|(42-24-8) 92 points||(35-31-8) 78 points|
5th in West, 3rd in Central
10th in East, 3rd in Southeast
The Predators went out on deadline day and made arguably the boldest moves to add pieces to push them over the top. They’ve responded by going 5-4-1 over there last 10 games yet they remain in the hunt for the 4th seed as Detroit has struggled going 2-6-2 in their last 10 and hold a 1 point lead over the Predators. The Chicago Blackhaws are also in the mix tied with Nashville but has played one more game then both the Preds and the Wings.
Manitoba native Jordan Tootoo will get his first chance to play against Winnipeg and interesting enough he has produced better against the Jets/Thrashers organization than any other team. He has 5 goals and 4 assists in 8 games, it’s like he knew that they would relocate to his home province. Nashville has gone 23-9-5 at home this season but only was 4-5-3 to start the season at home and since have been one of the most dangerous home teams in the league. Another Manitoba native is closing in on a milestone and won’t have any nostalgia playing against his home province tonight as Barry Trotz sits just 3 wins shy of 500 career wins and all with the Nashiville Predators.
Pekke Rinne will be back in net and will try to turn his game around as he has struggled the last two games getting pulled after allowing 3 goals on 7 shots against Edmonton and then allowing 5 goals on 23 shots against the Penguins. Coach Trotz is playing the odds with his start as the Jets have a dismal record in the second game of a back-to-back winning only once all season.
The Jets are on an emotional high after coming back from a 3-0 deficit on the road in Washington. A timely time out and big goal from call up Ben Maxwell, followed by a nice fight by Jim Slater proved to be the catalyst for the comeback that would see the Jets heading into the third period trailing 3-2. The Caps were 22-0 when leading after two periods and the Jets were 0-22-3 when trailing. Leave it to the streak busters to wait until now to bust both streaks thanks to a goal that Spencer Machacek will never forget. His NHL first was a heart and soul goal that saved the Jets season for at least another few days and pushed this thing to overtime.
Claude Noel opted not to pull the goalie in an attempt to win the game in overtime and it’s a good thing too because Washington’s only two shots of the third period and overtime came after the tying goal and one in the final few seconds almost went in to break the Jets hearts. The fourth line heroics continued in the extra frame with Tim Stapleton scoring the winner and keeping any hopes of the post season alive. The road will be tough and it will take a minimum of 6 wins over their final 8 to get in baring a complete collapse of the Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators. The Jets now sit 4 back of both the Sabres and Caps and 6 back of the slumping Senators.
The Jets are hoping that the emotional high will carry onto tonight’s game against Nashville, one that many do not expect the Jets to win. A win here will ease the burden down the stretch and will pull the Jets to within 2 points of 8th and would be good use of their game in hand. Chris Mason may get the nod for the Jets against his former team but that decision will likely not be made until game time. Whichever goalie goes they will need to be solid to beat a Preds team that has the second best home record over the past several years behind only Detroit.
Keys to Victory
Don’t Let Up. They have a tendency to come out flat in the second game of back-to-backs and if they do that they will be done before the second period. They need to ride the wave of momentum from the comeback win and play as if it’s the same game.
Score first. The Jets need to score first in Nashville, it’s a rowdy crowd there and they are riding 21 straight sellouts. Take the crowd out of the game early and make life easier.
High Intensity. The Jets are at their best when they are skating hard and hitting everything that moves. They need to bring the heat and make the Canes wonder when it’ll stop.
Avoid the Box. Nashville’s power play has been hot of late so stay out of the box and don’t let them control the game with the man advantage.
Nik Antropov (Lower Body) – Doubtful
Eric Fehr (Upper Body) – Questionable
Chris Thorburn (Upper Body) – Out Indefinitely
Jets – Chris Mason (7-6-1, 2.40, .903) [Unconfirmed]
Predators – Pekke Rinne (39-16-8, 2.45, .921) [Confirmed]
The Jets have the opportunity to win this game and I fell they may get it into overtime but I just don’t see them winning this one in the end. I hope I’m wrong.
Winnipeg Jets 3 – Nashville Predators 4