him, so the Jets must capitalize.
Hit, hit and hit. Control the body and control the puck it’s that simple.
Powerplay goals. The Jets finally got a couple of goals on the powerplay. They need to continue that momentum.
Zach Bogosian (Upper Body) – Questionable
Jets – Ondrej Pavelec (22-20-6, 2.73, .911) [Confirmed]
Flyers – Ilya Bryzgalov (20-11-6, 2.79, .900) [Confirmed]
The Jets and for that matter the Thrashers have had the Flyers number for a while. Bryzgalov got pulled against Pittsburgh and Bobrovsky wasn’t much better in relief so the Jets will exploit it and move into 3rd place.
Winnipeg Jets 6 – Philadelphia Flyers 2